TriathlonHealth

Can you use a snorkel in a triathlon race?

Snorkel and fins on the beach

Most of us have been snorkeling at least once in our lifetime. But does it apply to triathlon?

In this article, we take a look at the rules, pros, and cons.

According to USAT rules, you can use a snorkel in their triathlon races. However, in other races, like the Ironman race, most races prohibit using a snorkel.

I’ll assure you; Using a snorkel isn’t very useful in races. You’ll have a much harder time breathing because a snorkel will limit the amount of oxygen you can get. Furthermore, a snorkel on your head will make you slower due to the added water resistance (hydrodynamic resistance).

To summarize, it’s legal in some races. But it doesn’t give an advantage.

Why would you use a snorkel?

Wearing a snorkel removes the need for swimmers to turn their heads to breathe, so some may find it useful to use a snorkel.

It’s common for triathletes to use a snorkel during training sessions. Typically the snorkel will be front-mounted, as shown in the picture. This position will reduce the water resistance the most.

Triathletes train with snorkels to focus on stroke technique, having to turn their heads to breathe. This allows the swimmer to isolate and improve their swimming strokes.

Why you shouldn’t wear a snorkel for a triathlon race.

In triathlons, there are typically mass-starts which can be quite messy. Triathletes are constantly swimming into each other, and if you’re wearing a snorkel, there will be a good chance it’s going to get ripped out; or filled with water.

Furthermore, snorkels for swimming limit the amount of oxygen you’ll receive – which is great in training but not in a race where you’ll want to perform.

What do USAT rules say about using a Snorkel?

As you can read in the image below, there isn’t any mention of snorkels being prohibited in a USAT triathlon race.

USAT rules on using a snorkel in a triathlon race
Source: USAT rules

What does the British Triathlon Federation say about using a Snorkel?

British Triathlon Federation does not allow snorkels in triathlon races as you can read on the screenshot from their set of rules.

British triathlon federatio rules on using a snorkel in a triathlon race
Source: British Triathlon Federation

What about fins? Can you wear them in a triathlon race?

According to USAT competitive Triathlon Rules, fins are not allowed.

USAT rules on using fins in a triathlon race
Source: USAT rules

As you can read in the image below, fins aren’t allowed in all international Ironman races either. If you do so, you’ll get disqualified.

Ironman rules on using a snorkel in a triathlon race
Source: Ironman Compitition Rules

Was this article helpful?
YesNo