Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

  1. #1
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Woodstock, Vermont
    Posts
    6

    Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Hi all. I'm considering purchasing an entry-level (read--cheap) tech suit for this summer's slate of open water swims and I'm trying to decide whether hydrophobic fiber or taped seams is more important. Any thoughts/experience?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, GA
    Posts
    2,972

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Personally, comfort and fit are more important that fiber or seams. But all of these pale in comparison to training and technique.

    And whatever you choose, if you're swimming in sanctioned events, make sure the suit has a FINA afforded stamp.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

  3. #3
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Woodstock, Vermont
    Posts
    6

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    Personally, comfort and fit are more important that fiber or seams. But all of these pale in comparison to training and technique.

    And whatever you choose, if you're swimming in sanctioned events, make sure the suit has a FINA afforded stamp.
    Maybe my first question should have been whether a tech suit is worth it for open water? I'm signed up to do the Chesapeake Bay Swim in June and then a 10k lake swim in Vermont in late July. In the past I've worn my wetsuit but was thinking of trying without this summer.

  4. #4
    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    St Louis, MO
    Posts
    359
    Blog Entries
    382

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Having swam through the glorified-wetsuit-"supersuit" year of 2009, I would hazard a guess that a wetsuit would be *much* more advantageous than a modern tech suit.

    I do think if the question is training suit (read: not compressive on the legs) versus tech suit, the key is more in finding something that provides the best compression on the legs than the hydrodynamic aspect like seams, etc. Open water is a much more "messy" environment than pool swimming - you are not going to be streamlined in clean water for very long. So the benefits of the streamline components on the higher end tech suits are probably even more minimal in OW than pool.

    That's my two cents, not being an open water swimmer myself.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

  5. #5
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Woodstock, Vermont
    Posts
    6

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge View Post
    Having swam through the glorified-wetsuit-"supersuit" year of 2009, I would hazard a guess that a wetsuit would be *much* more advantageous than a modern tech suit.

    I do think if the question is training suit (read: not compressive on the legs) versus tech suit, the key is more in finding something that provides the best compression on the legs than the hydrodynamic aspect like seams, etc. Open water is a much more "messy" environment than pool swimming - you are not going to be streamlined in clean water for very long. So the benefits of the streamline components on the higher end tech suits are probably even more minimal in OW than pool.

    That's my two cents, not being an open water swimmer myself.
    Oh yeah hands down the wetsuit is faster. But at least for the lake swim, the race organizers break the finishers categories into wetsuits and non-wetsuits. Acknowledging that there may be a certain stigma attached to the wetsuit label (whether warranted or not) I wanted to try without this go around.

  6. #6
    Active Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    mtn Maryland
    Posts
    32

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Tech suits aren't common at open water events. I've never worn one, in the pool or open water. It's not just that they are expensive. Tech suits are tight and hard to get on/off. Does that mean they'll chafe a lot? What happens to the fabric when you use sunscreen and glide/grease? How will you navigate calls of nature before, during and after your swim?

    Whatever suit you decide to wear (especially to the Chesapeake Bay swim where the water is brackish and silty) I suggest you wear it enough in training that you know its chafe points, and apply glide or grease accordingly. Same with your cap and goggles.
    Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. --Neale Donald Walsch

  7. #7
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, GA
    Posts
    2,972

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Quote Originally Posted by olivesss View Post
    Maybe my first question should have been whether a tech suit is worth it for open water?
    This really depends on your goals. If you are out to win the race, then the seconds you gain with a tech suit might be worth the investment. If your goals are about completing the swim then a tech suit probably isn't worth it.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

  8. #8
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Woodstock, Vermont
    Posts
    6

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    This really depends on your goals. If you are out to win the race, then the seconds you gain with a tech suit might be worth the investment. If your goals are about completing the swim then a tech suit probably isn't worth it.
    I think winning might be too aspirational. But the goal at this point is competitiveness--as opposed to just completing!

  9. #9
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Beaverton, Oregon
    Posts
    400

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    olivesss,

    Another aspect that you want to consider - especially for the Vermont 10K. Whereas a wetsuit is going to provide buoyancy and warmth, the tech suit will do neither. If the 10K is the Kingdom swim, the water will not be warm and hypothermia should be something to include in your decision.

    Should you decide to try a tech suit, you should also get out for a couple of longer test swims. I remember a friend of mine who tried one for the first time (when full body suits were legal) and he could not get used to the tight chest fit and it was hard for him to breathe. For women, it is not only the tightness for breathing, it is the tightness around the thighs.

    Finally, you do not need a $450 tech suit for these races. A Speedo Aquablade leg suit that fits properly will be perfect for what you want to accomplish. AND, much easier to get on and off. With the really expensive tech suits that take an hour to get on, you might have a problem with that last minute dash to the port-a-potty.

    I used to drive through Woodstock on my way to Dartmouth. Love that little town on Rte 4!!

    Good luck...

  10. #10
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Woodstock, Vermont
    Posts
    6

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Quote Originally Posted by Windrath View Post
    olivesss,

    Another aspect that you want to consider - especially for the Vermont 10K. Whereas a wetsuit is going to provide buoyancy and warmth, the tech suit will do neither. If the 10K is the Kingdom swim, the water will not be warm and hypothermia should be something to include in your decision.

    Should you decide to try a tech suit, you should also get out for a couple of longer test swims. I remember a friend of mine who tried one for the first time (when full body suits were legal) and he could not get used to the tight chest fit and it was hard for him to breathe. For women, it is not only the tightness for breathing, it is the tightness around the thighs.

    Finally, you do not need a $450 tech suit for these races. A Speedo Aquablade leg suit that fits properly will be perfect for what you want to accomplish. AND, much easier to get on and off. With the really expensive tech suits that take an hour to get on, you might have a problem with that last minute dash to the port-a-potty.

    I used to drive through Woodstock on my way to Dartmouth. Love that little town on Rte 4!!

    Good luck...
    It is the Kingdom Swim 10k! Have you swam it before? I swam Lake Champlain around the same time last year and was comfortable in my sleeve-less wetsuit. If I go the techsuit route, I think I would just get a jammer. So no worries about having a hard time breathing.

    What had you visiting Dartmouth? Woodstock is fantastic. One thing it could use though is an indoor 25yd pool!!

  11. #11
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Beaverton, Oregon
    Posts
    400

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    This helps - I was not sure of your gender.

    I still think water temp should be a major consideration since there is a big difference between 75 and 65 and sunny vs cloudy. On a sunny and calm day, I could tolerate 75 degrees for that period of time. If it was cloudy, windy/calm, and only 65, I would be in trouble without a wetsuit.

    Even a sleeveless wetsuit provides far more thermal protection than jammers (which is none). Check to see if they allow neoprene caps for the race. Although they chafe a bit, they really help keep your head warm - compared to latex or silicone.

    Still would go with the Speedo lazer or aquablade or TYR equivalent. The benefit of something like an Arena carbon is negligible under than conditions.

    I graduated from Dartmouth in the 70's. I get back 1-2x per year. I wanted to do the Kingdom swim, but the water temp is too cold for me - without a wetsuit anyway. I completely understand wanting to do the race in a jammer to reduce the number of people you are racing against. I have raced Alcatraz twice - with and without a wetsuit (water is 59). I hope to do it a third time, without a wetsuit, when I turn 70 (and a new age group) because I suspect there won't be many foolish enough to do it without one - increases my chances of winning instead of placing 3rd or 4th.

    Hope this helps...

  12. #12
    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario
    Posts
    2,817
    Blog Entries
    2019

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Quote Originally Posted by Windrath View Post
    I still think water temp should be a major consideration since there is a big difference between 75 and 65 and sunny vs cloudy. On a sunny and calm day, I could tolerate 75 degrees for that period of time. If it was cloudy, windy/calm, and only 65, I would be in trouble without a wetsuit.

    Even a sleeveless wetsuit provides far more thermal protection than jammers (which is none). Check to see if they allow neoprene caps for the race. Although they chafe a bit, they really help keep your head warm - compared to latex or silicone.
    I'll second all of the above. Everyone's different in terms of their cold tolerance - I learned a few years ago at the La Jolla Rough Water swim that my lower limit is about 64 in jammers for a 5K ... but that left me shivering under multiple layers for hours afterwards. Whereas, if you watch Kim Swims on Netflix, you'll see her and the other San Fran OW folks frolicking in that temperature.

    If you are going to wear a wetsuit, I highly recommend sleeveless - your range of motion is just so much better and you really don't lose much in the way of warmth.

    As for the 'stigma' of racing in a wetsuit, I wouldn't worry about it. There will be plenty of others in wetsuits and safety should be your first concern.

  13. #13
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Woodstock, Vermont
    Posts
    6

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Thanks for the feedback everybody!

    The water temperatures in Annapolis are now peaking around 77.2 as of late. I had planned on wearing my sleeveless wet suit for the GCBS. But if it breaks 78 I'm guessing the organizers will ban wet suits. Now I'm considering getting some neoprene jammers, like Blueseventy's core shorts. I'm content to wear regular jammers or a tech suit for the Kingdom Swim later this summer, but something about swimming in the Bay makes me want to have that thicker layer of neoprene, haha.

  14. #14
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    schaumburg, il - U S A
    Posts
    7,624

    Re: Entry-Level Tech Suit: Hydrophobic Fiber or Taped Seams

    Tech suits are better for the pool swims.
    I think you should look into the above mentioned wet suit option for that distance.

Similar Threads

  1. Tech suit help.
    By rwt1978 in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: March 22nd, 2018, 10:13 PM
  2. Should I buy my kid a tech suit?
    By Rob Copeland in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 42
    Last Post: December 12th, 2012, 11:58 AM
  3. Tech suit for SCM or not?
    By thewookiee in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: October 14th, 2009, 10:38 PM
  4. Entry level technical suits for women
    By swiminny in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: May 21st, 2009, 07:11 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •