If we think about the start of a triathlon competition we think of a totally motivated and fit athlete who is ready to give his best in the following race. As swimming is the first discipline in triathlon the athlete usually wears a wetsuit (if water is too warm then a swim skin), googles and a cap. Are there any welcomed additions? Yes, you can add some to your arsenal. In this post I will preview three welcomed additions – Safety Float, Anti Chafe Lubricants and Neck Protector. Some you can use during competitions, but some only during your training sessions.
Safety Float – Safety First at All Times
You know the motto: “Safety comes first”! And that is so true, especially in swimming. The open water swimmers are encouraged to do their swim sessions together with a swim partner or supported by a boat. Nevertheless, not always you can find a swim buddy or a support boat. And from time to time you just want to get that feeling (open water swimmers know that feeling:)) when you are all alone somewhere in the lake or in the sea. To add safety to these swims a safety float can be used.
A safety float also called swimming buoy is an inflatable buoy which gets strapped around the waste of the swimmer and gets towed during the swim. The safety floats are in bright colors which enables to spot the swimmer better than well as the swimmer can clasp the buoy if he needs to rest or gets cramps. There are different sizes and types of safety floats. My favorite is the one with built in bladder pack which can be used for water bottle and snacks during long swims. I have used it also to put in mobile phone so my wife can track me using an app and see how far am I. In the worst case you can get the mobile phone and call emergency if you need it. Still, be advised that water can get into the bladder so pack your things accordingly. The safety float from Zone 3 is of the same kind like I have used and I can recommend it if you decide to add it to your arsenal.
Also, check out the review about New Wave Swim Buoy made by Triathlon Taren.
Tools Against Chaffing from Wetsuits
Chaffing is a very common problem for wetsuit users. Usually chafes are on the side of the neck where the swimmer turns its head during the breathing. The second location of the chafes are the back of the neck where you have the upper end of the wetsuit zipper. They are gotten from sighting during the swim. The triathlon wetsuit manufacturers have identified this problem and try to solve it by making reverse zippers (Blue Seventy Helix) or lowering the neck of the wetsuit (all Roka wetsuits). In addition to it there are some other tools which help to solve this problem.
There are on the market a plethora of anti-chafe lubricants. They are in forms of gels, balm sticks and powders.
Usually they are multi functionally usable, e.g. for running and swimming. Applied before getting dressed on inner thighs, neck, arms or anywhere skin is being rubbed. I have tried HUUB Sport Luub Triathlon Anti-Chafing Lube and liked it very much. It is made with allergen free, plant-derived ingredients. Is clothing, footwear, and wetsuit safe (don’t use petroleum jelly-based products, because with time it damages the wetsuit). It washes off with mild soap. Still, there are lubricants which are specially made for neoprene wetsuits. One such is Neoprene Queen Slik Lubricant which comes as powder and you have to add water before applying. Haven’t tried it, but it’s on my checklist for try-outs.
A new thing on the market is a NECK PROTECTOR from the company Mugiro. It is elastic so it’s easy to put on and take off. It is slightly less dense than water, does not penalize the swimmer’s buoyancy. Comes in different sizes. The user experiences on the internet are very positive. Though one advice from comments – choose the right size, because if it’s bigger then it will slip and won’t be so comfortable.
So, Are There Solutions Against Chaffing?
Yes there are solutions to the chaffing problem as I pointed out in my post. Wetsuit manufacturers are trying to solve it by adding features to the triathlon wetsuits. On the market are tools like anti-chaffing lubricants and neck protection aids which will help in solving the problem. Go on and try them out!
Looking forward to your comments and experiences. Feel free to reach out to me.
Only registered users can comment.
Thanks for an interesting review. I have a number of allergies that present a constant nuisance during sport. My issues are beyond chaffing – I also get rashes from items of clothing that don’t breathe, even in water. I haven’t tried Body Glide Balm or Neoprene Queen Slik Lubricant. So, I’m happy to investigate further.
Can you comment on your personal swimming buoy? Does it create much drag? Is it a distraction?
Investigate the products and please share you experience.
My swim buoy – I like it very much! It doesn’t create any drag, especially if you swim without anything in it. I have swum with water bottle and snacks in it and no problems with the drag. Also it is no distraction if the cord is adjusted in the appropriate length.
I love the concept of a safety float. I have heard of swimmers getting muscle cramps in the waters and some even getting unconscious, and it is the safety float that kept them alive. This is one thing I will never leave whenever I go out on an adventure.
I have never thought of the neck protector. I am sure most of us have never thought about this. Glad to know that they come in elastic, meaning that it is not rough on the neck. Thank you for the suggestion on the chaffing problem.
This is very insightful. Great article!
Thanks for the comment and I am glad it was helpful.
Thanks for the update on the new and welcome additions to the triathlon wetsuits. The safety float, anti-chafing lubricants, and neck protector all make perfect sense and for sure will enhance safety and comfort concerns for the competitors. I know that every little helps when you are pushing your body as you do in these events.
I have only tried a couple and did not do that well, but did finish. Since a leg injury a few years ago, I have cut back significantly in my training and competitions. In spite of that, I am an avid fan of watching such events, and because I have had the hands-on experience, can relate to what they are doing.
This is the first time coming across your website and I see I must stop by more often, you have a lot of content that interests me, and I will look through it all over time. Thanks for this useful post, and best of luck with your own competitions going forward!
Thanks for the comment. I am glad to hear that you like my site. I am passionate about swimming and triathlon and try to communicate that passion in my posts. You are very welcome to step by!
I swim at every opportunity I get at the beach, lake, and river but these are just casual swimming; not really for sport and with no wetsuits. Even when traveling in a ferry, most times, we take chances by not wearing a life jacket.
Using a wetsuit is the best advice because they make a person fit, creat extra floating opportunity and warmth.
Question: Can the triarthlon wetsuit be used for any diving or are they strictly for competitions?
Thanks for asking!
The triathlon wetsuit is not used for diving. Triathlon wetsuit and diving wetsuits are built for different purpose so the materials and technologies are not the same. Triathlon wetsuits are build with different buoyancy profiles to allow the swimmer float better and swim faster. Diving wetsuits are more intended to keep you warm and to protect the wetsuit from wear from weigh belts and BCDs.