Open Water Swim Equipment
Open water swimming has grown tremendously and there are over 10,000 swimmers that compete in big events. If you challenge yourself to competing in your first open water swim what you need to get started?
This is an essential piece of equipment for all first-timers. A wetsuit is made of a material called neoprene and it's very soft and flexible. When it fits correctly it allows a thin layer of water to sit between your skin and the suit, which then warms up with body heat and the insulation keeps you warm. It is important that as little water as possible pass through the wet suit, which is constantly being replaced by cold water so a snug fit is essential.
When you're training in a pool this is what you will need to wear under your wetsuit. It should be a good fit and not too tight as it can cause rubbing. If you're training in a pool with chlorinated water, it's worth investing in a good quality endurance suit.
There are many different swimming goggles to choose from. The expensive pair is not necessarily the best. The most important is that they fit you and they are comfortable and give you good vision. They will typically fog up before race and there are many anti-fog droplets to buy but saliva is the best anti-fogging agent. Goggles should be tight and not cause you any pain. It's worth investing in a tinted or mirrored pair if you swim in bright sunny conditions or even in a clear or yellow pair in dull conditions.
Swim caps are made of latex or silicon. They can be more expensive if they are silicone but they are thicker and more durable than latex. In some events you will be given a colored cap to wear and they vary in size so you might need to stretch it if it feels too tight. If it's really cold outside you can opt to wear a neoprene hat to do your swim, which helps you save heat loss.
These are useful if you suffer from ear infections or if the water is cold and they help keep your core temperature higher.
Rubbing or chafing is always a swimmers worst nightmare, especially with long-distance swims. It can occur in areas of the body that rub together such as the underarm, between the legs of the neck. It is worse in seawater as the salt causes greater friction. The role on lubricants such as Bodyglide common very different forms such as a roller stick. You can also use cooking oil or Vaseline but they can affect your neoprene wetsuit.
Swim socks and gloves
These are helpful when temperatures are cold and your hands and feet suffer. Just make sure you are allowed to wear them in your event.
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