First it’s important to note that a triathlon wetsuit is not the same as a surf or a dive wetsuit. Surf wetsuits are made from a different neoprene material and they are meant to keep a surfer warm while ON TOP of the water (paddling on their board, sitting on their board or riding a wave). Dive wetsuits are also made from a different kind of neoprene that is usually thicker and not very flexible. Divers don’t need flexibility because they’re not using their arms while diving (they usually hold them in a cradle position around their belly or back or loosely at their side). A triathlon wetsuit is made for buoyancy, flexibility and speed IN the water. It needs flexibility in the chest and shoulder area to allow for expanded breathing and arm rotation. It should also be noted that a triathlon wetsuit is synonymous with a swimming wetsuit. If you are an open water swimmer, you will need a triathlon wetsuit. So how and why will a triathlon wetsuit will help you? Below are some benefits a triathlon wetsuit has over a diving wetsuit, surfing wetsuit, or no wetsuit at all.
- A wetsuit is made from neoprene material that is naturally buoyant. Buoyancy helps lift your body out of the water so you expend less energy. Regardless of your swimming skill, everyone appreciates a little extra help in the water, helping you reserve your strength and energy for the next two legs ahead.
- Triathlon wetsuits are designed with increased flexibility. The flexibility of a wetsuit is directly related to the ease of movement you will have with your stroke.
- Everyone wants a faster swim time. Triathlon wetsuits make your body more hydrodynamic in the water, allowing you to glide through the water, reducing drag and therefore increasing speed. Consider our Olympic swimmers and the change in their swim gear over the years. There is a science to it and swimming without a wetsuit means you lose that edge.
- A key reason most swimmers buy a wetsuit is to stay warm in colder water temperatures. The neoprene used to make wetsuits is designed to hold a small amount of water between your body and the suit. Water will fill the space and your body temperature will warm that water, thereby creating a sort of blanket around you. The key to a correct fit is making sure there isn’t too much space between you and the wetsuit so your body can’t effectively warm that water.
- Not all neoprene is created equal. Higher quality rubbers will allow for more flexibility, more buoyancy and a better fit. The same needs to be said about the liners of these wetsuits. The quality of the liner used also allows for ease of putting on your wetsuit and removing it in transition. In addition, it also effects the flexibility of the wetsuit.
- A triathlon wetsuit is designed to assist in better swimming form and technique for beginners and novice alike.