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How Much Does a Triathlon Cost? Part I: Swimming

A triathlete – is a person who doesn’t understand that one sport is hard enough.

So… congratulations! You are one of them! Being that you’re here, you’re probably on your way to completing your first triathlon. And I’m sure you already noticed that this hobby/sport/lifestyle is pretty expensive.

Read-on and learn useful tips on how to minimize costs of triathlon equipment as a beginner. Follow the links and click on images to easily shop the equipment you need for the best price we could find. 

If we consider the sports associated with a triathlon—swimming, biking, and running—the expenses triple. Instead of one sport, it’s three—making it more difficult to train.

Before buying equipment, consider some options.

Everything started in water – Life on the planet Earth began in water, and so does a triathlon. In this article we will try to cover all possible expenses you might have during the preparation and participation of a triathlon race.


Triathletes wear everything they need from the get-go. After all, transition-time counts!


If you’re competing in cold open water (typical in Scandinavian countries) then you need a wetsuit.  If the waters are warm, any bathing suit will do as long as it’s comfortable to bike and run in.

“It might be counterintuitive to spend so much money on gear and equipment. But believe me it’s a good investment. Having training clothes from a quality brand will save you money in the long-run. I had my previous Speedo swimming suit for 5 years, and after all that training in the pool, the fabric worn-out only a little bit.”(Merenlin)

NordA and Merenlin (pic): NordA wears the Orca Triathlon Wet Suit 2013 with long sleeves and Merenlin sports a Speedo sleeveless model (sleeveless model is half the price). This season (2014) we’ve had an extremely warm summer in Stockholm, so choosing a sleeveless model is a smart choice.

Wet Suit Orca and Speedo

 “I decided to find a middle-road solution that will work for most of the summer, and still be reasonably cheap. Another advantage of a sleeveless wetsuit is – more freedom of movement.”(Merenlin)

Buy Speedo Thin Comp Sleeveless Wetsuit

“I bought my wetsuit last year when the water and temperature were not so warm. It did take me time to get used to a wet suit. So my advice is to buy a wet suit as early as possible and train in it.”(NordA)

Buy Orca Women’s TRN Thermo Full Sleeve Wetsuit 2014

Buy Orca Women’s Core Basic Race Suit SS14


Price range: $100-$180/ Infinity

Other brands worth checking out: 2XU, TYR and HEAD.

Swimming Cap

You can get one from the organization one-two days before the competition. Otherwise you might have one—or simply purchase one here. They are all one size. If you have a small head – take a swimming cap for juniors.

Buy Speedo Plain Molded Silicone Swimming Cap

 Price range: $0-$5

The caps could be fun as well. Here is Norda in her favourite one!

Sharks in my head are talking again!

Sharks in my head are talking again!


 It’s very important to have goggles with UV protection—the ones that protect your eyes from sun, don’t leak and have anti-fog properties. Prepare your goggles before race-day. Without them, you’re screwed—like I almost was at Bosphorus (read more How I crossed Bosphorus).

However, you don’t need to go crazy about the goggles. Just find your perfect match and buy two pairs, just in case.

 Price range: $16-$40/Infinity

 Brands to explore—Zoggs, Arena, Orca, Speedo.

 “I’m a fan of Speedo for their nice designs, democratic prices (compared to other semi-professional brands) and good quality. Explore their different lines of products ranging from beginner to competitive levels. I usually opt out for the training line.” (Merenlin)

Swimming in open water 

“I was always looking for a fancy, adjustable goggles till the day when I bought a wet suit. There was a little delay with a delivery of that from the store side, so they gave me a pair of Orca goggles for free. The simplest goggles I have ever seen, appeared to be the best one I ever had! Since then they are my favourite.” (NordA)

Gels and creams

Not a must, but you might have problems with your skin from being in the wetsuit—especially the arms…and perhaps some back pain. There are special creams that help your muscles relax and recover faster.

 Here is one I recommend to prevent irritation, chafing and blisters—and one more for after-care.

Price range: $10-$20/ Infinity

Additional Triathlon Costs (training)


 Of course you can swim any style you want, but the crawl is fastest. You might want to get a coach or join a group to learn it—approximately 20-30 hours from scratch.

Price range (Stockholm): $200-$400/ Infinity for the whole course, or free from an experienced friend!

Here is the swimming club NordA and Merenlin are teaching at. If you are local, you are welcome to join it in September.

 Hurry up! This is the cheapest possibility to learn the crawl in all of Stockholm (located central at Stadion metro station). And usually all  places are gone for 1 day.Norda's and Merenlin's happy students graduates from last term

“Joining a swimming club is a good investment also. Besides getting the training, peer pressure and discipline, you get to share all the training equipment that otherwise you’d have to buy yourself.”



 You may need training aids like paddles, kick boards, pull buoys, and fins.

Buy Speedo Tech Paddle

Find them all on our favourite triathlon store:

Price range: $50-Infinity for everything.

Summary: So, how much does a triathlon cost?

Part I. Swimming gear: 

wetsuit/swimming suit: $100-$180

swimming cap: 5$

swimming goggles: $16-$40

gels and creams: $10-$20

training: $200-$400  per course

training equipment: 0-$50

So, in total we have an average of $200 for the actual swimming gear, and an additional $350 average for training. That’s an average of $550 for only the swimming part of a triathlon. Next, we’ll discuss the costs associated with biking (the most expensive part of triathlon), so stay tuned!

A post about how to choose and where to buy the right bike is coming soon!

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  1. Pingback: How Much Does a Triathlon Cost? Part I: Swimming | Life as an Investment

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