Swimming kit guide

Check out our guide to all the open water swimming kit you’ll need when you take on Swim Serpentine.

Wetsuits are designed to keep you warmer during an open water swim and provide extra buoyancy for swimmers. The increased insulation allows you to focus on completing your swim rather than worrying about body temperature.

Make sure you are comfortable in your wetsuit before taking on an open water swimming event. Some swimmers find wetsuits restrictive, while they can also cause chafing.

Swim Serpentine allows you to decide whether you want to wear a wetsuit or not if the water temperature is over 16 degrees. If you are a non-wetsuit swimmer you must wear a tow-float, which is available to purchase on the entry system check-out.

Swim Tow-Float
A swim tow-float attaches around your waist with a belt and a short leash tows an inflatable ‘buoy’ behind you.

The tow-float provides increased visibility so you can always be seen in the water, and if you get cramp or need a rest you can simply hold onto the float rather then tread water. These floats are now widely used and are a recognised safety device in open water swimming.

In the Swim Serpentine event tow-floats are compulsory for non-wetsuit swimmers and optional for wetsuit swimmers.

Swim Hats
You will be provided with a swim hat for the event. These hats will be in various colours which will correspond to your start time.

If you have a favourite swim hat, you can wear this underneath your Swim Serpentine hat (this will keep you a little warmer as well). You can wear a neoprene hat under your Swim Serpentine hat if you need to, but watch out if it is a very warm day, as we don’t want you overheating.

During your swim training in open water it is always advisable to use a bright coloured hat, so you are more visible when swimming.

Generally speaking goggles you use in the pool should be fine for open water swimming. Goggles should be comfortable and not too old and scratchy or foggy that you can’t see through clearly.

There are some open water specific goggles, which are polarised or mirrored that can help you to see clearly on cloudy days.

Other neoprene items
The following items can also be worn at Swim Serpentine, but if you decide to wear them, try them out before the event to make sure they fit properly and don’t result in any drag.

  • Gloves
  • Socks
  • Boots

These items are all designed to keep the body warm in open water, but do not wear anything which makes it difficult to swim or that you find uncomfortable.


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