A friend of mine who just competed in the Kona Ironman sent me the following blurb:For immediate Release- 10/11-2008Website for this suit is here. It is approved by FINA for OW competitions and I can only assume that applies to pool races as well (but perhaps I'm mistaken).
Kailua –Kona, Hawaii (from San Diego based XTERRA WETSUITS)
For the second year in a row, The Velocity Speedsuit by XTERRA WETSUITS posted the fastest swim time of the day at the Ford Ironman World Championships.
In 2007, Mark Van Akkeren posted the fastest swim split with a time of 49:50 wearing a Velocity Speedsuit. This year, Noa Sakamoto posted the fastest swim split with a time of 47:01 wearing a new version of the XTERRA WETSUITS - Velocity Speedsuit.
John Flanagan, (also wearing a XTERRA WETSUITS- Velocity Speedsuit) was only 1 second behind Noa posting a time of 47:02. The XTERRA WETSUITS- Velocity Speedsuit was victorious by more than one minute and 30 seconds faster than the next swimmer Andy Potts.
The Velocity Speedsuit is considered to be the fastest Speedsuit in the water. On 09/09/08, the Velocity won a gold medal in the European Open Water 10K Championship. The new technology behind the Velocity Speedsuit continues to dominate anything that involves water.
My friend said that about 80% of the people competed in one of the new FINA-approved "speedsuits" (I guess this is what the OW purists refer to as "real swimmers swimming naked" but I digress...) and that the B70 was far and away the most popular.
So my question is this: if the Xterra suit is similar, and its swimmers posted the fastest times (which may only mean they are better at choosing who to sponsor), why is it that the B70 gets all the love in pool swimming? Is it because of Roque Santos? (If so I hope they are paying him a lot.)
I'm not trying to muddy the waters here...I don't think any of these suits has a HUGE effect, and I certainly don't think there is a big difference between them in performance -- if you are going to wear one, factors such as price, comfort, durability should be more important, IMO.
I am just curious about how this happened. Why not Xterra? (Other than the fact that there is no getting around the fact that THIS IS A WETSUIT.)
[QUOTE=Chris Stevenson;156341] I'm not trying to muddy the waters here...I don't think any of these suits has a HUGE effect, and I certainly don't think there is a big difference between them in performance QUOTE]
some notes from a discussion on the subject below. it seems there is a big difference in performance and the causes are being studied...scientifically.
There are 1 physical and 1 physiological reason for the significant advantage of neoprene suits over traditional fabrics. (1) The skin coefficient of friction and fabric such as nylon is significantly higher than for neoprene or the other newer synthetic fabrics. That is, we literally glide through the water quicker with the newer suits – or from a physics point of view, we experience less drag in the water. (2) Due to the compression of the suits on the major muscle groups, the human body naturally secrets less lactic acid (for reasons that can best be eloquently described by physiologists). With lower perceived and actual levels of lactic acid in the body, one can perform at a higher level.
There are also other advantages such as the fit of the suit, especially on older or less physical fit athletes, than enhances the body positioning in the water, but the first 2 reasons were first studied and perfected in Japan. I have been studying both phenomena for some time, although the Speedo and TYR executives only most recently learned of these phenomena. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine will finally formally start studying the compression effects on human performance in November 2009. A press conference on this topic will be held in Washington D.C. on October 28th.
I'm glad that there will be some studies of this and hope they are well designed (especially shaved vs suit-clad swimmers). But from the wording -- it is hard to tell -- it looks like they MAY only interested in the physiological effect of compression on the muscles (which is also interesting).
In any event, it still doesn't address my main question: why haven't people been using the Xterra suit, especially in the pool? I don't hear much about it compared to the others.
Judging by advertising activity, Blue Seventy has noticed the swimming market and is trying to make inroads there. Xterra has been much more active in the triathlon market and has not focused as much attention on the swimming market in a while. Brand awareness probably leads to the number of suits by various vendors you are seeing in competition (pool or open water). Both are good companies with quality products so I would be surprised to see Xterra not start to catch up soon to Blue Seventy.
I purchased an XTerra early this summer (June) after comparing it to the B70 based on information on both websites and user opinions on the triathlete forums. The concensus on the triathlete forums are that these products are highly regarded. The primary reason I went with the X is because of lower cost and higher availability.
As far as material, I had the chance to do a very unscientific touch test on both suits and I believe that the B70 and X suits use the same material or something very close. I also had the chance to compare the LZR and it is a completely different material.
Both the B70 and X have very pronounced seams - as opposed to the LZR which has less pronounced seams. I'll guess that the sewn seams will be more resistant to suit bursts than the "welded" seams featured by the LZR.
The X website states that flip turns are discouraged - and that may be one reason why they have not focused on the pool swimmer market.
However, when I talked to the X rep (a former USeattle swimmer), he said that he had no problems with flip turns and had asked to have the statement modified or removed from the website. He said Xterra's primary market were triathletes and not pool swimmers.
Finally, I'll give the Xterra company high marks for customer support. When my suit arrived, it was a little big in certain areas, but a call to a very helpful rep cleared up the problem. They emailed a PDF RMA and I had the replacement in less than a week (no additional charge).
The suit is certified by FINA for pool competitions (I understand that FINA charges $15,000 to certify a new swim suit)!
I can not attest to the performance of the suit. I have not used it in a competition yet, but plan to do so next year (aging up!). I have not seen anyone wearing the X in either 2008 USMS nationals (SCY or LCM). If, however, the experiences of triathletes can be applied to pool swimmers, I expect that the suit will compensate for my age related performance decay - hopefully as much as it does for our triathlete friends ( with hydro-propulsive mechanical flaws and buoyancy issues).
I do wish these companies would put the zipper in the front of the men's suits. I had a Victor (out of business) front zipper suit which was designed for backstrokers and I miss it very much.
Thanks Mark, and especially Philipp for your detailed answer, that's what I was looking for.
Interesting about the flip turn, I missed seeing that on the website.
I'm sure we'd be interested in hearing about your experience when you try it in pool swims. A definite plus for the Xterra suit, for me, is the ability to order it online (I couldn't do so in the early summer for the B70) and your good experience with customer service is also nice to hear. Like I said, I don't expect that there is a big performance difference between the suits so I think secondary considerations like these (including comfort and durability) will perhaps dictate the future purchasing decisions of many.
Speedo used to make a backstroke-specific fastskin suit (I think it was an FS-II). I guess they stopped doing so, too bad.
Great question. Why not the Velocity powered by XTERRA WETSUITS? We have been asking ourselves the same question at our office.
We were a few months behind B70 on developing our new speedsuit. This delay came with several performance advantages over our competition.
Our Velocity has a new Nano-SCS coating which has a drag co-efficient of 0.02 compared to our competitors suit which is using an older SCS coating which has been measured at 0.03. We also found that the front of the B70 suit was designed with lycra panels which create additional drag. (we assume this design was for aesthetic value).
The B70 suit is also designed with several front panels which have exposed stitching. It cost us a bit more in materials but we found that our Velocity Speedsuit without any frontal seams and stitches reduce drag. This may have something to do with the fact that Blue Seventy is a New Zealand owned company. We are based in San Diego, California and have an advantage by being owned and operated in the United States.
We intend on placing additional focus on the swimming market with what we have learned from our research with open water and pool swimmers. I have to thank several US Masters swim coaches for their expert advice and input. (i.e. - Michael Collins, Jim Miller, Gerry Rodrigues, Marcia Cleveland, and Steve Munatones)
Lastly, Roque Santos is a rock star. We wish we had him on our sales team. If Roque has a twin please contact our company ASAP.
We welcome any input and advice from US MASTERS SWIMMING. Thanks for taking notice of our products and recent accomplishments.
All the best,