triathletes with swim caps going into the water

Do you need a swim cap for a triathlon?

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Even though preparing for a triathlon is a demanding task itself, training is still not the only thing you need to cover.

There are plenty of small details and equipment-related information you should pay attention to, so today we’re here to answer one of those – do you need a swim cap for a triathlon?

Swim caps are required for many triathlons and some events will even provide them for you. Even when not required, swim caps are worn by most competitors in order to protect hair and reduce drag. Be sure to check the rules for your specific event.

triathletes with swim caps going into the water

First of All, What Is Triathlon?

It’s a multi-discipline sport where you have to go through three different stages – swimming, cycling, and running. Sounds demanding? That’s because it is! Still, it’s also a great way to stay active as well as have some fun.

Why Does Swimming Part Come First?

Since triathlon includes many physically demanding activities, the point is to keep it as safest as possible.

It would be really dangerous for participants to go through running and cycling stages to end up with the swimming part, especially in the open waters.

When the athlete is exhausted, it would increase the chance of getting crams or collapsing – which would be extremely dangerous while in the water.

What Do You Need For A Swim Stage?

The swimming part can be in open water or a swimming pool. Women will usually need a swimming costume, while men should take a pair of swim jammers.

There’s also a good alternative when you want to save some time in transition – a tri top & shorts or maybe a tri suit.

Although, it’s important to notice that, when in open water, it’s mandatory to use a triathlon wetsuit.

Under that suit, you can wear one of the combos mentioned above. When it’s really cold, you may even need a pair of booties and swim gloves.

However, one thing you definitely want to have, whether you are in open water or a swimming pool is a swim cap, together with a pair of swimming goggles.

Don’t worry, event organizers will mostly have a swim cap prepare for participants, but it’s better for you to have one on your own. Not only sometimes you’ll need it for triathlon, but it’s going to be useful for training sessions too.

P.S. Don’t forget a towel. You’ll need it during the transition after the swim stage.

yellow swim cap and a blue goggles

Why Do You Need A Swim Cap?

A swim cap helps to keep the hair out of your face, which leaves you more space to focus on some more important things.

Do you have long hair? If the answer is yes, it’s definitely better to go with a cap rather than tie a ponytail.

Swim caps ensure all those small hairs around your neck and forehead are in their place, plus you won’t constantly feel your ponytail dragging in the water and spreading all over your neck.

The purpose of these caps is not to ensure your hair doesn’t go wet; they simply add a thin layer that protects your hair against chlorine. This especially comes in handy if you spend lots of time in the pool.

Coupled with all this – if the water is really cold or weather conditions are generally not right, you’ll certainly be glad to have one of these on your head.

How To Choose A Swim Cap?

This part depends on a few different things as well as personal preferences.

Some caps are particularly made for swimming in open water, while others are adjusted to pool conditions. However, swim caps in general can be made of silicone, latex, and neoprene.

Silicone is a heavy and rather durable material. It’s also less breathable, but more expensive. These caps are more hydrodynamic since they don’t quite have wrinkles and really come in handy for training sessions and colder pools.

Swim caps made of latex are cheaper, lighter, more breathable, but, on the other hand, less durable too. In most cases, you won’t be able to perfectly stretch them over your head without having wrinkles around the edges.

Neoprene is the material diving suits are also made of. Neoprene caps are a very important addition if you are swimming in cold, open water.

They are going to keep your head warm as well as prevent that ‘ice cream’ effect on your head. You know that feeling after eating ice cream too quickly? Well, yes, that’s something you want to avoid here.

What Do You Need For Other Triathlon Stages?

Bike stage

Events can note if there is a specific type of bike participants should take. However, it’s mostly enough to have a road or a mountain bike. The rules of most races say you need a helmet.

If it makes it easier, you can have sunglasses and cycle gloves.

run stage of a triathlon

Run stage

Make sure to get a pair of high-quality running shoes suitable for this stage.

Considering the overall venture, it’s definitely better to invest some more money in order to get top-notch equipment to face such a big challenge, starting from good shoes, to a swim cap and other necessary things.

Also, keep track of the weather. If it’s going to be sunny, make sure to get a hat or a sun visor.

Some Final Words

Adequate preparation for triathlon surely includes lots of training, but you also need to cover the part with the equipment and those small things that are easy to forget. Take your time, prepare well, invest in the good equipment, and – good luck!

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