Open Water Swimming Product Guide & Care Tips
During triathlon season we have a lot of customers, some new to triathlons, looking for advice on what products they will need. We have a great selection of products with the focus being on the swim part of a triathlon, although this guide should prove useful to those who enjoy open water swimming too.
Having the right gear is essential to make sure you are training and competing safely. We hope to offer insight into the benefits of our products and also share a few care tips along the way to make sure you get the most out of using them.
For this guide we will go from head to toe discussing the different Lomo products we offer.
Headgear - Silicone Swimming Caps
As silicone swimming caps are stretchy they will usually come as a “one size fits all” design. A silicone swimming cap will help prevent heat loss through your head that is caused by both cold water and wind. Silicone is waterproof and very comfortable to wear as the warmth from your head heats the silicone, making it more flexible.
As the silicone swimming caps are stretchy they will usually come as a “one size fits all” design. A silicone swimming cap will help prevent heat loss through your head that is caused by both cold water and wind. Silicone is waterproof and very comfortable to wear as the warmth from your head heats the silicone, making it more flexible.
Neoprene Beanie / Wetsuit Hoods
A neoprene beanie hat is just like a neoprene version of a regular swimming cap but it gives more insulation around the head. Ideal for Autumn swimming they cover the ears and sit quite low down at the back of the head.
Neoprene beanies come in a range of sizes unlike silicone caps which are 'one size fits all'.
Wetsuit hoods are much warmer still and cover the head, jaw, neck and some of your face. Ideal for really cold weather they are also popular with divers who spend lots of time underwater.
Hoods come with or without a bib which can tuck inside the neck of a wetsuit for a greater seal. It's a personal choice though whether you find the bib more or less comfortable whilst swimming.
Finding the right pair of swimming goggles can be difficult because there are many different types and the more you spend on them doesn’t always mean they will perform any better.
To make it simple for our customers we offer two different pairs of goggles; a clear lens version and a tinted lens version.
Vector (clear) vector swimming pool goggles tinted swimming gogglesVortex (tinted)
Both styles have silicone eye cups which give a great seal again the face. They both have an easily adjustable head strap which is simple and comfortable to use. The tough polycarbonate lenses have an anti-fog coating which helps stop them misting up in the water.
Clear or Tinted Lenses?
Clear lenses offer high clarity and are ideal for pool training sessions and open water swimming in dull conditions.
Tinted lenses are useful for open water swimming because they reduce the glare caused by light reflecting off the water surface. This is important because glare can make it harder to judge distance.
Care tip: To maintain your goggles avoid scratching or rubbing them by keeping them safe in a protective pouch and remember to clean the lenses after every swim.
To remove any chlorine or other harmful chemicals, gently wash them in lukewarm water. Leave the goggles to dry and in the case of PC lenses (anti-fog coated) try to avoid rubbing or touching the lenses as this may start to remove the coating.
Nose Clips and Ear Plugs
Nose clips are often worn when open water swimming to stop water, salt or debris from getting into the nasal or ear canals. Using these can be based on personal preference. If you find water entering your nose extremely irritating and have an adverse reaction after swimming sessions then it may be worth trying these to see if they help relieve the symptoms.
Ear plugs can help prevent a condition known as surfer's (or swimmer's) ear by helping to keep water out of your easy when swimming.
It is worth noting that ear plugs are not ideal for use when competing in a triathlon as they may make it hard to hear the announcers.
Lomo Prime Wetsuits
Our Prime swimming and triathlon wetsuits were designed with open water swimming in mind. Most of the following info is relevant to other brands of wetsuits too.
One thing you should look for in a swimming wetsuit is that there are no seams under the armpits. This is where the most movement is taking place and having a seam / stitching can cause irritation after some time.
With some wetsuits in general but specifically with our Primes, the neoprene is not the same thickness throughout the suit. We put thicker panels where warmth and buoyancy are needed most and thinner panels where flexibility is key.
The arms and legs on our primes are around 2mm. Thicker neoprene is less flexible it is so it makes sense to have thinner neoprene on the parts of the suit that are moving a lot when swimming.
Since the arms and legs are moving and generating heat, it is not as important to keep them as warm as the core of the body so the neoprene doesn’t have to be as thick as it is around the core.
Also, neoprene is buoyant so the thicker neoprene is more buoyant. Some swimmers look for the least amount of buoyancy possible as this can affect their position in the water whereas others prefer as much buoyancy as possible. For those looking for more buoyancy we recommend wearing a neoprene vest and shorts underneath the wetsuit.
Care tip: It is not uncommon for problems to arise with the seams of swimming wetsuits due to the different stresses the wetsuits take during a high-energy activity like swimming. As they are made from high quality, smooth skin neoprene which is more fragile than a double lined neoprene (used on more general watersports wetsuits) care should be taken when putting the wetsuit on and taking it off.
Most swimmers have a tube of McNett Black Witch Neoprene Adhesive in their kit bag. This wetsuit glue helps repair the edges of the neoprene or nicks made from fingernails and provides a waterproof but flexible repair.
We have a full video tutorial on how to repair a triathlon wetsuit above.
Carrying out wetsuit repairs by yourself is completely possible for many different problems as shown in the video.
If you'd prefer us to repair your suit for you please get in touch and we can provide pricing on how much your repair should cost.
It is quite common to accidentally damage a swimming wetsuit so try not to worry too much. Most things can be repaired.
3mm Neoprene Vests
Our 3mm neoprene vests are a great way of adding layers under your wetsuit. For example, wearing a vest under your 3mm wetsuit will increase the neoprene around your core from 3mm to 6mm. This is a great way to increase your warmth which will allow you to swim in the colder months that would normally be a bit too chilly.
As discussed earlier in the wetsuits section, neoprene is buoyant so some swimmers wear a neoprene vest under their wetsuit to slightly increase their buoyancy in the water.
In warmer conditions many people like the option to wear the vest on it's own as your arms are totally free to focus on your swim stroke.
Neoprene vests are a great addition for open water swimming and give you flexibility in your gear collection.
Our neoprene shorts are great for swimming in warm waters but can also be worn under a full wetsuit for added warmth and to increase buoyancy. They feature strong but comfortable flatlock stitching throughout, making them a good quality product that will keep you a lot warmer than wearing swimming trunks.
You can either use our regular neoprene shorts or our special swimmers buoyancy shorts which help support your legs higher in the water just like if you were wearing a wetsuit.
Wetsuit shorts are sold by the waist size and should be worn tightly around the body just like a full length wetsuit.
Neoprene Swimming Gloves
Our swimming gloves are extremely popular. They are made from high quality neoprene and are one of the driest open water swimming gloves on the market.
The seams are stitched, glued and then liquid seamed to make sure they are watertight. The wrist gasket can be tight but this is also to ensure they let in as little water as possible.
Care tip: To take the gloves off, roll them back on themselves so the gloves come off inside-out. It does take a bit of practice but once you have mastered it, it makes it a lot easier. Also, like most products, after the swim rinse in clean water. Don’t put them on a radiator, just let them dry naturally.
We make both specialist swimming socks that are tight fitting and sealed to reduce water ingress.
We also make lower cost general watersports socks which can be bought by swimmers who are looking for a foot covering that can be worn when open water swimming.
The socks are flexible to allow the foot to move and the neoprene offers comfort and warmth, perfect for colder conditions.
It should be remembered that these are socks and not shoes and if you walk around on stony ground with them you can puncture them quite easily.
Swimming Tow Floats
We don’t just sell products that can be used when taking part in a triathlon. A lot of practice and preparation goes in prior to an event and we have some great value accessories to help aid your training.
Our swimming tow floats are one of our best selling products and their popularity is because of a few factors; as with all of our products, we make the tow floats with high quality materials and the designs are simple yet they have all the features you could really need from a product like this.
They really come in to their own when compared to the alternatives on the market. Our swimming tow floats are not made from cheap material like that found on a child’s floatation device. We make our floats from a good quality material and the seams are strong. The webbing strap is also adjustable so can be set to your desired length for swimming.
A tow float is great to improve your safety when open water swimming. Their bright colours make them much more visible to boat users and contrasts well against the dark colours of the water.
It is worth remembering that when you inflate the tow float using your breath (which is warm), if the water is cold then the air inside the float will cool down and it will deflate slightly when it makes contact with the water. You may find you’ll need to top up the air in the float once in the water.
Care tip: When using the dry bag version of the tow float, be careful to wrap any keys or sharp objects in a t-shirt (or similar item) before putting them in the float because they may pierce the inside material. Also, although the dry bag should keep water out we recommend “double-bagging” expensive electronic equipment
When taking part in a triathlon, privacy isn’t always possible when there can be hundreds of racers around. Our changing robe is a great value, wind and waterproof robe so you can get changed and keep warm with your modesty intact. The inner lining of the robe is made from a towel material which helps to dry your body after a swim.
Changing robes like these have become quite fashionable in recent years and many people wear them when they have no need to get changed as they just like their usefulness as a general jacket type garment.
Robes come in different types and may have long or short sleeves and might be 'over the head' or have a full length zip at the front.
Changing Mat Bag
Our changing mat bag is handy to use as a mat so you don’t have to stand on rocks or sharp pebbles when getting changed outside. It is made from waterproof material so you can store your damp wetsuit in it after a swim.
Our changing mat bags are big enough for a 5mm wetsuit , goggles, socks and gloves.
The bags are very functional and popular as wetsuits are not normally supplied with a bag to carry them in.
Central Swimming Snorkel
Although this snorkel does admittedly look a little strange when in use, the performance it offers is extremely valuable. The centre snorkel holds a central position when in the water. This means that when training you can keep your head in a central position, allowing you to focus on your swimming stroke and techniques.
When you're not swim training you can also use them for general snorkelling.
There are many different makes of central snorkel available but we have found that many other models are quite painful to wear around the forehead area. We made sure ours is really quite comfortable so make sure to check this out if buying one in a store.
A pull buoy goes between the legs of the swimmer and helps keep the legs afloat but not moving. This allows the swimmer to concentrate on their arm movement and stroke technique. Using a pull buoy gives you more time to focus on different techniques and this should show in better swimming performance after practicing with it.
A roll down closure can withstand rain, waves, and if the bag is dropped in the water be able to float for a period of time. Most roll down top dry bags will eventually let water in if the bag is kept totally immersed under water for long enough as the water gradually makes its way around the folded material. This situation is rare though and in most situations you would need to physically force the bag underwater and hold it there to achieve this.
Some drybags have transparent viewing panels on the side to allow you to see the contents and are popular for use as sailing and kayaking dry bags.
We hope you have found this guide informative and if you decide to purchase our products we want you to get great use out of them.
Taking part in a triathlon can be daunting but our products aim to help relieve some of the discomforts associated with open water swimming.
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