Degree Name

Master of Science (Hons.)


Department of Human Movement Science


The effects of wearing a wetsuit, during the swimming leg of a triathlon, on the thermoregulatory and cardiovascular responses, were investigated in 15 trained male triathletes (X ± S.D.) (aged 29.6 ± 3.8yrs). Prior to the simulated triathlons each subject completed a maximum oxygen uptake test (MVO2): (swim = 52.9 ± 5.13 1.min- 1 ; bicycle = 67.1 ± 4.79 min-1 and run = 68.7 ± 4.08 ml.k-1.min-1 ) to determine relative workloads for each phase of the triathlon.

Subjects in the triathlon swam tethered in a pool (20.0 ± .68 °C) for 30 minutes followed immediately by a 70 minute ergometer cycle and 40 minutes of treadmill running in a climate chamber with the environmental conditions of 25 °C (dry bulb), 21.5 °C (wet bulb) and 73 % relative humidity. Subjects exercised between 65 - 70 % of MVO2 for the swimming, bicycle and run stages.

The results showed that in the swimming stage the NW (non wetsuit) treatment had a significantly (p

Results from the study indicate that significantly different thermoregulatory and cardiovascular responses occur when wearing a wetsuit during a triathlon. Furthermore, triathletes appear most vulnerable to hypothermia, and therefore possible injury, in the initial stages of the bicycle phase which may be accelerated when competitors do not wear a wetsuit during the swimming stage. The findings also suggest that in the latter stages of the running phase competitors can suffer from excessive thermoregulatory heat strain due to the continual rise in core temperature.