Wetsuit performance benefits.

Wetsuit performance benefits.

Post by Michael Norm » Sat, 14 Sep 1991 02:05:14

|> Does anyone out there have times for comparable swims with and without
|> a wetsuit ?
|> Does the added bouyancy make an appreciable difference ?
|> I am particularly interested in 1.5k distance. I would assume bouyancy
|> would be a greater benefit over longer distances.
|> Thanks for any input.
|> --
|> +--------------------------------------------------------------------------+

|> | Bell-Northern Research, Ltd.       PHONE : (613)763-2746                 |
|> | Ottawa, Ontario, Canada                                                  |
|> +--------------------------------------------------------------------------+

I can relate a few anecdotes, but the times aren't totally comparable
because the distances are different.  My first swim of the year was the
OAC Meech Lake Triathlon, with no wetsuit.  The water was COLD!!!
This was a 1200m 'out-and-back' course, which I completed in 24 minutes.
My next triathlon was the National Capital Triathlon, which had a 1500m
swim section in a triangular course.  My time for it, with a wetsuit, was
33 minutes.  By rights, my second swim should have been ~30 minutes
(based on 1200/24 = 50m per minute, the extra 300m should = 6 minutes).
However, one big difference was the start.  Meech Lake Tri was a
wave start; when you applied, you gave a predicted swim time; you
then got put in a wave of about 20-25 people all about the same speed.
The National Capital Tri was a mass-start in the water.  I spent alot
of time being bumped around; I'm sure it affected my time.  I also heard
rumour that the course markers were WAY off - some one said the top male
finisher muttered something like "f****ing course must be 1700m, maybe

Another thing, if you do have to do a mass-start in the water (as opposed
to a beach mass start, which is really nuts!), a wetsuit lets you float
near the start buoys; you don't have to tread-water for 2 or 3 minutes
until the gun goes off.

When you look for a wetsuit, you want "farmer" style (no arms), smooth
finish, (the water skiing suits have a textured finish that slows you down
in the water), a high neck-collar and rear-entry.  A really good suit will
have extra bonuses like extra space through the quads (most triathletes
are a bit large through there) and shorter leggings with NO zipper at the
cuff.  These suits are also quite $$$!  What I do, since I don't do too
many tri's (yet) is rent a suit.  There is a place on Bank Street here
in Ottawa called All-Sport Rentals; they have suits that are pretty good -
about $16 for the day.  This compares to ~$275 for a tri-suit brand new.

Q: anyone know of a good mail-order place for wetsuits cheap?
Mike Norman,c/o Bell-Northern Research

tel: (613) 763-7717 (FAX:613-763-7742) "Hasta la vista, baby!"