Race Rules - Know your sport


Wetsuit Rules: Race day morning sea temperatures are measured to determine whether the race will be a Wetsuit legal swim. Wetsuits are optional if temperatures are below 22 degrees for races with a swim distance under 1500m and 24.5 degrees in races above 1500m. However if a race has been announced a Non-Wetsuit Swim, Speed-suits are not to be worn and could result in potential disqualification. 

Swim Caps: In your race pack you receive a swimming cap and some other goodies! This swim cap is usually colour coded depending on your wave start. You must wear the swim cap provided by the Race Director on the outside of all other swim caps.

Other garments: Even though some people secretly wish invisible fins had been invented, competitors must not use artificial propulsion devices, flotation devices or gloves or socks (including compression socks) to keep the hands and feet warm. This may result in a potential disqualification.

Taking a break: If you find you are exhausted and need a rest, you may stand on the ocean floor, hold the buoy or a stationary boat. However, you cannot use the bottom or the object to make forward progress in an area that you can swim!


Blocking: See your friend and want to pull up to their side and have a chat? Well this is a big no no. If you are completing a pass, or have completed a pass and fail to move left of the cycle lane you will receive a blocking penalty. Not to mention angry competitors will probably yell at you.

Drafting: For all events with a cycling distance up to and including the Olympic distance event the bike draft zone is a distance of seven metres and you have 15 seconds to pass through this zone.

For all events with a cycling distance greater than an Olympic distance, the bicycle draft distance is twelve metres long and you have 25 seconds to pass through this zone. The front edge of the front bike defines the start of the draft zone. Once you have been passed (competitors wheel in front of yours), you must immediately commence to drop back out of the draft zone before attempting to re-pass. Failure to observe this may result in a drafting penalty.

Helmet: We see it all the time – athletes running their bike out of transition without their helmet, or starting the run course with their helmet on. The bicycle helmet must remain securely fastened on your head at all times once the bicycle is removed from your bicycle rack, while on the bicycle course and until your bicycle is replaced on the bicycle rack. I encourage people to put their helmet on first as soon as they get into transition from the swim.


Race Number: When starting the bike your race number must be displayed on your back, however when starting the run course swing your race belt around so the number is facing in front. Those not complying may incur a Yellow Card Stop-Start penalty. However if the Technical Official considers that the identification number has been unintentionally lost, then you will not be penalised. 

Running Shoes: You must run with shoes on your feet!

MP3/Ipod: We all like to listen to our favourite tunes while we run (and ride), but if you are caught you will receive a time penalty. Save the tunes for the pre-race warmup and the after party.


Mount/Dismount: The Mount and Dismount lines can get pretty hectic. Make sure you mount your bike AFTER the Mount line, and dismount your bike BEFORE the dismount line to avoid penalties.

Leaving Bags in Transition:  Any personal equipment that you will not be using in a race must be placed outside of the transition including bags.

Access: Only competing athletes are allowed in the transition area. Make sure you are wearing your helmet on top of your head when you head into transition as Officials like to check it is safe and meets Australian Standards.

Other Rules

Littering: You may not discard any equipment or rubbish on the course, except at the approved locations. This includes water bottles, gels, and equipment. All equipment must be placed in the transition area. Failure to do so may result in a time penalty or disqualification!

Assistance: If you are unfortunate enough to get a flat during your race you are not allowed to seek outside assistance from any spectators or event mechanics. You are also not allowed to have a friend or family member give you a drink on the course (other than at a specified aid station) and you are not allowed a pacer in the run leg. 

Urinating on the course: Porta-loo’s can be based around the course especially in long distance events and there are always some near transition. If you get caught urinating anywhere but a toilet including on the bike (yes people do it– how disgusting) you face a time penalty and disqualification.

Amy is the Owner and Head Coach of TriChicks and has over 10 years coaching experience.  Amy created TriChicks to help lower the barrier to get women into the sport. 

You can read more about her HERE