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rtodd
August 22nd, 2006, 08:16 PM
Just did a team triathlon 1K swim and was slower than my pool time. I think it screwed up my kick rythym and I had trouble with breathing. Maybe it was a bit too tight, but overall, I think I would have been better without.

I noticed the fastest swimmers had no wetsuits.

If you are only swimming and don't have to save the legs, do all agree that you should leave the wetsuit at home if the water temp is good?

I did alot of training in the pool for this event and I am really bummed that I wore it.

aquageek
August 23rd, 2006, 05:24 AM
What was the water temp?

Waterlily
August 23rd, 2006, 07:08 AM
I am sorry if I jumped into conversations I was not sure how to post on this so somone help me out.
I am in Portland, Oregon and swam through the 60-71 in Des Plaines, Illinois. One of our coaches and he is also a relative is Pete Anderson I know he is on Masters Swim and did events even up to this year so someone has to know him or can help me find him. I hope ! He is about 63 this year and I know he is always listed for breaststoke which is his best, and still in Illinois...I would like to find him and visit when in the Chicago Suburbs in Oct. 2006 for a reunion. I would really be grateful if anyone could help me contact him.
Elizabeth Di Francesca firefly@ados.net in Oregon 503-397-3938
It has been about 20 years since I last saw him maybe even more.

letsrace
August 23rd, 2006, 08:09 AM
Alex Kostich once wrote an article describing the virtues of wearing a wetsuit. He pointed out that the wetsuit made you more bouyant. In my experience, I have found this to be true. I have also found that it makes ME swim faster.

A couple of caveats though. First, my wetsuit does not have arms. Second, I don't swim the same way with a wetsuit as I do without.

Without a wetsuit, I kick with a strong six beat kick. With a wetsuit, I don't kick very much and I think of my body as a surf board. The arms are used to pull the surf board along.

Edward The Head
August 23rd, 2006, 08:45 AM
I can't stand wearing a wetsuit either. I have one, but haven't used it in two years, then again I haven't swam open water in two years either! For me I don't see it making me any more bouyant at all since I float pretty well. I have a very slow to non-existant kick and have never had a problem keeping my legs near the top of the water. I'm sure most people are faster, but I'm willing to bet that I'm not, or not enough to justify wearing it.

DianaC
August 23rd, 2006, 10:58 AM
I really don't like wearing my wetsuit. I wore it for a one-mile lake swim this year, and it really hurt my back. I have L4/L5 issues anyway, and I think the wetsuit makes me too buoyant, so it puts my back out of alignment. Plus, it is very tight in the chest. I feel like I can't breathe half the time. After that experience, I decided no more wetsuit unless it is absolutely necessary for cold water. With that in mind, I did the 4.4 mile Chesapeake Bay Swim without my wetsuit this year. I was really glad I did too, because I noticed something else. The currents were really strong, and without the wetsuit, I was able to "feel" the changing currents against my legs and react to them in a more timely manner. Plus, I feel like I KICK better without it. I don't have to work so hard to get the propulsion, if that makes any sense. I think I am maybe a little slower without the wetsuit, but to me it is worth the trade-off to be able to breathe and kick and not have a sore back. I finished the swim, and I am not sure I would have if I had worn the wetsuit.

The big test will come this September. I am going to do the Alcatraz swim and am seriously considering not wearing the wetsuit. It is only 1.5 miles, and the water will be cold, so I am taking it with me, but will decide when I get there. Still not sure what I will do on that one. I would love to do it without a wetsuit, but I probably won't decide that until I get to SF and see how the water is. Anyone out there have any recommendations for/against a wetsuit for Alcatraz? It will be my first time.

FindingMyInnerFish
August 23rd, 2006, 11:33 AM
First, good luck in Alcatraz, DianaC. And if I had any experience/advice on that swim, I'd share it!

But I just want to say I'm grateful for this thread. I'm new to open water swimming... will be doing a mile swim in Sept. for which I doubt I'll need a wetsuit since I expect the water will be fairly warm still. But I'm thinking longterm too... of a longer swim next year... and wondering if it might be a good idea to invest in a wetsuit. I don't much like the idea of something constricting my movement and that seems to be the big drawback I've heard about.

But also maybe it will widen my swimming/racing options, since I will be able to choose some colder water races... altho some races don't allow wetsuits even in colder temps.

In one of my swims, the website recommended wetsuits b/c the ocean temp was in the mid sixties. My coach said he didn't think wetsuits were needed and that he never used one. I was just as glad b/c I didn't feel ready to spend the money, and as it turned out, I was fine w/out one. I noticed pockets of colder water, but mostly the temp was comfortable...on the cool side but still okay.

So I'll be watching this thread w/ interest.

aquageek
August 23rd, 2006, 11:52 AM
I have always heard that wetsuits provide little benefit to good swimmers but help beginner to intermediate swimmers.

I think anything over about 68 degrees and a wetsuit isn't needed.

I swam in an open water 1.2 mile race in mid May this year and the water was about 66 degrees. Most of the serious swimmers didn't wear wetsuits. Of course, all the tris wore them. The best female swimmer there did not wear a suit and the cold water definitely affected her swimming. She said she was cold the whole time. Personally, if I had a westsuit, looking back now, I would have worn one. With the water chilly, I didn't feel compelled to warm up adequately and therefore I was sore as crap the next day.

Another good swimmer that day wore one the first time and freaked out about the constriction about halfway through and had to come back to shore. I guess the morale of that story is to swim with a suit a few times before the race.

fatboy
August 23rd, 2006, 11:58 AM
Hi Diana,

Are you doing the Alcatraz Sharkfest on 9/16? I will be there. I did it last year and about 80% of the people wore wetsuits. I wore a sleeveless shorty wetsuit because I didn't have a chance to get in the water the day before the swim. They announced that the water temperature was 60 or 62 (can't remember which). I felt that I could have gone without the wetsuit. My time was about 45 minutes.

Last year's swim was in July. I don't know if the water temperature will be about the same, colder, or warmer. I would suggest that you bring it with you. Try to get in the water the day before the swim or early the day of the swim. You should be able to tell if you want to wear it or not. There were several people swimming off the beach at Aquatic Park every day. It is protected area and has a buoy line parallel to the beach.

Pay attention to the race instructions the day of the event. Last year they told us to stay to the left coming in to the finish area. I did and got pushed to the right by the current. This took me right through the opening to the beach. I a couple of dozen people hanging on to the pier on the right trying to fight the current to get in to the finish area.

Good luck on the swim. Have fun.

Damage Inc
August 23rd, 2006, 12:01 PM
A wet suit definatly makes me faster. Proof of this came last year when I swam Alcatraz for the first time without a WS. I swam very strong and had great training leading up to the race. Despite feeling strong, I was almost 4 min slower than the previous year (same current and wave conditions). Also I was 4 min behind my lane partner that I swim with and pace faster than every practice. He wore a WS, I didn't, and he was 4 min faster!
So when I swim a triathlon I wear a WS to give me the same advantage as everyone else does, and its legal. I like the type without sleeves. Im a leg drager, and barely kick at all when ever I swim. So the WS keeps my legs on top of the water and stops them from being an anchor pulling me down.
During Open Water Races I like to swim without a WS. DianaC, as for deciding wether to swim Alcatraz without a WS, try a practice swim the day before in Aquatic Park. I was in your shoes last year and after my trial swim in Aquatic Park I went for it the next day and felt great about it. The water temp is +/- 60 degrees, though 2 weeks ago it was 70 degrees for the FINA Open Water Swim off of Alameda Island in the SF Bay. I think it is colder off of Alcatraz because it is exposed more to the open ocean. This will be my 4th Alcatraz swim and it is my favorite, good venue, well run and lots of fun people.

LindsayNB
August 23rd, 2006, 12:03 PM
I wonder if there is a correlation between liking wet suits and liking using pull bouys. I would think that people who are good at pull sets would benefit from wearing a wet suit while someone that doesn't like or isn't good at pull sets would also struggle using a wet suit.

Rob Copeland
August 23rd, 2006, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by DianaC
The big test will come this September. I am going to do the Alcatraz swim and am seriously considering not wearing the wetsuit. It is only 1.5 miles, and the water will be cold, so I am taking it with me, but will decide when I get there. Still not sure what I will do on that one. I would love to do it without a wetsuit, but I probably won't decide that until I get to SF and see how the water is. Anyone out there have any recommendations for/against a wetsuit for Alcatraz? It will be my first time. Diana,

I recently did the Alcatraz swim that they held at the FINA Worlds, without a wetsuit. The temp was in the low 60ís and I found the swim quite comfortable. At the end of the event a number of the people who did wear wetsuits commented that they wished that they had not worn it. None of the non-wetsuit swimmers commented that they wish they had one.

If youíve done some cold water swims (under 70) then you might as well give it a try. If not, take a couple of short practice swims in the bay before the race. And the real secret is to stay warm before the start of the race.

Good Luck

Stillhere
August 23rd, 2006, 01:35 PM
I swam 4 SFO Bay events total. Water temps were 55 deg's to 63 deg's....Unless you HAVE to wear a wet suit....swim as a purest....Sans wet suit....After 5 minutes you will get used to it. Used A&D Ointment under your arms and around your neck to keep from getting salt water abrasion.....(suspended salt in the water acts like sand paper after 15-20 minutes).

Unless you have a health issue, I sincerely do not think you need a wet suit for that swim. Both years I swam the SFO Bay, 80 to 90% of the swimmers wore wet suits. Every non wet suit swimmer said they were glad they swam as purists.

One very strong word of advise; the race organizer suggested non wet swimmers wait on the ferry boat until ALL the wet suit swimmers we off the boat, then we were to hop off and swim to the starting grid. The idea was, you will not have to linger in the cold water waiting for everyone to hop off the ferry boat. Problem was, (BOTH YEARS) they blew the ferry boat horn to start the race before 1/5 of the non wet suit swimmers were off the boat. The second year I swam Alcatraz I got in the water and onto the starting grid with the first swimmers lining up. I was glad I did because they started the race again before 1/5 if the non wet suit swimmers were off the boat. Again, get in the water as fast as possible to get a good starting position on the grid.

Good luck and enjoy this wonderful experience.

DianaC
August 23rd, 2006, 02:25 PM
Hi everyone! Thanks for your comments and encouragement. I would love to try to meet up with you all at the race. I am going with another Board regular (Swimmy). We can try to get together, if you would like.

Lindsay - that's an interesting observation regarding pull buoys. I am pretty good at pulling, but I do not use a buoy. I just don't kick, and my legs don't sink too much. I am naturally very buoyant, so the pull buoys tend to do the same thing to me as the wetsuit - they make me too buoyant and put my hips up too high, causing pain in my lower back. There is probably a strong correlation there - I don't use a pull buoy and I don't like wearing a wetsuit.

I will definitely take the wetsuit with me to SF, but I will probably not wear it. My dream is to one day do a Channel swim, so I might as well get used to cold water.

Thanks again, everyone!
Diana

Edward The Head
August 23rd, 2006, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by LindsayNB
I wonder if there is a correlation between liking wet suits and liking using pull bouys. I would think that people who are good at pull sets would benefit from wearing a wet suit while someone that doesn't like or isn't good at pull sets would also struggle using a wet suit.

I dislike bouys as well and I have no problem with pull sets. I don't much like them because then I tend to stop kicking for a bit after them. I'm not that much slower during a pull set either, I just don't like the things. I also don't use a kick board, fins, or paddles.

rtodd
August 23rd, 2006, 03:45 PM
interesting responses.

It would be nice to do a hard comparison with and without. Trouble is the pool temperature is too high, so I would have to do time trials outside to compare.

I also wonder if the WS would help more on the longer swims over 1.5K, but be a disadvantage on the sprint distances.

I also think the WS would be good in very rough water to help stay on top.

I think if the water is warm enough and the distance is 1.5K or less, I will forget the WS. Then I can keep my 6 beat kick.

Peter Cruise
August 23rd, 2006, 03:55 PM
All of you enthused-about-oceanic-challenge-swimming types might consider swimming the Strait of Juan de Fuca (between Victoria and Port Angeles) rather than making the Channel an automatic ambition. Reference "Marilyn Bell" on google and you will learn why it is regarded as one of the toughest, yet so handy to Americans. And no, she didn't wear a wet suit. Mind you, she almost died on her first attempt, but that just gives the swim a little extra spice.

Kevin in MD
August 23rd, 2006, 04:27 PM
Of course your open water time is slower than your pool time. Pool has walls and no sighting required. And if you swim scy then you probably swam at least 10% more than 1000 yards.

But I encourage you not to wear your wetsuit in wetsuit legal swims. In fact I encourage everyone to leave them at home in wetsuit legal swims, particularly if you are racing against me.

cantwait4bike
August 23rd, 2006, 09:51 PM
Just did a team triathlon 1K swim and was slower than my pool time. I think it screwed up my kick rythym and I had trouble with breathing. Maybe it was a bit too tight, but overall, I think I would have been better without. I noticed the fastest swimmers had no wetsuits.

:confused:

your never going to swim as fast in a tri as in the pool...........there are no lane lines in open water, lines on the bottom of the lake or ocean, and no walls to do your streamline flip turns. swimmers that kill me in the pool, i eat for lunch in tri's with a wetsuit because they are all such wussies without their controlled environment.

Damage Inc
August 24th, 2006, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by cantwait4bike
I noticed the fastest swimmers had no wetsuits.


Most Swimmers who swim on a Tri relay team don't own a wet suit. I don't think they see a need for one. Most triathlets on the other hand wouldn't be caught dead without the latest greatest speed enhancing model.

letsrace
August 26th, 2006, 08:46 PM
I swim tri relays, but I do wear a wetsuit.

First, I don't like cold water and I consider 79 degrees cold. Second, I have been beaten by wetsuit-clad swimmers when I did not wear one. "Pride" you say. Darn right!