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First open water swim checklist

Hi all. Being new to this triathlon lark, I have my first open water swim session next week and am looking for advice as to what to take with me. Got the Wetsuit, swim hat, and goggles. What other handy things should I have. Many thanks for any advice.


  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Please don't think I am patronising you, I am not..but trisuit or something to wear under wetsuit, 'wetbag' (large carrier bag) to put suit in after swim, large warm towel to stand around in & shiver for a while, flip flops/old trainers etc to get you to waters edge without slipping, stubbing toe etc, another swim hat if its really cold. Depending on facilities food &/or hot drink..open water swims make me really hungry. Loads of layers to put one once its over! Can't think of anything else.
  • JonhinioJonhinio Posts: 289
    Hi Britspin, thanks for the reply that's great. I'm used to packing for running, so I know there will be something that I'd forget to take. Cheers, Jon
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Spare goggles. Just in case.

  • jon_gjon_g Posts: 318
    lube to get the suit on and off easy? and so you get used to applying it.

    geez, you'd think going for a swim would be easy, thats a lot of stuff to have to haul around isn't it![8|]
  • SamutriSamutri Posts: 143
    razor to remove your leg hair first?

    Of course u could wax first....
  • toadtoad Posts: 104
    I use a plastic container to dump all my wets in, it stops water getting through the car..... this is a good idea unless you are really keen and decide to cycle to the open water venue and then cycle back.

    Open water swimming is fun I cant wait till this sunday for my first of the season .... samutri and bopofomo I am doing it unshaved !!
  • JonhinioJonhinio Posts: 289
    Thanks for all the advice guys..... if I shave my legs my impending stag do will be very upset.

    No-ones mentioned armbands though.......
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    or porridge.....darn it.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    does anyone else take stuff they know they won't need..but still pack it?

    I always take a pair of swim trunks..even to races, but I always wear a trisuit & would not run around the streets in my speedos even if I forgot it. Odd, sorry highjacking thread.

    Good call on spare goggles tho'..I always take 3 pairs....OCD?
  • First timerFirst timer Posts: 139
    Prfect timing for this thread.

    Got my first open waters session planned for tomorrow in the sea here in Weymouth.The weather should be good so looking forward to that.

    Wife is coming with me armed with flask big towel and jumper.

    I will also be unshaved surly id dont make to much difference does it?

    All of you plunging for the first time thisweekend ENJOY!!![:D][:D]
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    So thats your wife sorted for warm, dry & hot drink..what about you?

    Good luck & enjoy.
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Important thing to bring on OW swims: friends or family that keep an eye on you/ swim along.

    Big safety issue in OW swimming; I never ever go alone.

  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    benny has reminded us all of the most important bit of kit: a spotter or fellow swimmer.

    It should be a rule to never swim alone, even in a pool. If you are alone in the sea make sure there is a spotter on the shore who is capable of reaching you QUICKLY. If you swim in a group then keep an eye on your friends, and stop every 200-400m or so (unless you are very well matched in pace) to let everybody catch up. Shallow water blackout can get anybody, particularly those who really push themselves in the water. Don't swim alone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shallow_water_blackout

    toad: cycling to your swim and back again? In a wetsuit? I can't imagine what sub-cult of gimp you would attract doing that but I would be very, very careful....

    britspin: no, not OCD, just being thorough. Notice I didn't say how many spare goggles to take. I have my race goggles, my spare race goggles, my emergency pair, and my old 'can't see through them anymore' goggles kicking around in my bag, just in case. With both my towels. Oh dear.

  • The only other things I can think of are anti-fog solution for the goggles and a waterproof watch so that you can log your time. The anti-fog stuff is useful if you have it, as the coldness of open water always makes them steam up far more than they would in a pool. If you don't have any then a good old spit should get you 80% of the benefit.

    The watch might seem an odd thing to flag up, but my everyday watch isn't swimproof and I always forget to take my (big, clunky etc.) waterproof one - it means I always end up trying to work out how far I've just swum by asking my missus how long I just swam for (i.e. 20 mins = roughly 1km etc.) She always gives me the useless answer of "Oh, ages. I'm cold - Can we go home now?"

    Other than that, like Bopomofo, my bag is full of useless stuff - 3 pairs of swim trunks (just in case I get a hole in 2 of them); two spare pairs of goggles (1 of which I haven't worn for over 2 years); a whole load of freebie energy drinks and sachets that I picked up at previous triathlons but have never used and which are now well past their 'use by' dates; and a collection of old cheap swimcaps from races, most of which are permanently stuck together and smell badly of whichever lake or river they were last worn in.

    Of the above suggestions, all sound useful, particularly the lube (I use bodyglide) - it's well worth practising getting a wet wetsuit off before you have to do so in a race. I guarantee that you will put 5x as much lube on the suit for the second attempt as you did for the first (I put so much on now that the bottom half of my legs/arms/neck are slipperier than an eel at a KY jelly convention). Sorry. Probably too much information.

    Enjoy the swim.


  • First timerFirst timer Posts: 139
    Well did it and chuffed to nuts[:)]

    The sea was a bit choppy but thats how it is, after a couple of words of encouragement from the wife of your mad and being zipped in i was off.

    It was cold but after about 3-4 min i was in and away the training in the pool paid off and i felt great even though when trying to breath i was drinkin salt water but it got better and managed 15 min swim before i couldn't drink anymore.

    Cant wait till next week and get the 30 min in.

    Practice Practice they say!!

  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Do some research - will you be swimming into the sun? If so get tinted goggles. In IM Ch. I found myself swimming into a very bright sunrise and with untinted goggles I could not see where I was going. This was most unnerving and the stress was ecaserbated by the 140 odd miles that lay ahead and by the fact that I was in a human raft of hundreds of flailing arms and legs. So I would say gaet tinted goggles
  • After having had an ear infection I dare not go in the water without earplugs. Out of the blue I had 3 months of painful ear and never want it again. Couldn't go in the water or hear anything!! Lots of people use nose clip too! I hate paraphenalia but earplugs are top of my list.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Warm socks and a hat for wearing home!

  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Red Carbon ones, If you please!!! [8D]
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    I take it that they would be tested in a wind tunnel! Right enough of this
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    no please don't stop (since you started it [image]http://forum.220magazine.com/micons/m8.gif[/image]).
  • JonhinioJonhinio Posts: 289
    Thanks for all the advice on this thread. I had my first session this morning. Managed to get out the lake safely at the end by drinking half of it during the swim thus making the level lower.

    Still at least the rain held off.

    Can't wait for the next one.

    So next question is what's the best way to care for the wetsuit and trisuit after using them.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Wetsuit care is as simple as a good hose down to get all the reservoir/lake/sea water out of it, allow to dry as naturally as possible..difficult at the mo..air drying & store on a padded hanger so you don't get stress points at the shouldersfrom a thin hanger..I just put pipe lagging over a broadish hanger. Trisuits wash in cool water, a lttle detergent & line dry.
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