You might think any old pair of swimming goggles will work for your next triathlon, but there are key differences between pool swimming goggles and triathlon goggles. Triathletes swim in different conditions and train differently than swimmers who compete in a pool. That’s why triathletes should equip themselves with goggles designed to meet their needs.
In this article, you will learn about the different conditions triathletes swim in and how a pair of triathlon goggles can help you compete at a higher level. You’ll also learn how to distinguish between triathlon goggles and pool swimming goggles. After that, we will go over what you should look for in your next pair of triathlon goggles.
The swimming segment of most triathlons occurs in open water. Pools and open water are two very different venues in the sport of swimming. So, it makes sense that pool swimmers and open-water swimmers use different types of goggles to meet their specific needs. Below, we have outlined some of the differences you can expect when swimming one venue over the other.
The conditions of a pool are controlled so that athletes can swim their fastest. From lighting to wave management to visibility, pools allow you to focus on technique and speed. Here are some of the ways pool conditions are controlled:
Whether you are swimming in an ocean or a lake, the swimming conditions are far from optimal when compared to those found in a pool. During a triathlon, you must contend with extended amounts of time in the water, changing light conditions, and no swimming line to guide you to your destination. Let’s take a look at what to expect during a triathlon swim:
Now that you can see the difference between pool swimming and open-water swimming, you can begin to understand why a triathlete needs goggles that are slightly different from their pool swimming counterparts. Triathletes opt to use swim gear made specifically for their sport, like thermal wetsuits when conditions get cold. They also choose to use triathlon goggles. Let’s go over the main differences you will see between triathlon goggles and pool swimming goggles.
Many of the characteristics of triathlon goggles that are defined above are what you should look for when searching for a new pair of goggles. Within the triathlon goggle market, there are a few preferential choices to be made, such as lens size, goggle type (mask or goggle), types of sun protection, and the fit you should be looking for.
For lens size, you already know you should search for lenses that are larger than the ones found on typical swim goggles. However, there are many different goggles on the market, and lens size comes down to personal preference.
Remember, you will have greater visibility the larger the lens, something that is very advantageous during an open water race. Try out different goggles to see what works best for you.
As for goggle type, you have two options: a goggle and a mask.
The first is a traditional style goggle consisting of two independent cups with a nose bridge connecting them. These goggles might feel more comfortable if you are used to pool goggles and will be slightly more hydrodynamic.
Your next option is a mask-style goggle. These goggles consist of one, slightly curved lens that allows for exceptional peripheral vision. The silicone gasket on mask-styled goggles creates an excellent seal on your face so you can avoid any water leakage. The single lens provides greater durability as you won’t have to worry about any snapping nose pieces.
Next, you will want to consider the lens type you need for sun protection. Sun protection for your eyes is a must for any outdoor swimming. Here are some things to look for:
You can find goggles with some or all of these features. At the very least, you should select goggles that have UV protection so your eyes can remain healthy.
You might want to consider having multiple pairs of goggles. Along with your sunny-day goggles, consider getting a pair with clear lenses so you can see well when it is dark and rainy out as well.
You never know what time your next event will take place or what the weather will be like. You wouldn’t want to end up swimming an early race in the rain in a pair of dark-tinted goggles.
You will want to try on a few pairs of goggles so you can get an idea of what is most comfortable for your facial structure. Make sure the nose pieces do not rest on the bridge of your nose as this will cause discomfort. Ensure that the goggles have a secure seal on your face so no water can leak in.
Once you find goggles that have a good fit and do not leak, make sure you train in them! Training in the goggles will ensure you are comfortable competing in them, and it acts as a good test to double-check that they do not leak.
A good pair of triathlon goggles will be your best friend in your next open-water swim. Not only will they be comfortable and protect your eyes from the sun, but they will also help you see your surroundings with greater clarity.
After you have made your choice between the mask or goggle style and have chosen your desired lens type, be sure to view Arena’s full selection of goggles where you can find the right pair for your next triathlon.