The Ironman Triathlon -- Swim Transition (what to expect)


Visitors: 404

This is the best way to approach the swim-transition.

The first thing that will happen when you stand up is that you will have a moment of dizziness. It is brief and normal. Don't forget you have basically been laying flat through-out the swim and need a few seconds to regain your equilibrium.

First thing to remember:


This is not a good strategy and serves no good purpose. If you followed my race-swim advice then you've come out of the water feeling very good about your swim split. Maybe you were even pleasantly surprised when you became aware of your finish time.

More importantly, you are relaxed and your heart-rate is not all out of control. Your breathing is even. THAT'S GOOD!! Keep it like that through-out the transition. Don't get excited and try and rush. You are here to FINISH this race. At this point, rushing to save 15 seconds will hurt more than it helps.

As soon as you stand up and have your balance, remove your cap and goggles. Follow the others towards the wet-suit strip area. As you walk, reach around undo the small velcro pad covering your zipper, grab the cord and pull the zipper all the way down on the back of your wetsuit. (And no, it shouldn't be on the front like one guy I saw).

Pull the wetsuit off your arms and pull it as far down to your waist as you can. When you approach the two wetsuit strippers, lay down(on the grass I hope) and they will each grab one arm of your wetsuit and pull it off. when you stand up, they will hand it to you. . IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE YOUR WETSUIT, CAP AND GOGGLES INTO THE TRANSITION TENT!!

While carrying your swim gear, go to the bike gear racks and you will be given your bag. If its busy, get it yourself. You should always know exactly where your gear is located before the swim. I always count the rows beforehand.

In the swim-transition tent, empty your bike gear bag and put your swim gear in that bag. A volunteer may help you. Don't worry about the bag. Just leave it and it will magically appear after the race.

I found that the best system is to have ALL your equipment in that bag. Including helmet and shoes. I used to leave my shoes with the bike and most times they were not where I left them and the bikes are very close together and things get kicked around. It may be awkward to wear shoes from the tent to your bike, but big deal. You should be taking your time anyway and not trying to run.


"Walk at a good pace to your bike. This is just to stretch your legs out.

Don't grab one of those drinks on the way out. Don't eat anything.

You will have more fluid loss than you would think possible during the swim. It fools many people, because they're surrounded by water and can't seem to imagine it.

Regardless, don't eat or drink yet. Give your system time to adjust. Make sure your helmet is on properly. Next, take your bike to the bike mounting area. Find a bit of an open spot if you can. This area of the swim-transition can get quite congested. Some people are rushing and accidents happen here.

When you get on your bike click in one pedal before you push off. Then push off, and click the other in when you start moving. Don't make the mistake of pushing off with both feet out of the pedals. Sometimes you just can't get them clicked in right away. ALWAYS have one done! Then if necessary, you can pedal out of swim-transition like this. Once you start moving, you have to keep moving. There will be bikes everywhere. Always leave your bike in an easy gear BEFORE the swim. This is your leaving transition gear.


Congratulations!! You have completed the swim-transition. . .

My name is Ray and regadless of how many triathlons I did, it was always a relief to get out of the water. I've had lots of practice at the swim to bike transition so hopefully my article will supply you with some pointers that will make things go smoother for you on race day. Also, I have a website full of Ironman training and racing tips that you might find helpful.

My site is called “Ironstruck", the address is

If you have any questions or comments you can find my contact page at:


Article Source:

Rate this Article: 
10 Steps to Improving Your Triathlon Swim
Rated 4 / 5
based on 5 votes

Related Articles:

Triathlon Swimming - 5 Keys To Improve Your Triathlon Swim Stroke

by: Janet Wilson (July 16, 2007) 
(Recreation and Sports/Triathlon)

The Ironman -- What to Expect Ironman Week

by: Ray Fauteux (January 01, 2006) 
(Recreation and Sports/Triathlon)

Can You Do An Ironman Triathlon?

by: Tavis Yeung (March 31, 2008) 
(Recreation and Sports/Triathlon)

Why Do the Ironman Triathlon?

by: Ray Fauteux (September 24, 2005) 
(Recreation and Sports/Triathlon)

Triathlon Swim Training - How You Can Get It Right

by: Munyaradzi Chinongoza (October 29, 2006) 
(Recreation and Sports)

The Ironman Triathlon - In a League of its Own

by: Ray Fauteux (May 07, 2006) 
(Recreation and Sports/Triathlon)

Ironman Triathlon Training

by: Dale Lawrence (April 07, 2005) 
(Recreation and Sports/Triathlon)

Ironman Triathlon -- What to Do the Day Before Your First One

by: Ray Fauteux (January 20, 2006) 
(Recreation and Sports/Triathlon)

Count Strokes for a Better Triathlon Swim

by: Kevin Koskella (June 20, 2005) 
(Recreation and Sports/Triathlon)

10 Steps to Improving Your Triathlon Swim

by: Kevin Koskella (December 07, 2004) 
(Recreation and Sports/Triathlon)