Choosing gear for your next race can be mind boggling. There are so many choices in materials, patterns, cuts and lengths. And let’s face it; you want to look your best too! The right swimsuit can be a major performance booster, both physically and psychologically. We’ve untangled the intricacies behind choosing the right swimsuit for you so you can be prepared for the upcoming season!
Remember those old movies and the gargantuan swimsuits depicted as beachwear? They are what real people wore, while actually swimming. Back in the day, swimsuits were meant more to preserve modesty than performance. To put it into perspective, men were finally allowed to compete in briefs in the 1948 Olympics and “skinsuits” used by the Germans in the 1972 Olympics caused an outrage as they were tight fitting and became virtually transparent when wet. Public acceptance and swimsuit technology has come a long way since then.
What happened at the 2008 Olympics?
“FINA wishes to recall the main and core principle that swimming is a sport essentially based on the physical performance of the athlete.” — From the Official Decision of FINA Regulators.1
The suit that caused the officials from FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation) to ban all non-textile swimsuits was the Speedo “LZR Racer” suit that burst into the scene during the 2008 Olympics. The controversial (and expensive!) suit helped reduce fatigue by reducing muscle vibration along with improving buoyancy and reducing drag. Ninety-four percent of the swimming races that year were won by athletes donning the LZR. They also set 23 new world records. Adidas Hydrofoil, the Arena X-Glide and the Jaked 01 were also developed along the same lines as the LZR, thereby adding to the controversy.2
The technological benefits along with the high price tag of the suits made the FINA officials consider the suits an unfair advantage for wealthy competitors resulting in a ban for all non-fabric swimsuits. They further extended the ban whereby whole bodysuits were banned. Men’s suits cannot extend above the navel or go below the knees while women’s suits cannot cover the neck nor extend past their shoulders or knees. Zippers and other fasteners are also banned.
Tech suits used in competitions have to now adhere to these rules. While they might not have all the advantages of the LZR, they do offer considerable benefits.
What to look out for in a Tech Suit: 3
- Wielded Seam System: This system allows for streamlined suits where the seams are virtually nonexistent as they are wielded and compressed together reducing drag.
- Hip Lift System: This allows better positioning of the body in water.
- Nonslip leg gel grippers: They encircle the inside of the leg opening and hold the suit in place preventing wrinkles and hence decreased drag
- Compression:4 Many jammers fit tightly and compress your body in order to achieve better performance and blood circulation.
Not all suits offer all these advantages though so it is best to pick the suit that shows most of these qualities and fits you and your budget.
Choosing the Right Tech Suit
There are several things to remember while choosing a tech suit. The best suit for you is not necessarily the one that looks best on you nor is it the most expensive one.
- Do your Research:
Read up on the different suits available in the market. Different suits may work better for different competitions. For example, a particular suit might be better suited for sprinting as opposed to an endurance race. Delve into the technicalities of a suit if you fancy. A good idea is to read reviews by other athletes. They will help give you an insight into how the suit works in real conditions and for different individuals as well.
Stick to a budget range, unless you are multi-millionaire of course. There will always be a better sounding, higher tech suit out there. The price of the suit may not necessarily correlate to how well it fits you and benefits your performance. The best tech suit or jammer for you might not be from one of the more popular brands but from one of the lesser known ones. They can often be cheaper as they are trying to find a foothold in the market. Which bring us back to doing your research!
Now that you have done your research and decided on a budget, it is time to try out the suit you have chosen. Comfort is key. Your performance will be affected adversely if you are uncomfortable, if the suit is too tight around your legs or too loose around the shoulders. Different brands fit different body types better. This may even be the case between suits of the same brand.
- Try the Suit Out
If you’re ordering a suit online, do not order it at the last minute before a competition. Most companies will allow you to return a suit if it has not been used in water, some may even allow for returns if it has been tested once. Ordering it early will allow you to return or exchange it well in time for the competition you have been training for.
Once you have decided on a suit, it is a good idea to test it out while training. This will allow you to get used to the fit of the suit and check to see if there are any issues in the water. You don’t want a suit that balloons up the second you enter the water!
If you look and feel great, we know you’ll do well too! So whether you are looking for a jammer or technical swimsuit for the upcoming FINA World Championship or one for your regular training, JustWetsuits has the right one for you. Please call us at 1-877-784-7808 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find your perfect fit.