and the winner is . . .
by, November 14th, 2009 at 03:40 PM (713 Views)
Over the years Iíve amassed a something of a collection of meet suits, so today I held auditions to see which would be my meet suit for next Saturdayís meet. Here are the contenders:
The Magic Suit: Ah, my B70. Itís fast, and itís by far the latest and greatest I own in technical swimwear. It even makes butterfly feel easy. By all rights this one should win hands down, but Iím not so sure it will. For starters, itís really a pain to get on. (The donning gloves pictured below help.)
Once on, itís, well, not pretty. This isnít a problem just with B70s, but with most of the latest generation of tech suits. We were headed in the right direction with the introduction of pink and turquoise suits (and even the LZRs that the 2008 US Olympic team wore, hideous though they were, were a nod towards the need to create something better than a vast expanse of black rubber). But FINA has stopped the evolution of full-body suit aesthetics right in its tracks. Iím sure that, given a few more years, swimming would have caught up with some other sports where athletes wear variations of unitards, like downhill skiing
or figure skating :
In addition to the tech-suit ugliness factor, I donít love wearing my B70 outside of the water. Itís hot, it makes me fidgety, and thereís always that nagging worry that a seam will come undone at an inopportune moment, a la Ricky Berens. In short, I tend to fret when Iím wearing this suit, and fretful is the opposite of how I want to feel at meets. Thatís why my B70 is feeling some stiff competition this season from
The Amazing Technicolor Dream Suit:
This Japanese Asics suit combines a bit of everythingóbright floral patterns over the breasts, black and grey pinstripes in much of the body, brilliant purple panels on the waist, all highlighted by neon pink straps and stitching. Given that I donít attend awards shows involving red carpets, where else will I get to wear a garment with all that? I used this suit in a couple of meets last spring and swam well in it. It does dip a little lower in the back than I like, and could be a bit tighter in the chest, but overall I feel comfortable and happy wearing it.
Tyr Aquapel knee suit:
I picked up a couple of these at a steep discount during the summer. Iíve not yet used one in a meet, but I did wear one in August at the Lake Placid 2-mile cable swim and found it very comfortable. The navy-with-orange-piping version matches my team swim cap perfectly. The suit is tight enough to get some compression advantage out of it, though not as much as with the B70 or my fastskin. The band at the bottom of the leg doesnít seem too constricting. When I try this suit on I like the way it looksóI feel tall and streamlined in it, like the Chrysler building.
The Old Standbys: I have a Japanese Speedo knee suit that is black with orange and yellow flames along the sides. It has been a good and faithful meet suit, but has gotten pretty stretched out and should probably be retired. I also have an original Fastskin full-body suit that is in fairly good shape. I like wearing it, but dislike squeezing into it.
So, what to wear? Iíve never swum a SCM meet in my B70, and itís probably now or never for that. However, the goals Iím most focused on this season involve bettering my own times that Iíve swum in my current age group, so maybe itís better to stick to a knee suit or the Fastskin, and compare apples to apples. Also, the process as well as the results is important for me at meets, so how happy and comfortable I will feel wearing my suit, both between events and while swimming in it, matters.
Taking all this into account, here are the winners:
Second runner-up: B70
First runner-up: Asics purple kneesuit
Meet suit: Tyr Aquapel kneesuit
(Iím also awarding Miss Congeniality to my beloved Speedo flames suit.)