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 Body Glide Balm Stick 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.