Wetsuits. If you do triathlon you need one. My wetsuit self destructed a few weeks after my last tri when I was doing some open water swimming. Zipper broke, a few seams split. It seems it was one swim too many for the old suit. It served me well, helping me exit 1st out of the water a few times, and in the lead of the lead pack a few more times. I was convinced that for me, it was the fastest of the wetsuits I tried on several years ago. I’d get another one just like but that model has been “upgraded” ie, redesigned, new an improved, etc. sigh.
So what happens when I need a new wetsuit? I head down to my sponsor Trisports.com and arrange to get a suit in every brand they carry in my size. From them I get a Blue 70, Zoot, QR, Synergy (which after seeing this video I’m a little curious about the new player in the wetsuit market) and a 2XU . After posting on slowtwitch.com my desires to test wetsuits, the good folks at Desoto sports, NineteenWetsuits, and Xterra wetsuits contacted me about getting into the trial. I also contacted Aquaman since I’ve always have been intrigued by their suits. They had to ship it in from France since they had none in the US in my size. A Big Thank you to them for this.
I established some protocals to follow for the testing to keep it above board. First I’m blinded to the suits I’m swimming in for round 1 until the day I test them. I’m smart enough to figure out the last two suits but have only a 50/50 chance at guessing which will be swam first. There will be two rounds of testing. Each round is going to consist of 2×400 scy on the 6 min. Two suits will get tested per day. The suits have been randomily selected an neither I nor the selector knows which suits are going when. After I finish round 1, round 2 will be reverse order of round 1. Each suit ultimately gets 4×400 of swimming. This should help eliminate fitness gains and give each suit a fresh swim. The first and last swims I’ll be swimming without a wetsuit to establish a front and back end barometer on how fast everything was/is. Warm ups each day will be kept the same and I’ll be swimming 200yds after switching suits to make sure it’s on properly.
This should give me a good idea as to what is the fastest wetsuit for me (not for you since we all swim differently) as well as how much faster I swim per 400 with a wetsuit vs without. I wish I could say I’m in great swim shape, but alas, since Soma Half ironman in late October, I’ve been averaging 1 swim per week for an average of 2200 yds. This is well below my season average of 1.5 swims per week and 7500-9000 yds that I would normally do.
Yesterday was the first day of testing and I swam without a wetsuit. I split out 5:07 and 5:10 for my 400s. The :03 drop off (and the times) really tells me that I’ve not been swimming too much lately. Amazingly it correlates to the training log which says the exact thing. Brilliant! and I’ll be having a few Guiness tonight to celebrate that stunning discovery.
I’m a pretty consistent repeat to repeat swimmer, able to swim +/- :01 for repeats all day long. Since Thanksgiving I’ve swam a couple of times. Once the main set was 3×600 on the 8 minutes every 100 was split out at 1:20/100 pace and 4×200 on 2:55. The first 3 were at 2:37 the last was 2:36.
It’s freezing cold in Tucson today, but in a wetsuit the fear I have of actually getting into water shouldn’t be a concern. Yesterday it was all of 50F and windy. Try standing on the pool deck wearing goggles and a swimsuit. Brrr. Not so fun. I don’t know why I hate getting into the pool so much. But alas I need to get over it quickly since I’ve got a bunch of wetsuits to test.