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

  1. #1
    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? I’m 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.

    That’s 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
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racin’ in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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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
    Excellence Is Never An Accident.

  7. #7
    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? I’m 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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    Very Active Member FindingMyInnerFish's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    Which swim is this? Great South Bay, by any chance? Based on the distance and tI'm of year you mention, I'm guessing GSB. I've done that swim several times, never w a wetsuit, although quite a few swimmers do wear them, and you'll see everything from bikinis or briefs to full sleeve wetsuits. I did feel mildly chilly near the end of one swim but never to the extent of severe discomfort. I have a wetsuit and will wear it if I feel the need, but the Great South Bay is typically pretty warm, high 70s in my experience. But this is coming from someone who's working on cooler water acclimation and managed to swim skin in Aquatic Park (low/mid 50s), although my "comfort zone" still begins in the 60s. I just like the freedom of not having a wetsuit on. Can swim more easily without. YMMV, of course.

  10. #10
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    I just got the TYR Vapor Lite. I am road testing it today. Yes this the the great South Bay Swim. I am excited!

  11. #11
    Very Active Member FindingMyInnerFish's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    Quote Originally Posted by rtodd View Post
    I just got the TYR Vapor Lite. I am road testing it today. Yes this the the great South Bay Swim. I am excited!
    Great, then I'll see you there! I'm signed up again for this year! Bit nervous about the way they describe the current, but last year, I swam in the choppiest conditions I ever faced. Was slow, but finished!

    Wishing you success!

  12. #12
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    You too! I will see you at the mandatory meeting! I did a long swim in the TYR swim skin and I think it will work nice. Not FINA approved, but don’t care! Ha ha.

  13. #13
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    I am wearing a wetsuit! I forgot to find you at the meeting”finding my inner fish”!

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

    never tried wearing a wetsuit, I think it's a little bit uncomfortable

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

    Quote Originally Posted by rtodd View Post
    I am wearing a wetsuit! I forgot to find you at the meeting”finding my inner fish”!
    Wasn't able to make the meeting, though did listen to the audio, so have a pretty good feel for what's going down tomorrow. Going to NY today, so hope to see you tomorrow before and/or after the swim (betting you'll be a good bit in front of me during, as I'm not fast). Had all kinds of last minute snafus--my original kayaker was injured so had to bow out--then a friend offered to kayak, but we needed a boat. Thanks to my cousin's amazing efforts, we have a boat--and I have a kayaker! Wow!

    So I'm no. 79. You can find me that way on the start list. Here's a pic of me getting the "endurance award"--they give that to the last male and last female. I was happy to get it b/c last year's conditions were so tough, I was pleased just to finish!

    https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...M2TmdCRkdBWi1n

  16. #16
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    I’ll find you
    😁I’m number 115

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    After the swim/race, let us know how it went.

  18. #18
    Very Active Member FindingMyInnerFish's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    Was so happy with my swim! Sorry to miss you, rtodd. We'll both have to come back next year!

    After all the reports about the cross current in mile 1, thanks to the organizers, it went much more smoothly than I expected. After that, it was pretty much a straight shot. Water was very calm--a little bumpy in the last mile, but not nearly the roller coaster ride of last year. My time was 3:38:15, not my fastest, but a good bit faster than last year and comfortably under the 4 hr cut-off. (Last year, I went over 4, but they cut us more slack b/c of conditions.) I was well behind rtodd, but just kept swimming and crossed the finish line! YES!

    Overall, love this swim. Lately, I've been making it an annual event. 7th time participating, 6th finish.

  19. #19
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    Glad you had a good swim Diane! Check out the short video I made! What a great event and some really fast swimmers!!!

    https://youtu.be/FYGbBTetABg

  20. #20
    Very Active Member FindingMyInnerFish's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of wearing a wetsuit for a 5.5 mile race.

    Quote Originally Posted by rtodd View Post
    Glad you had a good swim Diane! Check out the short video I made! What a great event and some really fast swimmers!!!

    https://youtu.be/FYGbBTetABg
    That's a great video! Feels like I'm right there again! Saw your time--you were pretty fast! My usual ambition... make it in before they stop me!

    The guy who won--- wow! I wasn't even at 3 miles before he came in!

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