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Thread: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

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    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    I have a July race 5.5 miles. Temperature will not be an issue, I just want the wetsuit for speed. Anyone ever go that long in a suit? Iím a little nervous about doing it.

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    I've never gone that far with a wetsuit. But in the shorter races I've done wearing one...sometimes I've gotten a bit too warm. I can feel the sun beating down on my backside on the black neoprene. Warm water and air temps...and the heat created by the sun on the black neoprene might create an overheating situation for a race that long.

    Dan
    Last edited by ForceDJ; May 4th, 2018 at 04:31 PM.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    Thatís one worry! The race starts early so I should be done before the sun gets too high I hope.

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    It all depends on the water temperature and how fast and hard you swim. A lake in mid July on LI could be pretty warm. The sound and ocean could be fairly cool and the bay may depend on what's been going one weather and current wise in the bay and ocean leading up to the swim that impact water temp. Wet suits are generally allowed up to a certain water temperature in OW races (84F I think - you would be cooking at this temp. ).

    I've had one on for about half that distance (4000 yards and about an hour) when the water was up to around 75, but prefer a sleeveless wetsuit at about 70 and above. At a water temperature of about 80+ I think might cause more heat exhaustion than the benefit from added buoyance and reduced skin friction. Chaffing is a big issue too - for a two hour swim you want to be sure the fit is great and every potential chaffing spot is very well lubricated.

    Some general guidelines for triathlons (triathletes love their wetsuits):

    Under 50 degrees: Not suitable for open water swimming, even with a wetsuit
    50 to 65 degrees: Suitable for open water swim, but wetsuit is highly advised
    65-78 degrees: Suitable for swimming with or without a wetsuit. Sleeveless suits are popular at this temp.
    78-84 degrees: Race directors use their judgement to allow or not allow wetsuits at this range
    Over 84 degrees: Wetsuits not allowed
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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    If you're looking for speed, consider one of the FINA approved OW body suits. They won't have the buoyancy of a wetsuit, but also won't have the bulk. I find a wetsuit really messes with my stroke; I'll wear one if I have to (as I'm not good below about 64 degrees in OW in a regular suit), but I prefer to avoid races where the water temp would necessitate one.

    If you do wear a wetsuit, get a sleeveless one for shoulder mobility.

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    Hey Rob,

    The ocean is still nippy enough during mid July to be ok with a suit - but if this race is in the bay, you're going to cook yourself. Definitely consider a sleeveless, and if not - check the weather conditions. If it's sunny, the dark suit really absorbs heat.

    The previous two posts have some excellent advise.

    Steve does a one or two miler each year in Montauk which is actually comfortable with the suit. But the bay water is going to be like a bath tub come July. It's already warming up pretty nicely in the shallows.

    Good Luck! Best, Val
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    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    The body suit is a good idea!

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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    Quote Originally Posted by rtodd View Post
    I have a July race 5.5 miles. Temperature will not be an issue, I just want the wetsuit for speed. Anyone ever go that long in a suit? Iím a little nervous about doing it.
    I have raced 10ks in a wetsuit. Yes, thermal management is a big consideration, good advice here. Id like to reinforce Sojerz other point, the other big issue is preventing abrasion injury, particularly around the neck and below your arms (lats) in a sleeveless. I would therefore encourage you to aggressively road test your suit over good long distances before the race, and learn the fit and lube strategies to keep the suit comfortable over a 2 hour or so use (esp if it is in salt water).

    I have also raced in a FINA approved body suit. They are great. BUT, they are not designed to accommodate "larger" swimmer bodies. The Arena suits aren't available in larger sizes. I haven't tried the FINIS yet.
    Last edited by Gdavis; May 6th, 2018 at 11:50 AM.

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