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Wetsuit or no wetsuit?

I've signed up to the ITU London Sprint Triathlon and initially I thought I would be ok doing the whole event in a tri-suit. But now I'm unsure whether I need a wetsuit too? I'm not expecting the water to be warm in the Serpentine but I didn't want to put myself at a disadvantage by not wearing one.



  • Jamie220Jamie220 Posts: 168

    Hi Skinzy,

    The Great British weather being what it is, you will almost certainly need a wetsuit for swimming in the Serpentine.

    The BTF's rules on water temp are a good guide here:


  • bathtubbathtub Posts: 280

    Regarding the rule book Jamie as linked to above, Rule 9.3 states "The minimum water temperature at which wetsuits are optional is 14 degrees" Which means if the water temp is below 14 degrees and you don't have a wetsuit you will not be allowed to compete.

  • gavinpgavinp Posts: 168

    Most people racing in the UK will wear a wetsuit above 14 degrees too - as unless the water (and air)  temperature is in the 20's you are going to be cold regardless.

    Also, if you turn up to the race without a wetsuit they may not let you start.  You don't need to buy one, there are lots of places that let you hire a wetsuit for the season at a very reasonable price.

    Have fun!

  • You need to contact the organiser directly as the event rules state that wetsuits are compulsory.  Most organisers will waive this if you have a valid reason but it is always worth checking as they don't all follow the BTF rules and can make wetsuits compulsory until it reaches the BTF top temperature for wetsuits.

    I am still waiting a reply from London on this.....  4 weeks later.

  • MWJMWJ Posts: 1

    The other thing to think about is that 99.99% of the other competitors will be wearing wetsuits so if you don't want to stand out then a wetsuit is a good idea


    The large events like ITU will also have two or three brand stalls that will have wetsuits to hire for the day, but not sure I'd want to rely on that myself. I took the plunge and bought my own wetsuit, means I don't have to worry about it anymore and have more than made back the costs of hiring one each time already.

  • Does a wetsuit have to have long sleeves? Or would a wetsuit with T Shirt length sleeves suffice?

  • gavinpgavinp Posts: 168

    Your thinking about a surf wetsuit arent you..?

    These are no good as the water flushes through on each stroke when you swim and doesn't help to keep you warm.  They become more like drag suits.. not fun!

    Surfing wetsuits and swimming wetsuits are very different in construction and use. Get a proper swimming wetsuit.

  • I have seen swimming specific shorties and sleeveless wetsuits for sale.

    Hire on the day????

    You would need to train at least a few times in a wetsuit to get used to the extra buoyancy unless you swim like a fish anyway. And every suit is different.

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