Floatation . Warmth . Speed
A positive swim experience
for every customer is our goal!
Written By: Jay Prasuhn / Published By: Triathlete Magazine
It’s race day. You’ve racked your bike and you walk to the water – a chilly lake beset by throngs of nervous athletes awaiting their wave. The horn hasn’t even blown and you’re already contemplating the warm comfort of your car. Coach Al Lyman (pursuit-fitness.com) notes that swim anxiety is the same for nearly everyone. "It’s normal to feel anxious and nervous. Everyone in this sport was a beginner and felt that way at one time, so you’re not alone," Lyman says.
"So many beginners think, ‘I don’t need to practice; I’ll be okay on race day,’ but it doesn’t work that way." Coach Roy Frey (multisports.com) says, "You gotta force yourself to get out in open water and practice." Frey recommends swimming in the open water as often as three times a week within a month of a race. "Even if you swim for just five minutes, each time helps build a more confident athlete."
When we’re trying to learn something new or improve our skills, we can get impatient and frustrated with our seemingly slow progress. But you can’t rush your progress.
Lyman notes that adaptation takes time, and you have to give your body the time it requires to learn. "Over time, if you keep focusing on the fundamentals and if you are patient, you do achieve." And so what if you’re just cruising along at the back of the swim? Not only do you have a swim clear of all those people ahead, think of all the people you’ll likely pass on the bike and run!
Wrapped neck to ankle in a tight wetsuit, your first swim in a wetsuit can feel scary, claustrophobic. "A wetsuit can feel really restrictive at first, especially around the shoulders and arms," Lyman says.
Before you even don your suit at the lake or beach, do it at the pool. "You have to be 100-percent comfortable in your wetsuit in a pool first to lose that feeling of claustrophobia," Lyman says. It’s at the pool, absent of all the distractions of the open water, where you can just feel what a wetsuit can do for you by providing buoyancy and warmth – and that it’s really not restrictive."
A drill Lyman suggests is to float. Just float. "Before you do start actually swimming, it’s important to learn what water can do for you. We are often so anxious to move and put pressure on the water that we never truly relax and just let the water support us," Lyman says. "Learn to relax with your head down into the water and feel the water supporting you," Lyman says. "Practice floating and find the perfect balance point. It is an amazing feeling when we get it for the first time."
When putting your wetsuit on at the pool – or elsewhere – be sure you put it on correctly or it will restrict your arm movement. "Pull up from the thighs and hips to give you plenty of freedom around the hips," says Lyman, "then pull up the torso and especially pull up on the arms and from the tops of the shoulders to relieve any tightness around the arms and shoulders."
When you get out of breath, the natural instinct is to stop, pull your head out of the water and breathe. But swimming requires that you’re comfortable with your face in the water – a major source of anxiety for many new swimmers. Lyman says, "It’s very important to learn that focusing on the exhale and breathing out is the key to learning to relax."
Exhale through your nose and mouth with your face in the water, taking in air only when you roll to the side during your stroke. Your face doesn’t even need to be totally out of the water. And you can practice this at home with a big bowl of water – blow bubbles to exhale with your face underwater, turn your head to the side to sneak a breath, then return to face down to exhale. Frey advises practicing bilateral breathing too – alternate breathing to each side. "In the race, you’ll want to breathe to another side if you have the sun in your eyes or a buoy or swimmer next to you. Focus only on the exhale when your face is in the water, and the inhale takes care of itself. As you exhale more deeply and forcefully, you will naturally become more relaxed, less anxious and realize you are not out of breath after all."
From waves to sea creatures to fellow athletes, external forces are a part of an open-water swim. "Expecting these kinds of things and deciding in advance how you will deal with them is key," Lyman says.
Practice at the pool with friends tapping at your feet and bumping you. Also practice backstroking at the pool it’s the perfect break when rolling waves might tire you out, giving you a chance to catch your breath and gather your composure.
Once race day comes, remember the swim is only a small percentage of any triathlon and serves as a warm-up for the bike and run, so take the time you need to avoid stress. "Be sure to take the time to do a short warm-up swim just to get those first jitters out of you system," Lyman advises. "It will make the actual race start easier because you will already be familiar with the environment."
Lyman suggest that you seed yourself honestly and be willing to start off to the side or behind the main pack to avoid the contact and chaos of a frenzied swim start. How? Think about the swim course. Is the first buoy a right-hand turn? If so, the best place to be is at the back, off to the left of the group. As swimmers reach the right-turn buoy, they’ll coalesce to the right and create a traffic jam of arms and legs. "Stay outside, wide at the buoys," Frey concurs. "It’s better to swim a bit longer and go outside than to go inside and contend with a bunch of people." If you’re unsure, ask the race director or experienced athletes the best place for a beginner to be to avoid contact.
And when that horn blows? While we all get excited and want a great start to the day, novices may need to let those arms and legs go an ahead to allow for a stress-free, clear path through the swim. So as the horn blows, give yourself a second, walk in calmly and find some clear water ahead. "It’s okay to let the main pack jump out first, and then follow behind," Lyman says. "The time you will lose is only a small fraction of the race and simply doesn’t matter. Let them go."
Open water can muster up a scary challenge: waves. These ominous walls of crashing water can thump you, or you can just let them thunder right over you.
For those who show up on race day and still haven’t done an open-water swim, doing it on a day with overhead surf may not be the right time to begin. "There’s no shame in backing out and saving it for another day," Frey says.
But if you’re ready to play in the waves, Frey explains that big waves are easy to contend with – just duck-dive the wave and go deep, where the turbulent action from the wave is virtually nil. He suggests diving hands first immediately before the wave approaches, reaching for the sandy bottom. Then wait as the turbulence passes overhead. "A lot of beginners pop up too soon," Frey says. "Go down, grab the sand for a second or two, then push off forward and up, not just up." By then the wave has roared over you and passed, leaving you ready to continue your swim out. As subsequent waves come, just swim right underneath them, letting the turbulence pass you overhead.
Direct purchase options are available on our website starting in the fall.
All of our renters have the option of applying a $50 credit toward the purchase of their rental wetsuit and adopting it for good. They can also choose to apply that credit toward the purchase of a different wetsuit in our inventory with the understanding that there may be a short wait until the right wetsuit becomes available.
Because we need to dedicate our full rental fleet to fulfilling rental orders during the height of the triathlon season, we only list the occasional overstock models that won't be needed during that time for direct purchase on our website.
We host an online Stock Clearance Sale in the fall. Sign up to get an alert!×
WetsuitRental.com was founded in 2006 by Jim McCann. Then-president of the country's largest and most successful triathlon club, the San Diego Tri Club, Jim was witness to a surge in the popularity of triathlons as everyday folks turned to the sport as a vehicle for improving their health and well-being.
With the growing interest in triathlon, Jim recognized a consistent hurdle for folks willing to try their hand at this daunting sport..."After seeing thousands of new triathletes start in the club, I realized it was a good thing when a new triathlete wore a wetsuit in open water. Prior to becoming the club president, I ran the club races for three years. If I could just get a wetsuit on all the new triathletes for their first race, I wouldn't have to worry about one thing -- they couldn't sink! The warmth the wetsuit provides from the cold water also cuts down on people hyperventilating the first hundred yards or so.
The main issue which prevents people from wearing a wetsuit is the cost of a new wetsuit and the lack of rental options. New wetsuits start at about $200 and go up to over $1,000. For the new triathlete who doesn't know for sure if this sport is for them, it's hard to justify spending that kind of money for a piece of equipment they might only use once. So for little money, you can rent a wetsuit that will fit you properly. You might even enjoy your swim and go on and have a great time in your race. So that's how the WetsuitRental.com started, trying to fill the need of those new to our sport that could benefit from a expensive piece of equipment." And the online triathlon wetsuit rental industry was born.
Jim McCann, our beloved founder, husband, brother and friend to the triathlon community, passed away during our first year of operation.
During the initial week or so of shock and grief, business took a back seat and we let some customers down. And that’s when we learned the true strength and value of the triathlon community…
With very few exceptions, customers, race directors, wetsuit manufacturers, and competitors reached out with everything from basic forgiveness for our temporary failings to delaying terms on invoices to one race director who actually tore up a dozen certificates for free wetsuits so he wouldn’t have to bother us during the aftermath of our personal tragedy.
And we got it. We truly understood Jim’s passion for and dedication to the triathlon world. Yes, it’s a sport, but that sport has spawned a community of people who work closely together to further something as simple as the health and well being of its members new and old. It’s a world where competitors are the best of friends – on the course and in business. And we’re proud and humbled to be a part of it.×
With the exception of weekends and federal holidays, we are shipping orders for events taking place this coming weekend and for events taking place next weekend. Expect delivery time to be 2 days to most places - 1 day to western WA and OR and 3 days to more rural locations.×
A positive swim experience
for every customer is our goal!
Whether your upcoming event is the culmination of months spent slowly training yourself out of your old comfort zone or is just another Saturday, it takes courage to tackle the open water. A high quality, well-fit wetsuit is a must for your arsenal.
We feature today's models of the industry's most trusted triathlon wetsuit brands. Choosing your suit from our extensive collection are the most experienced wetsuit fitting experts in the business.Skip to Order Form
Don't risk a bad swim! Trust the knowledge and experience we've built up during our 8 years of service.
Events Attended by our Wetsuits
Wetsuit Models Stocked and Tested
Athletes Successfully Fitted
Expert Fitters Filling Orders
You'll enjoy a less taxing and more relaxing swim gliding through the water in a triathlon wetsuit. Originally designed for cold-water swimming, swimmers have found additional benefits to wearing a wetsuit making it a staple in today's triathlete gear bag.
Additional buoyancy keeps you on top of the water and in an optimal swimming position making for a much easier swim.
Neoprene helps trap some of your body heat so you expend less energy keeping up your core body temperature.
Less energy expended swimming and staying warm leaves more energy available for forward propulsion - or for the bike and run!
No check-out time surprises with us.
Except for this one... Rent more than 1 wetsuit and save on each additional rental! Savings are automatically calculated for multiple adult wetsuit rentals. Checkout with code MIXANDSAVE if you're mixing adult rentals with a youth or child rental to collect your savings.
We'll ship your wetsuit out two weeks before your event giving you more than a week to train with it before the big day. Order after our target ship date and we'll ship your suit out within 24 hours (excluding holidays and weekends).
Your wetsuit ships via US Postal Service Priority Mail for free. This means a 2-day delivery time to all but the most rural locations (which can expect a 3-day delivery time).
Everything needed for a hassle-free return of your rental wetsuit will be shipped out with your suit - including a prepaid return postage label.
Our all-inclusive wetsuit rental package includes a fit-guarantee (necessary size replacements requested at least 3 days before your event ship free) and a $50 credit towards the purchase of any used or new wetsuit in our inventory.A positive swim experience for every customer is our goal!
"Yes, I was a little apprehensive about renting a wetsuit online... will it arrive on time, what if it doesn't fit right, will it be a decent brand, in good shape, difficult to return... etc. I'm very happy to say that the wetsuit arrived a week in advance, in great shape, was a well known brand and model, fit me perfectly and was easy to return. And by the way, I had my best Ironman swim ever. Thank you to the WetsuitRental.com team. I also loved the encouraging email the day before the race. I'm a fan and have told as many triathlon friends as possible."
"We had to rent last minute. The sizing was perfect, wetsuit was outstanding, and the prompt delivery really helped out! I would absolutely recommend you to anyone needing to rent a wetsuit! And without a doubt, great pricing!"
"I had my first Sprint Tri this Fall, and the last thing I wanted to stress about was figuring out the wetsuit situation (buy? rent? sleeves? no sleeves? size?). These guys made it so easy to figure out! Their sizing questionnaire is hilarious, and the follow-up customer service was spot-on. The wetsuit came well before the event and I felt totally ready to conquer the waves on race day. Can't recommend highly enough!"
"This was my second time renting from you guys. Suit fit PERFECTLY again! So thankful that I can feel comfortable when ordering from you. Return process is SO simple and renting is affordable! Thank you! Will be renting again in the future."
"Wetsuitrental.com provided the best customer service, ease of delivery and returning, and high quality product (I LOVED my wetsuit). Ordering with them was just as good, if not better, than the brick and mortar stores I visited in NYC, and the price is competitive. Renting a wetsuit with them helped make my first triathlon a great experience!"
Because neoprene sleeves increase your buoyancy, we encourage you to wear a full-sleeve wetsuit whenever water temps are comfortable enough to do so. Your race director will likely contact you with accurate present-time water temperature info closer to the date of your event. The water temperature data we've gathered from open-water swims during the past decade is presented in the following map and will give you an idea of what to expect. Use the little drop-down menu in the upper left corner to choose your season, then scroll to the bottom of the map to see our suit recommendation for your anticipated water temp.
BRRR! Go with the full-sleeves and consider a neoprene cap, as well, to help keep your core body temp up.
Definitely go with full-sleeves at these cool temperatures.
You can manage without sleeves at these temps. We'd recommend going with full-sleeves, though, for added warmth and buoyancy.
Definitely warm enough to go without sleeves, but unless you run super hot, consider wearing them anyway for the additional buoyancy.
Wetsuits won't be legal at USAT events, but if you're willing to forego the podium, consider wearing a sleeveless wetsuit.
Wetsuits won't be legal or even allowed at USAT sanctioned events.
We've answered the most common questions we hear below, but feel free to contact us with anything not covered here!
Probably. However, if it is Thursday before your event or later, do not submit an order online. Such late orders must be placed via phone so we can physically check the racks to make sure we have a suit that will work for you before accepting your order.
Most wetsuit sizing charts are based on weight and height alone. Submitting your Body Type on the rental form helps us a lot. If you normally struggle with finding clothes that fit well for whatever reason, please include a note in the same field describing your challenges (ie, wide shoulders, long waisted, barrel-chested, etc.). Our fitters will take these notes into consideration when choosing your suit.
YES!! Our intention was to respond to all comments individually, but we kept getting distracted with things like shipping suits and answering the phone. If the special request you listed in the "Comments" field is not granted, please know that we did our best but just didn't have the right suit in the house. Those comments offer us a lot of valuable info, so please feel free to use the input field liberally.
And to the individual who submitted the cookie recipe to test us - they were delicious :)
All orders are refundable until they are shipped. Just email Kristina about your cancelation and she’ll process your refund.
First of all – thank you and welcome back! You can indicate your return customer status and any preference for or bias against suits you’ve rented with us in the past in the “Comments” input field on the rental page.
You can. Express any such requests in the “Comments” input field on the rental page. Because our inventory is so fluid, we cannot guarantee we’ll be able to honor all requests, but if the right suit is in the house, we will. One caveat to consider. If you request a specific size of suit that does not jive with what our experts recommend, we will still honor your request but will charge a shipping fee to send a second suit if the first doesn't fit.
Most likely. We’ve found that most triathlon wetsuits top out at about 240 pounds (give or take 10 pounds depending on height). So, we stock Akona wetsuits to fit our customers weighing 240 to over 300 pounds. The Akona Quantum Stretch is technically a dive suit which meets USAT standards. However, our Clydesdale and Athena customers tell us it is very comfortable and easy to swim in.
Yes. Max thickness on all of our wetsuits is 5mm.
Our Target Ship Date for all orders is 2 Mondays before your event. (We actually ship the majority of orders already in our files even earlier than that, so get your order in early!) Our timing is set to ensure you have your wetsuit the weekend BEFORE your event so you can get in some practice time with it.
If you order on the Target Ship Date or later, we'll ship your order within 24 hours of receipt (excluding weekends and holidays). Our free shipping option takes 2 days to reach most anywhere in the country (3 days to more rural addresses). Overnight shipping options are available at checkout.
Yes. Just list the hotel's address as your shipping address. Use the 'Comments' field during checkout to let us know your arrival date and the name on your hotel reservation.
Only to APO addresses.
Probably not. Between the wealth of experience and sizing data we've collected over the years and the fact that we err toward the larger size range on a suit, it's highly unlikely we sent a suit that is too small for you. A correctly donned, right-sized wetsuit will feel really, really tight – an incorrectly donned suit will feel like it’s strangling you.
Unfortunately, putting a wetsuit on correctly is NOT easy or intuitive. Please watch our instructional videos on how to properly don a wetsuit. Once you get it on, do some deep knee bends and windmill your arms. Try it in the water if you can, because the suit will shift a bit when it's wet and feel like it's loosening up some.
Remember, a well-fit suit will likely feel tight and uncomfortable while you're standing in your living room. But it needs to adhere intimately to your body, while still allowing you to breathe and stroke, to do its job properly.
First, please check our instructional videos to be sure you're wearing the suit correctly. We know we're not infallible, but we do want to eliminate this number cause for mistakenly claiming a wrong size wetsuit before we send a replacement. If you’re sure the suit is the wrong size, contact us at 360-297-1818 with a detailed explanation of the fit. We will expedite shipment on a second suit that is requested by noon the Wednesday before your event at no charge to you. Second suits requested after that time will be shipped and billed to you.
We’ve found that most triathlon wetsuits top out at about 240 pounds (give or take 10 pounds depending on height). So, we stock several models of Akona wetsuits to fit our customers weighing 240 to over 300 pounds. The Akona Quantum Stretch is technically a dive suit which does conform to USAT regulations. However, our Clydesdale and Athena customers tell us it is very comfortable and easy to swim in.
We expect suits to be post-marked for their return trip no later than Wednesday following your event (unless you've purchased additional post-event rental time).
If you signed up for another event taking place in the coming weeks, you can extend your current rental at only $15/week - a far more economical option to returning your suit and renting again. Please be aware that rental extension fees are NOT deductible from a wetsuit purchase.
You can ship the suit back to us at
All rental orders include return postage. A prepaid return postage label and instructions for sending the suit back will be emailed to you around the time of your event.
Note that WetsuitRental.com is no longer the only online internet-based wetsuit rental company. It is the customer's responsibility to return the suit to the right company. If you attempt to return it at your event, PLEASE be sure you have found a representative of WetsuitRental.com – we will not have a presence at every event.
We DO NOT charge for normal wear and tear to our wetsuits. However, we will make an exception for damage we deem unreasonable - damage resulting from careless handling and storage of the wetsuit (for pete's sake don't leave the suit baking in the sun in the back seat of your car!). In almost a decade of business, we can count on one hand the number of times we've charged for damage and those charges were minimal, so please, take good care of the suit but don't stress about it!
$50 of your rental fee can be applied toward the purchase price of your rental suit or of any other suit in our inventory until the end of the calendar year. Details on how to buy your rental suit will be included with your shipment. You can also check out the Buy a Triathlon Wetsuit section of our store to see what new and used wetsuits we have available for purchase. If you've rented from us more than once this season, you can apply a total of $75 toward the purchase of a suit in a single calendar year. Please note that credits are NOT transferrable.
In this case, you’ve already received your wetsuit and, unfortunately, we cannot offer a refund. However, if you contact us, we will offer you a coupon code for $25 off your next rental.
Our team is ready to help take the stress out of your next open-water swim.
Contact us with any questions, concerns or suggestions - we love to hear from you!
360 297 1818
We can outfit the serious athlete for his next Ironman, his teenage daughter for her first triathlon, and even his toddler daughter for some beach play.