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Thread: Wetsuit that DOESN'T have extra bouyancy in the legs?

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    Wetsuit that DOESN'T have extra bouyancy in the legs?

    It seems like most wetsuits emphasize extra buoyancy in the legs, since triathletes tend to have lean, heavy legs. I have the opposite problem: I am naturally crazy-buoyant. The wetsuits I've used in the past make my legs ride too high so that I end up swimming with a strongly arched back. This screws up my body position and I end up with a back ache. At the same time, I am a cold-water weenie so I still want the warmth of a full-sleeve wetsuit.

    I've spent the past couple of hours looking at various reviews sites, including the Swimmer wetsuit review videos. I've noticed that some people distinguish "swimmer" wetsuits from "triathlon" wetsuits.

    Does anyone else have this issue? Any recommendations?

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    Re: Wetsuit that DOESN'T have extra bouyancy in the legs?

    Would a shorty work?

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    Re: Wetsuit that DOESN'T have extra bouyancy in the legs?

    It would take care of the buoyancy issue, but I don't think I've seen a shortie with sleeves.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

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    Re: Wetsuit that DOESN'T have extra bouyancy in the legs?

    I can't answer the question directly, but I do recall that Swimmer magazine reviews do address which wetsuits have more verses less buoyancy in the legs. I vaguely remember the article from a year or two ago rather than the recent one really addressing this. I also know a woman who doesn't like below knee wetsuit legs because she does her entire Iron distance tri breast stroke. She cut off the legs with heavy duty scissors and it seemed to work for her although not sure I would do that to an expensive suit

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    Re: Wetsuit that DOESN'T have extra bouyancy in the legs?

    Thanks, MSK. I think I remember one of the testers in a Swimmer review mentioning triathlete vs. swimmer in his comments. I'll have to go back and look at the videos again. Making my own shorty by cutting off the legs of a full-sleeve suit is a possibility -- though I'd definitely try it with one of my old, ratty wetsuits first!

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    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Re: Wetsuit that DOESN'T have extra bouyancy in the legs?

    Kick harder (or at all) and your buoyancy/arched back problem will go away. It is not the wetsuit, they are all buoyant to the extent of the thickness of the sponge. Or just cut off the legs. No problems, only solutions!
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

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    Re: Wetsuit that DOESN'T have extra bouyancy in the legs?

    It's true that my legs act more like a rudder than a propeller!

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    Re: Wetsuit that DOESN'T have extra bouyancy in the legs?

    Also, double check your form to make sure you are using your core when you swim. When I started training more in open water, I had lower back problems on long straight swims, with or without wetsuit. Eventually, I realized the problem wasn't building up to the distance, it was that I wasn't activating my core at the longer relaxed pace like I was at pool paces. Once I stopped being "lazy", all the lower back issues on those long swims went away.
    You can find wetsuits that cater more to swimmers than triathletes, though. Look for lower thickness in the legs. All the OW swimmers on my team (8 of us) swear by various models of BlueSeventy suits. But there are other models and brands that have similar features.

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    Re: Wetsuit that DOESN'T have extra bouyancy in the legs?

    Thanks for the suggestion. My coach only recently convinced me to breathe every other stroke rather than every third, so this may be the season for a complete technique overhaul!

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