Looking for suggestions on what to wear (as a female) for the dc tri (sprint). This is my first tri with an open water swim. Is a wetsuit needed? Are they 'easy' to swim in? Any recommendations based on experience are warmly welcomed!
A wetsuit isn't required but it can help most people, especially weaker swimmers (like me!). The wetsuit provides buoyancy, giving you a more streamlined, horizontal position in the water.
You should try out the wetsuit before the race. They are supposed to be tight-fitting. It can be unnerving the first time. There are sleeveless and full-sleeved versions. The sleeveless offers better mobility for your arms and shoulders but they can also let in water through the arm holes. The full wetsuit has extra buoyancy and will keep you warmer in cool water temperatures. I don't know what the Potomac temperature will be like in late June. Probably kind of warm.
Try to get some practice time in open water, even if it's just the official practice on the day before the race.
As for getting the wetsuit on, there are some helpful videos on YouTube and other sites. You want to pull up the bottom all the way up to get a tight fit. BodyGlide around your ankles, forearms and neck can help. There's also the plastic bag trick of putting your feet and hands in a plastic bag and then slipping them through the legs and sleeves.
You can also look up videos on how to get the wetsuit off. It's not that easy the first time but you can improve with practice.
If you don't want to go with the wetsuit you can always get a pair of tri shorts and a tri top or a full tri suit (just google "Tri Clothes" and i'm sure you'll see a lot of them...there are also stores around the area that sell them if you want to try them on before you buy). These can be worn during the entire race (but won't provide the sweet sweet extra buoyancy of the wetsuit ;-))
It's my first tri as well and i've been testing the open water with a full wet suit and it's amazing how much it helps! I'm going to use either full or sleeveless wetsuit even if it's 90 degrees. :) The water will keep you cool. I went in the lake last night and it was 86 and I wasn't hot once in the water.
My question is what else to wear. Does everyone wear tri outfits. Which DC Tri top should I buy for the race? I'll be at the back of the bunch so I need all the cheering from fellow team members I can get to finish. :)
Just to let you know, USAT officials measure the temperature of the water before the race. If it's 84F and above, wetsuits are illegal. If it's 78.1 to 83.9, then wetsuits are optional, but for the fast people, they are not eligible for awards if they wear one.
But to answer your other question, not everyone wears tri outfits. Most people wear tri shorts. Some people just wear tank tops/sports bras. Some wear tri tops. Some wear bike jerseys. It's up to you which one you want to buy and which one you feel most comfortable in. But unless you know people out there, the club gear will get people cheering for you who don't even know you. :)
Keep in mind that ordering gear from the gear store is not an immediate shipment. These are custom orders and we have to meet minimum order numbers before submitting the order and then it takes time to make the gear. From the time you order, it could be 6 weeks until you get your gear. It could 10 or 12 weeks. There's no real set time.