Posted in Triathlon

Following months of training and preparation you have just exited the water into transition having achieved your best swim time to date. The last thing you want to do now is to give up a chunk of unnecessary time in transition by fumbling around and wrestling with your wetsuit.

Transition are something that can be second nature and done extremely quickly if you approach it in the right way. Hopefully after reading this guide you'll be able to feel this good - why not start by watching out excellent transition video guide.

Below we have compiled a list of top tips to help you get out on to the bike in no time at all.

Don't Panic

Like many things in a triathlon, the worst thing to do is to get flustered and panic when you exit the swim. It may well be that all of your family are cheering you on or that the transition area is busy, however, the key is to stay calm and think about getting out on the bike as quickly as possible. In most races you'll find you have plenty of space to exit the water and it would only ever get to the below situation in the most competitive elite races:

Triathletes emerging from the water after the swim section of a race

Stand up and get your bearings

As you exit the water you will no doubt be a little dizzy after a hard swim with your head constantly rotating. Just take a second here to get your bearings by focusing on your breathing.

A woman standing up after finishing the swim section of a triathlon race

Undoing the zip

As you start running to T1 release the Velcro at the back of the neck and undo the wetsuit zip by using the cord. Practice this before you race to make sure you're familiar with reaching for the velcro tab and cord. Some wetsuits have a downwards zip direction and some have an upwards. The downwards zips can be easier to use and get into but most elite athletes use an upwards moving zipper for a fastest release and to prevent the zip being pulled down during the swim.

2 images of a mans back with a wetsuit zipped down

Arms out, down to hips

Once you've undone your zip you will be able to slide your arms out by pulling from the shoulder/neck panel down towards the wrist. This should be nice and easy. Then pull the wetsuit down as low as your hips. A well-designed wetsuit should make this very easy and still leaves your legs free to run (not walk) to your bike in the transition area:

A triathlete in the process of taking off his wetsuit whilst running out of the sea

Key tips

Once you have your arms out of the wetsuit, the hardest bit can getting the suit off your legs and a number of wetsuit brands don't make this easy. They can be too tight around the legs, not flexible enough or too long which makes them get caught around the ankles.

A triathlete in the process of taking off his wetsuit whilst running out of the sea

Zone3 use an innovative silicone coating on the arm and the leg cuffs called 'Pro-Speed Cuffs' which makes them the fastest wetsuit in transition as can be seen in this video.

Be assertive

Regardless of which wetsuit you choose, the idea is not to wrestle your suit in different directions aggressively but more to be assertive with your suit and to pull your arms/ kick your legs out with force. Your wetsuit should never bunch at the ankles but should end up 100% inside out so it's peeled off the body in one clean movement.

Practice, practice, practice

Just like with anything, the more familiar you are with your equipment and the more you practice, the better you will be able to do this. Remember, it will come off much quicker when it's wet rather than dry. Whenever you wear your wetsuit to train it is always a good idea to practice your wetsuit removal afterwards.