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Calling triathlon swimmers! I need advice about triathlon wetsuits
Old 09-02-2012, 10:38 PM   #1
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Calling triathlon swimmers! I need advice about triathlon wetsuits

I am getting back into swimming in Lake Washington. As the water begins to cool down, I have noticed more and more men and women putting on wetsuits to swim.

I've worn a wetsuit to dive in very cold water in the Straits of Juan De Fuca, but I have have no experience or knowledge about the triathlon style suit that allows freestyle arm movements.

The water will be getting colder soon (this in Washington after all). I was OK the year round in LA (on calm days), wearing nothing but a speedo and a hat. That got cold, but not too cold.

So I perhaps I can at least continue into late fall, conditions permitting.
I'm swimming in Lake Washington, not the Sound. I figure I will need a suit with full arms, and likely as thick as is practical for swimming, because I would like to go as late into the year as I can. I don't plan to do triathlons, just swim.

Any ideas will be much appreciated!

Ha
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:50 AM   #2
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I learned to swim as an adult so I could do sprint triathlons. I knew nothing about swimming, but found that the instructor (at a university) was quite helpful and free with advice about tris, not just swimming, because most adults learning to swim these days seem to be doing it for triathlons. So even if you don't need to take a class, maybe you could find an adult swim instructor to ask for advice about wetsuits. I know nothing about wetsuits, I'm strictly pool or warm ocean. You could also try REI.
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:05 AM   #3
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I'm a seasoned pro at triathlons (as in, grand total of...2 sprints under my belt), so don't have the expertise to give advice. However, I would second the recommendation of visiting an REI store. I found their staff very knowledgeable.
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:21 PM   #4
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I've only done one - a sprint triathlon. Mine was mid August and IIRC wetsuits were banned. You'll find some good advice at beginnertriathlete.com - a forum for triathletes.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haha
...wearing nothing but a speedo and a hat...

Ha
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:06 PM   #6
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Ha,

Here is the skinny....

If you are going to do it for SPEED because you are racing, the full suit will be faster.

If you are using it for recreation, then it's all about comfort and matching the suit to the conditions. If you aren't going to swim in water that is too cold for a long john, then that might work for you. For some people, (myself included), having the sleeves is difficult to manage and they don't like the restriction. You have to try them on...you may look funny standing in the store waving your arms for 10 minutes, but you have to feel like you can sustain it for your typical workout length.

IN EITHER CASE, the suit has to be made well, be of a high quality, with a good pattern, and it had to be the correct fit. You can wear a longjohn (sleeveless suit) and if it doesn't fit you properly you can sort of fake it. Not so with a fullsuit. Absolutely the best suit out there is QR (Quintana Roo).

Tri-Sports is having a 40% off sale: Quintana Roo Triathlon Wetsuits on QR suits...I'd jump all over that if you really want one, you won't likely find better prices....(I have no affiliation with QR).

Hope this helps.....
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by REattempt View Post
Ha,

Here is the skinny....

If you are going to do it for SPEED because you are racing, the full suit will be faster.

If you are using it for recreation, then it's all about comfort and matching the suit to the conditions. If you aren't going to swim in water that is too cold for a long john, then that might work for you. For some people, (myself included), having the sleeves is difficult to manage and they don't like the restriction. You have to try them on...you may look funny standing in the store waving your arms for 10 minutes, but you have to feel like you can sustain it for your typical workout length.

IN EITHER CASE, the suit has to be made well, be of a high quality, with a good pattern, and it had to be the correct fit. You can wear a longjohn (sleeveless suit) and if it doesn't fit you properly you can sort of fake it. Not so with a fullsuit. Absolutely the best suit out there is QR (Quintana Roo).

Tri-Sports is having a 40% off sale: Quintana Roo Triathlon Wetsuits on QR suits...I'd jump all over that if you really want one, you won't likely find better prices....(I have no affiliation with QR).

Hope this helps.....
Thanks. It might be best for me to just get a Farmer John, and quit swimming whenever it gets too cold, then start up again next year. No fun struggling with binding and chafing.

Ha
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:33 AM   #8
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Triathlete magazine publishes a review of wetsuits once a year. You might be able to find a copy on line or in your local library. I don't recall which month.

I let my subscription lapse and I haven't been in the market for a new wetsuit so I haven't looked at it for a number of years.

I've have a low/medium level Quintana Roo and use it about once or twice a year for triathlons and swim/run races but I never swim in my wetsuit except for races. I've found that my wetsuit is fine for what I do. But YMMV since you will probably be using it more often than I do.

The best advice is to go to a tri-shop and talk to them and try them on. You might be able to rent one for a test swim.

My experience is that they do restrict arm movement a bit but I don't find it to be much of a problem. A Farmer John would of course eliminate that issue.

The biggest complaint that I have is that I have trouble getting it off quickly which increases my transition times. I always get stuck getting it over my calf. If you're not planning on racing that isn't a problem.

I have experienced some neck abrasion a couple of times. But nothing severe. I think that you can get rid of that with a little Body Glide.

Reattempt, my recollection is that QR was one of the first if not the first company to make a tri-specific wet suit but there are at least a half dozen others (e.g Orca, Ironman) making them now and I don't get the impression that QR is that much better than the others.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:56 AM   #9
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Have you talked to the folks you see who have suits?
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:55 PM   #10
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Not the most experienced tri swimmer, 'though I have survived an ironman.
IMHO- "Best" wetsuit, esp full suit, is one that fits you best. Need freedom of movement in shoulders, proper torso length, etc.
+1 on checking out rentals before you invest in one.

Xterra is decent entry-level suit to consider as well.
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