Hello all, I am training for my first Sprint Tri in July. I have made good progress swimming but I do not come from a swimming background at all. Being my first triathalon I was wondering if anyone had any experience with using bouyancy shorts. Are you able to wear them say over a tri suit and take them off after the swim? Or should I just go for a wet suit? Thank you in advance!
If your race is in July concentrate on swimming more.....you have 7 months. You won't need either a wetsuit or bouyancy shorts if you get the work in. In fact.....if you get a few lessons and do the work it's an easy deal. Relax....it's a sprint triathlon....finishing one is not that big of a hill.
Do you know what the water temp is likely to be? I haven't used buoyancy shorts (didn't know there were a thing!), but the wetsuit will also have the advantage of warmth. So, if you are likely to be allowed a wetsuit that seems more useful.
To my knowledge buoyancy shorts aren't "legal" in races where wetsuits aren't allowed (if water temperature is too high). Sometimes beginners are allowed to wear wetsuits or buoyancy shorts anyway, but will not be considered in contention for age group awards, qualifying for other races, etc., if they do. Those probably aren't issues for most beginners anyway. Honestly I don't know how this policy is enforced--I've always followed the race director's decision on wetsuits as I am usually in contention for AG awards. Maybe the "illegal" wetsuit people start in a separate beginner wave, or they check swim exit pictures or something. There are also exceptions that make wetsuits legal in higher water temps for a few categories of athletes like the very old, or physically challenged, in some races.
At any rate, I would work on improving your swim skills until you don't feel the need for extra buoyancy (and not using the shorts as a crutch in training); if water temperatures allow it, buy or rent a wetsuit and wear it instead.