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Moving into open water swimming, wet suit question

 
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The Black Sheep




Joined: 24 Jan 2017
Posts: 11
Location: Leicester

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:32 pm    Post subject: Moving into open water swimming, wet suit question Reply with quote

Hi All,
Looking for some advice regarding getting a first wet suit for open water events. Having done a couple of pool based sprint triís this year which I really enjoyed I fancy having a bash at some open water events next year.
Looking into wet suit design it looks like there are kind of three categories. Beginners which have more buoyancy to aid poor technique, intermediate which has a trade-off between buoyancy and flexibility and then more advanced which focusses on greater flexibility. All of which makes sense.
Trouble is im not sure what type of swimmer I will be in open water as I havnt done any. I'm happy in open water as I go diving and freediving/spearfishing so open water itself isnít a problem. I would consider myself a pretty good pool swimmer. I do 1 or 2 km pretty much every lunch time and was in the last wave of starters in both my events this year and was able to keep up with the others in my wave. So is there a correlation from pool to open water or am I best to go for a beginner one and get in the water and play?

Cheers
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ttowel




Joined: 30 Sep 2008
Posts: 4091
Location: Swim School

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a decent swimmer, around 5.10 400m, and 53 Ironman, I went from a top end suit to a mid range and swim faster.

Tried 2 brands, Xterra mid range was faster than top end and Zone 3 mid range faster than top end.

It depends how well you kick in a pool.

I'd say if you can kick 200m in a pool under 4 mins, you are top end suit, anything less, then mid range.
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Jorgan




Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 17597
Location: alles was ich bin, alles was ich war

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot will depend on your body positioning. If your legs sit near horizontal in the water and your heels break the water, I'd say you don't need a beginner wetsuit, or one that has buoyancy that favours the legs i.e. 3/4mm body and 5mm legs. You want a suit that has equal buoyancy throughout.

I would caution against some of the popular top-end suits, as they trade flexibility for durability in a big way. You want a suit that is both blind-stitched and taped in the high stress areas like the underarm/lat panels and cuffs. It should be at least blind stitched everywhere.
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Chrace




Joined: 28 Apr 2010
Posts: 2816
Location: Eating a Yorkie

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you'll be rather quick OW. I am generally 5-10% faster in a wetsuit.

ttowel has a load of experience in this from the front end of the pack, I am generally middle of the pack.

I used to be a sprinter in early teens (50m regional champ several years, couple of silvers from nationals) and my technique still has some of that in. Far too lax in terms of technique and favoring power. Not very good for long distance tri. But it means my feet sit very high in the water and I've gone for low bouyancy in the legs (Blueseventy Helix). The suit fits me brilliantly and as mentioned, just shy of 10% increased speed.

So I think your swim style is what should dictate your choice. That said, there wasn't a huge difference for me between my very old Orca S2 (£130 nine years ago) to the Helix (RRP north of £400).

But since you are already good swimmer it'd be a pity to actually lose speed. Go try some mid-level suits (~£150-200), get one that fits (tightly! if dry) and try it out? Sell as 2nd hand if no good but with less of a loss than a high-end suit.

Took me a few goes before I found the one I like.
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The Black Sheep




Joined: 24 Jan 2017
Posts: 11
Location: Leicester

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all, sounds like a mid range is the way forward. Im pretty horizontal in the water and to be honest dont put a lot into my kick (rightly or wrongly thinking im saving my legs for the cycle and run?) Im around 6 mins for the 400m at the mo in the pool but can hopefully get it down to nearer five with some proper sprint training.

Cheers,

Matt
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ttowel




Joined: 30 Sep 2008
Posts: 4091
Location: Swim School

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may or may not know but Stoney Cove in Sapcote is open all year to 4pm and to 9pm every 1st and 3rd Weds of the month.

£5 to swim, need a towfloat, but the temperature stays warm enough to swim until November, then gets a bit parky and need gloves and boots through to April, but many swim skins all year round, even down below 5 degrees.

Only place around locally that you can swim now.
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The Black Sheep




Joined: 24 Jan 2017
Posts: 11
Location: Leicester

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers, Stoney is close to where I live and I go diving there so plan to make it one of my training venues. There is also Stanaton Lakes very near to Stoney who offer open water swimming now as well. However thats not all year round.
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jayski




Joined: 30 Jul 2018
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jorgan wrote:
A lot will depend on your body positioning. If your legs sit near horizontal in the water and your heels break the water, I'd say you don't need a beginner wetsuit, or one that has buoyancy that favours the legs i.e. 3/4mm body and 5mm legs. You want a suit that has equal buoyancy throughout.

I would caution against some of the popular top-end suits, as they trade flexibility for durability in a big way. You want a suit that is both blind-stitched and taped in the high stress areas like the underarm/lat panels and cuffs. It should be at least blind stitched everywhere.


When you say "some" you meant "huub"...right? Which others are known to be so poorly constructed and out of such delicate material?
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mattsurf




Joined: 28 Sep 2016
Posts: 587
Location: Zug, Switzerland

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jayski wrote:
Jorgan wrote:
A lot will depend on your body positioning. If your legs sit near horizontal in the water and your heels break the water, I'd say you don't need a beginner wetsuit, or one that has buoyancy that favours the legs i.e. 3/4mm body and 5mm legs. You want a suit that has equal buoyancy throughout.

I would caution against some of the popular top-end suits, as they trade flexibility for durability in a big way. You want a suit that is both blind-stitched and taped in the high stress areas like the underarm/lat panels and cuffs. It should be at least blind stitched everywhere.


When you say "some" you meant "huub"...right? Which others are known to be so poorly constructed and out of such delicate material?


My Huub Archimedes did 3 seasons, and I bought it as an ex demo, and it is still in good condition, however I shrank out of it... yet to use my new Orca 3:8 due to excessive water temps this summer
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ttowel




Joined: 30 Sep 2008
Posts: 4091
Location: Swim School

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Black Sheep wrote:
Cheers, Stoney is close to where I live and I go diving there so plan to make it one of my training venues. There is also Stanaton Lakes very near to Stoney who offer open water swimming now as well. However thats not all year round.


Stanton gets busy as only open twice a week in the summer. Closed now though, but seriously, Stoney Cove stays warm enough to swim through to end November due to its depth.

Go up most weekends
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Jorgan




Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 17597
Location: alles was ich bin, alles was ich war

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jayski wrote:
Jorgan wrote:
A lot will depend on your body positioning. If your legs sit near horizontal in the water and your heels break the water, I'd say you don't need a beginner wetsuit, or one that has buoyancy that favours the legs i.e. 3/4mm body and 5mm legs. You want a suit that has equal buoyancy throughout.

I would caution against some of the popular top-end suits, as they trade flexibility for durability in a big way. You want a suit that is both blind-stitched and taped in the high stress areas like the underarm/lat panels and cuffs. It should be at least blind stitched everywhere.


When you say "some" you meant "huub"...right? Which others are known to be so poorly constructed and out of such delicate material?


You want me to name names? Very Happy The suit mentioned above for £400 is very brittle too; I've known people to have multiple holes in arm seams after single-digit swims.

Tbh, I'd be tempted to get my current Snugg converted to sleeveless when I finally 'replace' it. Anything above 20 deg and it would be ideal for me.
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jayski




Joined: 30 Jul 2018
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you dont need a huge amount of buoyancy but would appreciate a suit that allows you to swim to your potential.

Take a look at the orca equip https://www.orca.com/int-en/mens-equip-wetsuit/ or the Jaked Challenger https://www.proswimwear.co.uk/jaked-mens-challenger-wetsuit.html
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