The Benefits of a Triathlon Wetsuit

Triathlon wetsuits are much more than the normal wet suits employed by divers, which are used simply to slow heat loss underwater and keep warm.  Diving and surfing wetsuits are engineered for different functions that impair your swim in a triathlon.

Designed specifically for athletic competition, their first priority of a triathlon wetsuit is to keep a competitive swimmer on top of the water, reducing drag and stalling muscle fatigue, enabling the swimmer to race faster and for longer periods of time.

A triathlon wetsuit is different from other types of wetsuits and is specifically designed for better performance in the water.  These wetsuits are made with a special neoprene coating to help you slide through the water easily and also with buoyancy panels to help you float.   The seams are made better to help keep water out and they are cut to give you more flexibility.

Your suit should have excellent flexibility around the arms and shoulders, otherwise you are wasting serious amounts of energy to propel yourself through the water.   Prices usuall start at around $150 and can range up to $700 or so.

The benefits of triathlon wetsuits include:

Insulation.   Cold water can drain your body heat quickly.  Generally you are adding 3-5mm of neoprene insulation to your body.  Coping with the cold will make the swim not only more physically challenging, but also mentally draining.

Buoyancy.   The closed cells reduce weight and help you swim on the surface.  A thicker wetsuit may be warmer and buoyant, but it can hinder your movement for swimming.

Drag Reduction.  Wearing a triathlon wetsuit contributes to more efficient movement through the water.  Since the outer layer of a tri suit is designed to reduce drag, you may find increased speed without an increase in effort.

Prevent Stings and Scratches.    Triathlon wetsuits can also help you minimize jelly fish stings, which are not only distracting for the race, but some serious stings can be potentially hazardous.   The wetsuit will also guards against coral scratches and rocks.

Good luck!


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