Core pants and swim squad

I swim in a squad with 5 lanes, I’m wanting to move to the fastest lane, but the coach has said I’m not quite at the speed of the slower swimmers in that lanes. I’m only slightly off the pace. Things is they are wearing core pants. I’m a good 5s+ quicker if I wore core pants (I’m not going to)… is this common in other squads? I thought it was kinda acceptable for weaker/injured swimmers to wear core pants in the slower lanes, but once you move up, you ditch the core pants. Besides I think they actually mess with your stroke. One of the guys has this bizarre kick and then other doesn’t kick at all - neither technique would be possible without core pants.

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I’m in a swim squad, some wear floaty pants, some not. Noticeable that the really good swimmers don’t.

I don’t wear them unless really tired and needing an easy session, I figure you are just kidding yourself.

I’ll try and get better without, and enjoy the extra floatiness of a wettie in open water as and when.


Agree with @TROSaracen , not sure why you would wear buoyancy shorts in training just to swim faster. Training should be about swimming better.

Why do you want to move to the fast lane? Are you leading your lane all the time and want to share the work? Do they do more reps/distance and you think it will bring you on more? Or do you want to feel you are progressing? I think you have to go with the coach’s recommendation, but maybe there will be a chance for a guest appearance if numbers are down over the holidays? I would have thought the coach could at least let you try at some point to see for yourself how far off you are.


I wear buoyancy shorts once per week, when I do my 1650m drills set (when I swim!)
They allow my legs to relax so I can focus on hands, elbows etc.

But for a squad?
Maybe if you’re tired or have a big session later that day.
I used to wear them at 6am Friday, 4km swim, then out at 9am for a 90km ride after a snack.

Problem for me was that the middle lane was 1:40/100m and I can barely warm up that slow, I sank :joy:
So I’d rather sit at the back of the quicker lane and have an easier, but longer, swim.

Surely the middle lane is whatever pace you set, if you’re the fastest there you lead the lane and let those suckers try and follow you :wink: I usually found leading the lane lower was much more work than being the slowest in the lane above (draft fest). Obviously it depends on the gulf in class, which often just depends who turns up that week, sometimes the jump up is huge and I’m spat out the back immediately.

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It depends what the squad is, I swim with a tri club (on the rare occasions I swim). Therefore, arguably all the competitive swimming the majority are likely to do is in a wetsuit, and the core pants therefore mimic that more closely. Many of us have a bad/almost no kick in a wetsuit.

Generally the top lane don’t wear them but at our club it’s because they’re pretty much all old timers, who were in the top lane(s) well before core shorts became available. If there was a number of newer swimmers who were quickly progressing through the lanes I could see that being different.

I personally had been a long time core pants wearer, but recently had a disappointing pool swim in a sprint tri [edit for clarity: which was due to lack to training, not training in core shorts] and realised that over the last few years the only triathlons I’ve done have been pool based, hence the core shorts mimicking a wetsuit argument didn’t really apply, so have gone back to a standard jammer. That and the fact my core shorts really need replacing and they seem to cost a fortune!

The best swimmer in our club has to wear drag shorts otherwise no-one else can go in the fast lane with him :laughing:

To balance numbers, sometimes the fastest in the land down have to move up but they’re allowed flippers for kick sets. Problem with Tri is that swim ability is so varied.


I’m actually not the fastest in the lane, There are probably 2 of us, possibly 3 that could replace people in the fast lane. We are keeping up with them and/or overtaking them sometimes. I’m thinking she might feel bad dropping people, like you’ve been kicked out of top set maths at school!

I’ve chatted to the coach and she has set me a target pace which is just about achievable around 1.18min/100m for 100m reps. At the moment if we did say 6, I’d hit one or two at that pace, all the others would be 1.20-1.22. So I’ve got a bit of work to do. But there aren’t many in the fast lane hitting 1.18 pace for all 100s in a set.

I don’t want to be a dick about it, in case I move into the fast lane and can’t keep up, so will just work a bit harder.

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I wore core pants for about 1.5 years due to a shoulder injury (initially), but then kept swimming in them as I loved them and was going so quick (just swimming solo). I was down to about 1.15/100m. So maybe 5 or 6s quicker. When I joined a previous squad, I dropped the core pants and what a shock that was. I was going 10s+ slower!

My stroke had deteriorated, especially my kick. I’d developed this quasi-2 beat kick, with my right leg not kicking at all. it took me 6 months to get back to where I was before the core pants. So I normally suggest to people to not wear them or wear them if you’re injured or for a recovery swim. Perhaps there are people that do wear them and it doesn’t affect their stroke, but for me they weren’t a good thing.


‘core pants’ are for fannies. I know because I’m taking them on holiday, so I can actually get some decent OW swims in without fatiguing too fast (haven’t swum consistently since March 2020). Hopefully I can ditch them though.



Holds no punches.


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Some of you may remember an esteemed TT grandee appearing on a podcast episode with a well known UK tri coach all about swimming. In that these were mentioned and I have seen said tri coach wear them very regularly along with a couple of others in the masters fast lane. So when he said they have a use but not to rely on them I did chuckle.