Perhaps the most wonderful thing about swimming is that essentially you need only a swimsuit and and place to swim. But as soon as you enter the realm of open water swimming, such as oceans and lakes, then the needs change.

I've listed some of the equipment to consider should you decide to venture beyond the swimming pool.

Swimsuits:   Wetsuits:
Swimsuits come in all sorts of variations. You will not want to use anything baggy for racing, but they are fine for training. If you want something more aerodynamic but don't want to wear speedos, there are now many lycra shorts which are commonly know as jammers. If you are doing an open water swim that does not require a wetsuit, then get yourself a tri-suit or tri-shorts and a tri-top.   These come in two varieties: fullsuits and longjohns. Longjohns are sleeveless while fullsuits have sleeves. Longjohns are easier for most to swim in because your arms have greater mobility. But once the water starts dropping below 60 degrees F, you will want a full suit. Do not buy a wetsuit mail order. Find a reputable store with a knowledgeable staff and try many on. Also, triathlon wetsuits are significant different than surfing ones.
Swim goggles:   Swim caps:
These come in handy in the ocean because they help you see things clearly. For outdoor use, definitely get a pair of tinted lenses to reduce the glare from the water. Choose goggles that fit comfortably and do not pinch your nose or head. If you need prescription googles, visit Agua Googles for great, low-cost googles.   For all triathlons you will receive a colored swim class for your age-group or class. If you train in cold water, swim caps are great for keeping your head warm and keeping it clean. They are particularly useful in chlorinated pools.