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Triathlon vs swimrun – The wetsuits

triathlon vs swimrun wetsuit

Wetsuits are a science all by them selfs. What difference is there between different wetsuit, and can you wear a triathlon wetsuit for a swimrun or a swimrun wetsuit for an open water swimming race? In this article, we try to explain the differences and walk through the neoprene jungle.

What is a swimrun wetsuit?

Swimrun wetsuits have the zipper on the front end of the suit, and sometimes they have two zippers – one in front and one in the back for easy dressing/undressing. It is also nicer to have zipped down in front during running, both for cooling down and the breathing. 

Legs are cut above the knees, and the material at the hip is often very thin and soft to enhance the running. Arms on the wetsuit can be long or short, or even detachable. To each their own.  These suits are designed not only for swimming but running in them as well. Therefore, they are not solely optimized for swimming. They often have pockets where you can carry your mandatory equipment.

What is a triathlon wetsuit?

Wetsuits used in triathlons are the same as wetsuits for open water swimming. There are multiple types of suits depending on what type of swimmer you are, more or less buoyancy and mobility depending on the model and your needs. Rules stipulate that a wetsuit used in a triathlon or open water swimming can’t be thicker than five millimeters.

Triathlon vs swimrun wetsuits

So what is the difference between a triathlon vs swimrun wetsuit? In triathlon, there are rules regarding the thickness of the materials used, and the suit can not be thicker than five millimeters giving the swimmer an unfair advantage due to the buoyancy. Since there is no governing body in the swimrun world. Suits can be designed with float panels as thick as you like. Ranging from no extra float aid to maxed out suits with 8 millimeters of neoprene. 

Can I use one wetsuit for both sports?

Can I use my swimrun wetsuit if I want to participate in a triathlon? Sadly, there is not a yes or no answer to this question. Instead, you have to look at your swimrun wetsuit. There are rules regarding some aspects of a wetsuit used in a triathlon. The first is: Is your swimrun wetsuit thicker than five millimeters? If so, it is not allowed. Triathlon wetsuits can’t be thicker than five millimeters. Today, most swimrun wetsuits are thinner than that, but there are still models that cater to the swimmer who likes more buoyancy in their wetsuit. 

I personally have seen people use swimrun wetsuits at races without being disqualified, and if you are not competing for the podium, and instead are in it for the fun of racing. The race marshalls won’t say anything. But to be on the safe side, call the race organization beforehand and check if they are ok with it. I bet that they are more keen on seeing you on the starting line and having a great experience than turning you down because of your wetsuit.

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