TRIATHLON BUYERS GUIDE - WETSUITS
Core Aspects to Look For in a Triathlon Wetsuit
A vital element for both safety and performance of an athlete is the buoyancy that a triathlon specific wetsuit gives you. This extra buoyancy that is provided will bring you to the surface and therefore lower the drag that you produce in the water. This aspect will put you in a better position for a more effective swim and will also help when in a crowded first section to the swim.
According to the British Triathlon Federation, wetsuits are mandatory in open water events when the water falls under 14°C. This is because wetsuits give the individual effective warming in the open water as the neoprene material construction allows a thin layer of water into the suit which is then warmed by the body. This factor helps maintain a body heat level appropriate for effective and safe swimming.
Speed is important in triathlon, and a tri-specific wetsuit can help an individual carry more speed even if the swim is their weakest of the three disciplines. The reduction of drag due to the material being a slicker surface than your skin combined with the buoyancy aid that the wetsuit will give you creates a faster overall swim therefore reducing time spent in the water. Furthermore, the race position that a tri-specific wetsuit puts your body in will go a long way in producing a faster swim and aids a fast transition when removing it between swim and cycle.
All the benefits a tri-specific wetsuit cumulates in one important triathlon factor, energy conservation. The combination of buoyancy, correct racing position, warmth and reduced drag should, in theory, reduce the athlete’s energy consumption. This means the individual can swim at their normal pace with less energy consumption, or swim at a faster pace and use the same energy consumption as they would swimming at normal pace. The result is more conserved energy for the cycling and running stages of the race.
Fit is Vital
When choosing a wetsuit it is important that the fit is correct to your body size. Make sure the wetsuit is comfortable between your crotch and shoulders, fit will around the neck and not restrict your movement – this is to ensure your wetsuit performs effectively. Attention should be paid to the brand sizing and fitting guidelines, this is to match the right size with the individual’s body shape and what they want from the wetsuit. As a general rule, if you are between sizes, going for the larger size would be better for comfort and the smaller size would be better for all out race performance.
Triathlon Specific Wetsuits Come in Three Main Cuts:
Recommended By Cycle Surgery
ORCA EQUIP FULL SLEEVE WETSUIT
ORCA WOMEN'S OPEN WATER FULL SLEEVE WETSUIT
BLUESEVENTY HELIX FULLSUIT WETSUIT