Swim Wetsuit Tips For Beginners
by Michelle October
Women’s Health is competing in a team at the Discovery ITU World Triathlon in Cape Town this weekend. In preparation, Michelle October found out all you need to know about wearing a swimming wetsuit!
USE A PLASTIC BAG… to put it on. A wetsuit can be tricky to get into and a plastic bag makes the process smoother. Put the bag over your foot or arm and slide into the suit.
DON’T USE YOUR NAILS! Wetsuits, like pantyhose, can tear easily, so it’s best to not tug on them with your nails. Terry Gillespie, national agent for Xterra Wetsuits, says you should just grip the material tightly and push the fabric up your legs and arms.
NOT ALL WETSUITS ARE CREATED EQUAL. Wetsuits for triathlons are different from the kind you’d surf in, explains Gillespie. “Triathlon wetsuits are made from a flexible material that allows you to slice through the water with minimal restriction, while surf suit material is less flexible and will fatigue an athlete a lot faster.”
SIZE DOES MATTER! Your wetsuit needs to fit just right. “If it’s too big it takes on water and this causes drag,” says Gillespie. “If it’s too tight, it inhibits movement and can make you really exhausted early on in your swim.” Your wetsuit should be snug, but you should be able to move around freely while still feeling the compression in the fabric.
USE LUBRICANT: “Always use organic lubricants,” says Gillespie. Avoid Vaseline and baby oil – they are absorbed in the fabric and will ruin your suit.
TEST IT! Try and get a test swim before your big event. A wetsuit is a different swimming experience entirely and going in without practice will kill your game!
HOW TO TAKE IT OFF? “Taking of a wetsuit is easier than putting it on as the suit expands in the water,” says Gillespie. Make sure you slide yourself out and keep the wetsuit inside out so that it dries well.
Good luck to those racing on the weekend!