What kind of wetsuit would you recommend for triathlons in the late fall and early spring (southeast locations)? I am seeing alot of variety out there and want one that will not be too restrictive. I don't plan to do any triathlons in really cold weather, but cool enough that wetsuits will be allowed. I never wore a wetsuit before, so any advice will be greatly appreciated.
A wetsuit will always make you faster, but only if it fits. So, it is probably best to try on 1 or 2 wetsuits before buying, if this is possible. A sleeveless (John) is usually more comfortable and easier to fit especially for a new triathlete. Some wetsuits fit people better than others - e.g. more room in the legs, or hips or chest. Most local tri shops will let you try on a number of suits and sometimes will let you borrow one. Remember that most suits feel snug when you put them on dry, but loosen up in the water.
(P.S. I'm biased towards XTERRA Wetsuits. We have a great exchange program if your suit doesn't fit. If you'd like a discount code please write me (email@example.com). DeSoto's exchange program I hear is also awesome).
Jinga, be careful, a wetsuit will absolutely not "always" make you faster. More times than none it will. I come from a swimming background of more than 20 years experience and have streamlined my stroke to near perfection over the years(at least I think so, judging by my feel in the water, and observations from spectators who are veterans to the sport, as well my coaches over the years). I recently broke down and bought an orca evo full for Steelhead 70.3 earlier this month because water temps were supposed to be in the 60's. I also figured I would use it for races late in the season, due to some cramping issues in my forearms when swimming in cooler water. I went out to the lake to give it a try, although it was a perfect fit, it slowed me tremendously, there is always a little restriction in the arms, wether you think you can feel it or not, its always there, trust me. Back to my point, if you have a stream line stroke and you swim with little drag in the water(head down, legs and feet close to the surface, a wetsuit will NOT help you in the least, they are supposed to offer bouyancy, which a good stroke and balance in the water already does for you, so to add that little bit of restriction in your stroke will fatigue you much faster. I urge people to work on there stroke(streamline with form work/drills), then ditch the wetsuit, they will see much faster splits, I gaurantee it! If wetsuits were allowed in the olympic swimming, do you think they would be worn? Answer....no, because the water temp isn't right. Same goes for triathlon, if the water temp is above 77 then usually wetsuit are not allowed, as they are mainly to keep you warm, not make you faster. Want to get faster, practice, don't rely on a piece of rubber to get you across the finish line faster. Hope this helps.
I'm particular with my equipment and agree with some of these posts. I have a full sleeve and a sleeveless wetsuit and have also purchased a PZ3 swim skin, all by Blue Seventy (used to be Ironman Wetsuits). If it fits correctly (not too big or too small) the boyancy alone should help you out. You DO need to practice in it though. Some people alter the stroke recovery so their elbows are lower and shoulder works less. This makes sense but is an alteration. I just swim and enjoy the bouyancy. I'm not a fish but I have not met a single person, fast or not that would opt for no wetsuit againt a mainly wetsuit competition. Look at the pros.
If it is cool enough to wear one, it fits, is a tri specific wetsuit and you have practiced in it, WEAR ONE. Look into the new Blue Seventy line, they have everything you could ever want and are great to deal with!
Have fun in the sport,
Multisport Coaching Done Right!
I do agree with some of the info trijimi posted, if I were you maybe a sleeveless would be a good start. I am partial to not wearing a wetsuit though, so I would wait for at least a few more posts. I believe most will opt for a wetsuit, at least from what I have seen at the races. Is there anyone else out there partial to no wetsuit, if so why, just curious.
I recently purchased a new wetsuit for the same race as fishboy. (70.3 Steel head) I used mine while he did not, I am not that great of a swimmer but I do ok. I purchased the full wetsuit from 2XU. the C2 if I remember correctly. The fit is nice. I do wish I had practiced more in the open water with it. It takes a little geting used to at first, but I did notice the increased boyancy and was able to slip through the water much faster. But again I am not that great of a swimmer. If the temps are going to be cooler maybe go for the john style to keep your core temp up. i didnt notice much binding or chafing in the shoulders of mine, but body types vary as much as suits do.
buying a suit now may save you some money as you might be able to get a close out deal since many places are starting to get the new 2008's in stock. Good luck!
Sorry all for the interruption in this fine discussion. I just wanted to say that itubound has deeply hurt my feelings with comments such as "fishboy". That is just not nice man. "Fishboys" name is Anthony, in the future please address me as such or I will have no choice but to report your posts as abuse:(
Thank you all for the good advice. I just got back from the tri shop where I was properly fitted for a wetsuit. I found two that fit me very well, one sleevless and the other a full ( both Blue Seventy). Now I can not decide which of the two to get. I am leaning toward the sleeveless because it was less restrictive and easier on and off. The guy at the shop was recommending the full and that it would be faster and warmer. I am a pretty good swimmer from years of swim team as a teenager, but that was many many many years ago. I am still quite comfortable in the water though. Sleeveless or full, what do you think?
I would definitely go with the sleeveless, unless the water temp is going to be low 60's or colder, even then, I think I would have to break down and buy one. But from my experience in a full, I would say if you did go with the full, make sure you have alot of practice, and start training in the pool with gloves to build a bit more strength and get you ready for the extra bit of muscle you will need to churn through the water in a full. I don't see how sleeves would make you faster???
All comments have very good points. Your experience may be similar or quite different. Another great part of the wetsuit is the "body armour" protecting your body from all the "active" and aggressive swimmers. Who needs finger nail scratches all over their body?? Not me..I have found training without a wetsuit for most of the season helped me with my stroke, then trained with the wetsuit a couple of weeks prior to "game day". Good Luck
This is one of the responses I have seen. I am new to Tri's and have stuggled with this issue.
I feel more comfotable out of the suit, but I am sure when I do my first cold water Tri, I will enjoy its benifits.
Thanks for the insight
I don't like wetsuits and I feel they hamper my stroke. They are expensive rubber prisons but necessary for cold water. I bought a DeSoto two piece without a zipper and it is just not humanly possible to take off the top, specially after swimming a mile. I'm not a musclebound stud, so I have to struggle with the thing. Has anyone had this problem with the DeSoto top and has anyone tried to get it exchanged for one with a zipper ? I noticed they stopped making the zipperless top. I have a bunch of other DeSoto clothing I like, are they cool to deal with ? I want a suit I can rip off like the Hulk !
Ps- I'm still wearing my top-I could never take it off after the last Tri !