Can You Breaststroke In a Wetsuit? Why You Shouldn’t Anyways !

Several swimming styles are popular nowadays and used in most practice sessions and competitions. However, when it comes to the most popular swimming style for recreational swimming, that spot is reserved for breaststroke!

So, what is breaststroke? Can you do it wearing a regular swimsuit, or do you need a wetsuit for this swimming style?

Breaststroke is a style of swimming where swimmers should perform while wearing regular swimsuits. While wetsuits can work for recreational breaststroke swimming, they are not recommended because they make the lower body float higher in the water, keeping the legs at a higher position than the one needed for a proper breaststroke kick.

Is It OK To Breaststroke In a Triathlon?

Triathlon is a tough sport. Preparing for it can be tiresome and time-consuming. It can take months or even years for a person to get in good enough physical shape to compete in the more demanding triathlons. 

To help you prepare for a triathlon, we want to tell you about breaststroke swimming and the type of gear required. Here is what you need to know before you go out to buy a wetsuit for swimming breaststroke in a triathlon:

Should I Use Breaststroke in A Triathlon?

Swimming breaststroke in a triathlon is allowed. However, it would be best to check the rules and regulations for your specific competition before you start training. That way, if there are any limitations, you will know about them beforehand.

Aside from breaststroke, there are several other popular swimming styles. The freestyle, the butterfly, the backstroke, and the sidestroke are only some of them.

If you compare all these styles, you will find that the breaststroke is arguably the slowest, while the freestyle is the fastest and most efficient. This is why triathletes often choose the latter instead of the former.

If you prefer breaststroke over the other swimming styles, you can use it when competing in triathlons. It is not that difficult to learn, but there is a lot of coordination between the arms and legs that you will have to get used to.

The reason a lot of people use breaststroke is because it’s known to be less taxing than all other strokes and it also allows them to breath easier while maintaining forward propulsion.

It is best to alternate between freestyle and breaststroke when needed.

Also, find out more on this topic by checking out our post titled” Do You Have To Swim Freestyle In Triathlons? Better Alternatives!

Can I Use Breaststroke in A Wetsuit?

While it is possible to use breaststroke in a wetsuit, it is not recommended. The wetsuit can alter the body position and make it more difficult for the swimmer to perform well.

The wetsuit is a full-body suit made from a material called neoprene. It can have long or short sleeves, while it can have long or knee-length bottoms. The suit usually wraps tightly around the body, while the material’s insulation properties keep the body warm at all times.

The tricky part with the wetsuit is that the material is somewhat thicker than the material used on regular swimsuits. The thickness of the material will make the body float a bit higher than usual. The legs will also be raised quite high, even coming out of the water at moments, when they should be deeper in the water than the rest of the body. 

How to Breaststroke Swim?

Breaststroke swimming requires coordination between the legs and arms, as well as the use of proper breathing techniques that will keep your head going in and out of the water to get air. 

It might sound complicated, but this swimming style is one of the easiest to master. You only need to get used to the movements and the breathing, which can be achieved by following a few simple steps. Here is what you need to do for proper breaststroke swimming:

  • Step 1 – Once you enter the water, you should be turned with your face towards the water, while your body should be flat from the head to the hips. The legs can be slightly bent and deeper into the water.
  • Step 2 – As for your arms, they should be straight, with the palms turned downward. As you make your first push in the water, you should move your arms outwards and then pull them towards the chest. Connect the palms at your chest before you move the arms straight forward. Keep repeating this movement while swimming.
  • Step 3 – You start with the legs in a straight position and pressed one to the other. Then, as you start moving your arms, you also start bending the knees and moving the ankles in the direction of your shins. You can spread them to a comfortable position at shoulder width. As a final step, move your ankles downwards and get the legs into the initial straight position at the same moment when you finish the arm movement.
  • Step 4 – Some people choose to breathe above water while swimming in this style, but professionals would not do that. Instead, you get as much air as you need and when you start each arm and leg movement, you get your head under water and slowly start pushing the air out of your lungs. At the end of the arm and leg movement, you raise the head above water, get some more air, and then repeat the entire process.

As much as one tries to explain this swimming style in words, no words can make it as understandable as an actual demonstration can. There are a ton of great demonstration videos that you can find online, so do not hesitate to watch a few of them before going to the pool and trying out this swimming style for yourself!

Can You Wear Buoyancy Shorts In a Triathlon?

The buoyancy shorts are quite similar to the wetsuit. While the wetsuit usually covers the entire body, the buoyancy shorts extend from the hips to the knees. The material is similar to the one used for wetsuits, the thick neoprene, but it can be thicker on the shorts than on the wetsuit.

The biggest difference between the wetsuit and the buoyancy shorts is the fact that the former is allowed in some triathlons, whereas the latter is never allowed in triathlon competitions. 

The neoprene material on the shorts alters the position of the swimmer’s body. While some find it more difficult to swim like this, others use it to their advantage. To keep the competition fair for everyone, most organizational committees choose to ban such shorts and wetsuits altogether. (Source)

Nevertheless, buoyancy shorts are quite comfortable and you can use them for recreational swimming. Their thickness will allow you to float on the water more easily, while their insulation will help you stay warmer during swim practices. 

However, you should still be aware of negative buoyancy and how to deal with it. For more on this, we highly recommend that you check out our post “What Causes Negative Buoyancy in Humans? (Solutions Listed)


An extreme triathlete who have competed in dozens of triathlons including IronMans and Extreme triathlons.

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