Rules of Triathlon

Please see here for Triathlon Ireland's 2020 ITU Derogation List.pdf (size 391.1 KB) from the International Triathlon Union rules

Triathlon Ireland is affiliated to the International Triathlon Union (ITU) and therefore sanctioned events take place under the rules of the ITU.

For access to all International Triathlon Union Rules Click here.

Hell of the West Swim Start 2015

Some of the most basic rules to be aware of when taking part in a triathlon are set out below. Athletes should be aware of the full listing of rules which is available in the ITU Competition Rules Document below.


a.) Athletes may use any stroke to propel themselves through the water. They may also tread water or float. Athletes are allowed to push off the ground at the beginning and the end of every swim lap;

b.) Athletes must follow the prescribed swim course;

c.) Athletes may stand on the bottom or rest by holding an inanimate object, such as a buoy or stationary boat;

d.) In an emergency, an athlete should raise an arm overhead and call for assistance. Once official assistance is rendered, the athlete must retire from the competition


Wetsuits are mandatory in Irish waters and can can be 'shortie' or full length suits.


a.) An athlete is not permitted to: (i) Block other athletes; (ii) Cycle with a bare torso; (iii) Make forward progress without being in possession of the bike.

b.) Dangerous Behaviour: (i) Athletes must obey the specific traffic regulations for the event, unless a Technical Official advises otherwise; (ii) Athletes leaving the field of play for safety reasons have to return to it without gaining any advantage. If advantage is gained due to this action, the athlete will receive a time penalty to be served in Transition Area for Age Groupers and at the run penalty box for everyone else.


Helmet Safety

The helmet must be securely fastened at all times when the athlete is in possession of the bike, which means from the time they remove their bike from the rack at the start of the bike leg, until after they have placed their bike on the rack at the finish of the bike leg;

Drafting: In age group non drafting events it is forbidden to cycle close behind another competitor in order to gain a benefit from the reduced wind resistance or drag.

Age Group bicycle draft zone: the bicycle draft zone will be 10 meters long measured from the leading edge of the front wheel. An athlete may enter the draft zone of another athlete, but must be seen to be progressing through that zone. A maximum of 20 seconds will be allowed to pass through the zone of another athlete.

Mount & Dismount Line: Cycling is not permitted inside the Transition Area, except during the cycling segment. Athletes must mount their bicycles after the mount line by having one complete foot contact with the ground after the mount line. Athletes must dismount their bicycles before the dismount line by having one complete foot contact with the ground before the dismount line. While in the transition area (before the mount line and after the dismount line) the bike can be pushed only by the athlete’s hands. If during the mount or dismount manoeuvre, the athlete loose their shoe(s) or other eequipment, they will be collected by the TOs and no penalty will be applied. Mount and dismount lines are part of the transition area.


Nudity or indecent exposure is forbidden


Marking positions in the Transition Area is forbidden. Marks and objects used for marking purposes will be removed and the athletes will not be notified

Illegal Equipment

a.) Headphone(s) and headset(s), mobile phones or any other electronic listening communication device

b.) Glass containers

For access to all International Triathlon Union Rules Click here.

Please see here for Triathlon Ireland's derogation from the International Triathlon Union rules.