7 Essential Pieces of Swim Gear for Triathletes

Michael Butler
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Swimmers are very fortunate.

From a purely physical perspective, the art of swimming is a sophisticated movement that works out the entire body while exercising all of our muscle groups. For minimal use to maximum results, swimming is one of the greatest exercises in the world.

But what about for triathletes, does swimming do enough for our training?

Being a highly efficient aerobic form of exercise, swimming is great for cardiovascular fitness, but it lacks in strength, power and resistance. This means training only in this art leaves us lacking foundation muscles to support the other two sports.

There is, of course, the option of swimming with noodles or kickboards. The issue with these methods is that while they provide resistance, they don’t provide a full range of motion either. This can lead to injuries when introducing resistance to the water.

If you’re a triathlete, it’s a great idea to incorporate swim gear for extra support and strength development in the water. Here are the top 7 pieces to consider in your training.

Speedo Unisex-Adult Swim Training Pull BuoyBest OverallSpeedo Unisex-Adult Swim Training Pull Buoy
Arena Unisex-Adult Printed Silicone Swimming CapBudget PickArena Unisex-Adult Printed Silicone Swimming Cap
Aqua Sphere Kayenne Swim GogglesUpgrade PickAqua Sphere Kayenne Swim Goggles

1. Speedo Unisex-Adult Swim Training Pull Buoy

Our rating: 9 / 10

Speedo Unisex-Adult Swim Training Pull Buoy

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  • Easily fits on the hand or forearm
  • Can be used as a kick board
  • Helps swimmers work out hip strength and body positioning
  • Floats and is easy to see in the water


  • Some hand or forearm pain while using
  • For large hands can be cumbersome to use

This is an awesome tool to use for swim training. It's easy to grab onto and really helps you work on your underwater kick by isolating your legs so you don't have to worry about moving your whole body to get them to go faster.

A sure way to get rid of any side-to-side wiggle you get from your kick is to use this "target" where you try to kick the middle. It can also be used as an aid for improving body positioning in the water, especially during your drills.

This rounded, buoyant tool is by far the most commonly used pull buoy on the market. So if you have had a pull buoy before, there’s a good chance that it will be similar to what you’re used to using.

2. Aqua Sphere Kayenne Swim Goggles

Our rating: 8 / 10

Aqua Sphere Kayenne Swim Goggles

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  • Clear vision for human and above-human eyes – thanks to its ventilating silicone that won’t hold water inside the goggles
  • Wide field of vision because of its wide and panoramic lenses
  • Adjustable strap and bigger nosebridge with the aim of providing a better fit

Clear/Blue, One Size.

3. Speedo Unisex-Adult Ventilator Mesh Equipment Bag

Our rating: 8 / 10

Speedo Unisex-Adult Ventilator Mesh Equipment Bag

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  • Plenty of storage for the money
  • Can store wet and dry items in this bag

This bag is durable enough to be a carry-on on a flight. It also has a waterproof lining which means that your wet swim gear will be protected in this case.

There is a lot of extra room around this bag which allows you to carry a lot of extra gear with you if you need it.

There are two handles and a shoulder strap so that you can carry this bag in any way you like. The shoulder strap can even be shortened if you want to fit the bag into an overhead bin or you can lengthen it if you have a long way to walk with your gear.

4. Arena Powerfin Hook Swim Training Fins

Our rating: 8 / 10

Arena Powerfin Hook Swim Training Fins

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  • 100% Open Water
  • Strap On
  • Ventilated Silicone
  • Kicking Platform


  • More expensive
  • More difficult to put on

If you're a Triathlete then you know how important it is to have the best possible gear and equipment for training. This is especially true when it comes to swim training. If you're looking for fins to help with your swimming technique then you've come to the right place!

The Arena Powerfin Hook Swim Training Fins are the fins I personally recommend to triathletes. Taking a more modern approach to swim training, the Arena Powerfins are straight pull and kick fins designed with open water swimming in mind.

I personally have used these fins both in the pool and open water, but more often than not I prefer to use them on the open water swims rather than in the pool. One of the biggest reasons why I find these fins so helpful is that it teaches you how to swim in a much more efficient manner than regular kick fins.

5. TYR Sport Men's Poly Mesh Trainer Swim Suit

Our rating: 8 / 10

TYR Sport Men's Poly Mesh Trainer Swim Suit

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  • Affordable
  • Great look
  • Looks like it could also be worn for other physical activities
  • Several colors available
  • Very comfortable
  • Very lightweight
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Includes a drawstring backpack for easy travel
  • Has multiple pockets for all your personal belongings
  • Has easy access to pockets without having to take your clothes off

I have tried a few different polyester swimsuits and this has to be the most comfortable of them all. The TYR Sport Poly Mesh Trainer is my top pick for trisuits as it is low-cost, highly functional, and very high-quality for its value.

When you put it on, it has a very smooth feel against your skin. I highly recommend this suit as it is very comfortable to the point I feel as though I am barely wearing anything at all.

You can also purchase a matching Speed Short (shorts that match the swimsuit) so that you can have matching trisuit and shorts to go along with it. The Speed Short goes up high enough so that they act as a pair of bicycle shorts and provide sufficient padding.

6. Finis Original Center-Mount Swimmer's Snorkel

Our rating: 8 / 10

Finis Original Center-Mount Swimmer's Snorkel

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  • Perfect for pool training
  • Lightweight

This is the newest and one of the best swimmers’ snorkels. It has a the typical snorkel tube with a curved airflow design that does a great job of creating a watertight seal and providing optimum comfort.

Essentially, it allows you to enjoy your workout without having to interrupt it, in order to take a breath. Simply put the snorkel in your mouth and you’re good to go.

You can get this snorkel in a variety of colors and include a silicone mouthpiece.

7. Arena Unisex-Adult Printed Silicone Swimming Cap

Our rating: 8 / 10

Arena Unisex-Adult Printed Silicone Swimming Cap

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  • Great for beginner triathletes
  • Durable
  • Will keep hair dry


  • Not good for fast stroke rates
  • Has a relatively short lifespan (approx. 2-3 years)

It’s always a good idea to use a high-quality swimming cap like the Arena swimming cap if you are a beginner triathlete.

There are a variety of reasons you should use a swimming cap rather than lose stamina trying to hold your locks dry. First, swimming with wet hair is inefficient. A cap allows you to use less energy. Secondly, a swimming cap is protective. It protects your hair from being pulled and prevents blisters. Thirdly, you can choose a swimming cap that matches your personal style.

Pick your favorite design and swim with confidence. While there are cheaper caps available, you want to make sure you pick a high-quality cap that will last you a long time. The Arena silicone cap is a good value for the price.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What to wear swimming in a triathlon?

Whether you’re a serious triathlete or you’re training for your first triathlon, to swim properly you’ll need some gear. Depending on your needs and purchase options, you can find everything from an extra-thick 3mm wetsuit that will protect you from the cold water you’ll inevitably feel at the start of a triathlon to an affordable pair of goggles with interchangeable lenses so you can clearly see underwater on a sunny day.

But, let’s be honest, most triathlon swimmers will be content with a pair of swim goggles and a sleeveless (but water-resistant) wetsuit to wear during the swimming portion of a triathlon.

So for the purpose of this list we will only be looking at the typical swim gear that the amateur triathlete will need.

What are the essential items for swimming in a competition?

I highly recommend that you set up a gear check station before every race. The gear check person will have a clipboard listing all of the swim gear that you must have in order to swim in the race. This is then compared to your personal swimmers at check-in.

Each race requires different items of gear, and normally require a different order or combination of items. Most races will require goggles and a cap, but other races will allow you to wear one or the other. A periscope is required in one race, but neither are allowed in another race.

Here are some ideas for swim gear:

Goggles or cap plus a swim suit with pockets, a pull buoy, and flip-flops.

What stroke do triathletes use?

Swimmers and triathletes use all three of the swimming strokes, but it’s important for each to choose the ones that fit their body type.

Beginners are advised to choose a swimming stroke that is the most appropriate for them based on height and build.

Advanced swimmers should perfect the feel of each stroke and determine which one suits them most based on their strengths and weaknesses.

The butterfly stroke is good for the tall and lanky, while short and sturdy swimmers may want to choose the breaststroke. Your choice here may also depend on your swimming goals as well.

The freestyle is the most popular stroke among triathletes because of its versatility.

What wetsuit do I need for triathlon?

As with nearly everything, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. As the saying goes “swim fast, look good.” With this in mind, we give you our best suggestion for what wetsuit you should wear for triathlon.

If you live in a warm-weather climate (70-80 degrees) with clear open water, a shorty-style wetsuit would be the best option for you. A three-quarter suit will provide ample protection in this setting, though an open-back full suit would be preferable. That way, you get maximum speed and minimal drag.

If you’re swimming in colder water or race in a state like California, then you want to get a full-length, closed-back wetsuit. This way, your body stays warmer, and you can still enjoy maximum speed.


As a triplet, I make lots of sacrifices on behalf of my sister and brother. But there are a few swim training sessions that I just can't miss. I have to be home to take care of my mom and my little brother, plus my sister is my age and we always swim together. So I make sure that all the swim gear I recommend is easy to pack, easy to take care of, and most importantly, comfortable.

Our Recommendation

Speedo Unisex-Adult Swim Training Pull BuoyBest OverallSpeedo Unisex-Adult Swim Training Pull Buoy
Arena Unisex-Adult Printed Silicone Swimming CapBudget PickArena Unisex-Adult Printed Silicone Swimming Cap
Aqua Sphere Kayenne Swim GogglesUpgrade PickAqua Sphere Kayenne Swim Goggles