To shave or not to shave. That is the question (and why).

bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
edited January 2013 in General Discussion
Ok I'll go first. I shave for my big swim of the year. I started this a few years back when I entered into USMS 5K OW national Championship. I can't say I expected it would help a lot, so it was more a mental thing. It felt so good to be cooler in the summer triathlons I was doing at the time. After that I just carried it over to marathon swimming. My thinking was that it provided a ritual for the big event to get my head right, and make lubricant easier to apply (and stay on longer?). Despite being a bit on the furry side, I don't think it makes me any faster.

(I suspect this has been discussed before but wasn't able to find it)

Comments

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    What about legs? Does anyone shave/not shave those? After years of age group and college swimming, I still feel a little twinge of guilt for shaving my legs other than for a big swim. But perhaps hairy legs keep us warmer?

    And what about armpits? I think us ladies chafe more there because we do shave. I've heard of a few who just let their pits grow for a week or so before a swim, but can't bring myself to it. I just lather up the lanolin and hope it lasts! :-D
    JenA
  • Shave, even when training. Nothing worse than skanky old Vaseline sticking unshaven hair together days after a swim. And I am not a girl.
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    Shaving is for your feel for the water in the pool. Any "speed" advantage derived from shaving down will automatically be wiped out when getting rolled by a large wave or if/when you wear a man-o-war as a hat.

    dc_in_sfJenAdpm50bluemermaid9
  • I shave for major pool competitions. For open water the only thing I really shave is my arm pits. They are a big area of chaffing for me. Lubrication of my arm pits is more effective for me if my pits are clean shaven. Of course I shave a couple days before to give any nicks time to heal.

  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    edited July 2016

    ssthomas said: But perhaps hairy legs keep us warmer?

    I think this is likely to be the case. It makes sense that water would move more freely over a shaven body part than it would a hairy one. So if the water is moving less freely over a hairy body part, the water that isn't moving as freely is probably a little bit warmer, and has a it of an insulating value.

    Whether or not this insulation is actually helpful is another matter. :)

  • JSwimJSwim western MarylandMember

    ssthomas said: And what about armpits? I think us ladies chafe more there because we do shave. I've heard of a few who just let their pits grow for a week or so before a swim, but can't bring myself to it. I just lather up the lanolin and hope it lasts! :-D

    There is also epilating (and waxing).

    Pluses: no stubble for a week or longer, hair tends to grow back finer (sometimes not at all).

    Minuses: Pain (but what's a little pulled hair to a marathon swimmer?), slow compared to shaving (but not as often, so it evens out)

    I still use grease for long swims though. Skin on skin contact can chafe eventually too.

    Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. --Neale Donald Walsch

  • tortugatortuga Senior Member

    I'm in for comments. I've been ruminating on this lately. I have significant torso hair and have been wondering +s and -s of taking it off for a big event. One of the arguments in my head stems from years of racing sailboats where one would never enter a race without cleaning the moss from the boat's bottom. I suppose the drag theory applies to swimmers as well.

    flystorms
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