Jammers vs. Briefs

evmoevmo Admin
edited August 2013 in General Discussion
This discussion was created from comments split from: Planned Lake Pontchartrain Swim.
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  • evmo said:


    1. I will wear a textile brief swimsuit, and nothing more.

    Somewhat of an aside, and possibly worth it's own thread:

    I really don't understand why jammers get short shrift in so many sets of rules. I know some organizers don't want to have to deal with legal versus illegal materials etcetera so briefs are kind of the "easy" option, but honestly at the speed most marathon swimmers go I'd be surprised if the difference was even measurable between a marathon swimmer equipped with a (increasingly rare since they are not made anymore) illegal jammer and a marathon swimmer in briefs*

    I exclusively wear polyester jammers, not exactly known for their drag reducing properties. While switching to even a lycra (let alone a FINA legal tech) jammer would reduce my drag it is so far down the list of things that are slowing me down that it is not even worth worrying about...

    * People who are trying to break a world record can afford to have someone certify that their suit is legal, and it would certainly be possible to do a post swim check on the winners suits in a major race if anyone actually cares.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • @dc_in_sf: I'm not stating it that way to short jammers, I just don't like them. They are too long for me, and press on some tendons near the back of my knee in a way I find uncomfortable. To get around this, I have to hike up the legs a little bit, which as w wrinkles and defeat the purpose of smoothing out more skin. So, I just don't wear them.

    Counterintuitivly, products that reduce drag tend to help slower athletes more, at least in the world of cycling. There is more time for the products to work, so there is a bit more effort. For purposes of competition, though, I agree with you, the margins aren't tight enough to really worry about something like a tech suit.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf Member
    edited August 2013
    timsroot said:

    @dc_in_sf: I'm not stating it that way to short jammers, I just don't like them. They are too long for me, and press on some tendons near the back of my knee in a way I find uncomfortable. To get around this, I have to hike up the legs a little bit, which as w wrinkles and defeat the purpose of smoothing out more skin. So, I just don't wear them.

    Totally understand that jammers are not for everyone (and I dislike doing breast stroke in them), but it just kind of riles me up a bit when I see rules written to specifically exclude them :)
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • dc_in_sf said:

    I really don't understand why jammers get short shrift in so many sets of rules.

    CSA, NYC Swim, and.... ?
  • evmo said:

    CSA, NYC Swim, and.... ?

    Well those are two pretty big ones :-)

    I will confess to not having done a full survey of all the rules organizations and thus may be guilty of overstating the problem* somewhat.

    However the fact that those two prominent organizations exclude jammers has a knock on effect when other organizations or individuals choose to take inspiration from their rule sets (e.g. in this case @timsroot drawing from NYC Swim).

    Not the most pressing issue in marathon swimming by a fair margin I'll grant you, but my only personal pet peeve.

    *As a jammer swimmer I see it as a problem, those gentlemen in budgie smugglers may see it as a vindication of their fashion choices :-)

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • evmo said:

    dc_in_sf said:

    I really don't understand why jammers get short shrift in so many sets of rules.

    CSA, NYC Swim, and.... ?
    C3 - Cape Circumnavigation Challenge. Had to buy a pair of square legs (NO way am I wearing Budgie smugglers) for the 14 Sept race. Although a vindictive and perverse side of me seriously thought about showing up in a rat thong or mankini.

    -LBJ

    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot

  • C3 - Cape Circumnavigation Challenge. Had to buy a pair of square legs (NO way am I wearing Budgie smugglers) for the 14 Sept race. Although a vindictive and perverse side of me seriously thought about showing up in a rat thong or mankini.

    -LBJ

    Hmm the C3 Website only says " Swim suits for all participants, regardless of gender, are pursuant to "English Channel" Rules and must be of the traditional style "lycra" suits."

    Given CS&PF approve jammers, I'd think they'd be ok in the C3 (I was planning on wearing mine) but will check with @jcmalick in any case

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • dc_in_sf said:

    Hmm the C3 Website only says " Swim suits for all participants, regardless of gender, are pursuant to "English Channel" Rules and must be of the traditional style "lycra" suits."

    Given CS&PF approve jammers, I'd think they'd be ok in the C3 (I was planning on wearing mine) but will check with @jcmalick in any case

    It was in the rules that got emailed out recently. I emailed Jason and he said that jammers were not kosher, but square legs were.

    -LBJ

    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • Yep just heard back from Jason. Looks like I am shopping for swim wear this weekend. Perhaps if I go for hot pink briefs a size too small I can scare future organizers into allowing jammers... :D

    @evmo, this is basically proves my point, @jcmalick is templating from NYC Swim (I would like to emphasize I do not begrudge that fact, swim organizers have more than enough other tasks on their hands), so the fact that NYC Swim and CSA are unfriendly to jammers does indeed have a ripple effect.

    I'm starting to think that I need to start a campaign, complete with ribbons that marathon swimmers can wear to show their support for jammers - the tricky part would be finding a colour that hasn't already been taken... maybe puce?

    Apologies to @timsroot this discussion is really not about his swim (maybe @evmo could split it off?)
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • evmoevmo Admin
    edited August 2013
    I'd be curious to hear Jason's reasons for this policy (not that he needs to justify anything - I'm just curious). Is it to "template" NYC Swim, or is Jason just independently old-school in his swimwear morals?

    I believe NYC Swim's policy is mostly pragmatic rather than "moralistic" (for lack of a better term). They don't want to get into gray-area battles on individual swimsuits, and this is less likely to happen with briefs. They run events with many hundreds of participants, so this is understandable.

    In the case of CSA, well.... they don't think CS&PF swimmers actually swam the Channel, so there ya go.
  • So Cs&PF allow jammers then? That's cool. I was planning on having to buy my first pair of budgie-smugglers since the late 80's......
  • jcmalickjcmalick Charter Member
    As I should have clarified on C3's site, yes this is CSA rules and consequently NYC Swim's rules. Of all my pioneer swims (Swim around Absecon, Seven Mile Island, Ice Swim, etc) I have always stuck to the harshest rules (whether I agree with them or not) to make sure that they were not questioned further down the line (also why I changed the rules from allowing double capping to sticking with the policy of one single cap and providing a silicone one that adheres across the board, allergy or not).

    Additionally, there are federation rules that I do not agree with (Neoprene caps are one example with the FISF) as historical evidence does not always prove the use of them. From a traditionalist's stand point, I think everyone should be able to wear full cotton suits like Webb and Durborrow's days but I suppose that would be quite a bit of drag (I think it would be fun to have a swim such as that like an Old Timer's Swim!). I don't like "crotch level" suits myself as I surely don't look like a model and would look much better in jammers, but it is just something that I have adopted to eliminate ambiguity (something that will always be ever present in any sport). Definitely a topic to be weighed and interested to see everyone else's take!
  • evmoevmo Admin
    edited August 2013
    jcmalick said:

    I have always stuck to the harshest rules (whether I agree with them or not) to make sure that they were not questioned further down the line

    Love it!

    NYC Swim's rules are admirably harsh, but I'd just point out that CSA allows, by the absence of a rule forbidding it, drafting off the boat wake (and also littering). NYC Swim wins on purism (IMO).
  • jcmalickjcmalick Charter Member
    One of the earliest swimmers in Cape May's history was Paul Boynton who made money rescuing beachgoers before the advent of Beach Patrols (he was known as the "Pearl Diver"). He was later banished from Cape May when he was accused of setting one of the town's fires and burning down many historic hotels/cottages...long story short, he went on to do many swimming feats wearing a vulcanized rubber suit such as swimming Gibraltar, English Channel, etc. I surely never heard of him before researching more of the history behind the island of my debut event (C3) but perhaps that is because he wrote his own rules that no one adhered to (maybe this is wear wetsuits came from?).

    image
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    edited August 2013
    evmo said:

    NYC Swim's rules are admirably harsh, but I'd just point out that CSA allows, by the absence of a rule forbidding it, drafting off the boat wake (and also littering). NYC Swim wins on purism (IMO).


    Looks like the Viking Princess (CSA) and a pair of jammers to me.
    Perhaps Reg didn’t read the rules?
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • ssthomasssthomas Charter Member
    Real men wear briefs. Just saying. Not sure why we need to debate this. :-)
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    edited August 2013
    Never gonna wear a pair of grape smugglers. Square legs for me.
  • ssthomas said:

    Real men wear briefs. Just saying. Not sure why we need to debate this. :-)

    I'm a boxers kind of guy, just saying. I actually have a lovely pair of board shorts I want to break out for the next SERC swim I do
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • Ok I just hit up Google Image to figure out exactly what was meant by "square leg." It was about what I'd assumed it was... But I happened upon a book on the subject, available from Barnes and Noble... Looks like fine reading, too. image

    http://img2.imagesbn.com/p/2940011965029_p0_v1_s260x420.JPG
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer Admin
    edited August 2013
    I feel really uncomfortable about seeing myself objectified like this. :-)
  • Poor Donal - Women are like that: They date our kind, but marry the "nice" guys.

    Any women that wish to objectify me are welcome to do so, although it would make people wonder about your sanity and/or eyesight.

    As to "Roughing It In Rubber", let's keep this clean - it's a family-oriented forum.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • dc_in_sf said:

    the tricky part would be finding a colour that hasn't already been taken... maybe puce?

    puce? Don't be ridiculous, it has to be ecru or mauve.
  • how short can a man be before square-leg becomes jammers?
    What would I know, never been further than 10k ....
  • I got my square legs and tried them on. It's the first time I have been in anything other than jammers in 11 years. I kept having to look down and make sure I wasn't in my underpants. I'll probably start having dreams where I am giving a presentation at work wearing my square legs and everyone is pointing at me and laughing. Wait til Jason gets my shrink's bill.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • One point I have been surprised has not been raised in the sun protection aspects of the suits. Given the nature of marathon swimming, we spend a tremendous amount of time with our backs and back of legs exposed to the sun. Now some of us might enjoy spreading zinc oxide over our bodies on regular basis but I for one do not enjoy it nor the fun of getting it off the body afterwards. Seems as if allowing suits that offer that protection but with insignificant speed advantages would do a lot for the long-life of swimmers in our sport. I personally like the concept of allowing suits that cover the back, shoulders and back of the legs down to the knees as an option for those that prefer this sun protection. I also like the equality in the sexes to allow this for both genders.

    I know a lot of organizations push tge "traditional" argument. I am afraid of that argument because if you go far enough back in tradition, you end up wearing wool (don't want to go back to that) or even further and you have au natural. My personal preference if it were not for the health issues of the sun and the risk of being arrested would be the au natural :-)
  • JoeB said:

    I personally like the concept of allowing suits that cover the back, shoulders and back of the legs down to the knees as an option for those that prefer this sun protection. I also like the equality in the sexes to allow this for both genders.

    In the very first OW race I ever swam (the 2 miler in Reston, VA), some guy was wearing a women's tech suit claiming that it was unfair that women got greater coverage than men did. He looked like a misshaped sausage and the RD let him swim in it as well - most likely for the amusement factor. Although I was used to dealing with some of the loons in racewalking, it really made me wonder if I wanted to be a swimmer.

    -LBJ


    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • @JoeB

    There was some discussion of this in this thread last year.

    I would like to say as a pasty white boy who grew up in the country with one of the highest incidences of skin cancer (per capita) in the world, I am in total agreement with you, I'd love it if there were neck to knee suits available with closed backs available for sun protection (FINA approved neck to knee suits for OW use for some reason, but AFAICT they are all still open back because of the FINA limitations on fasteners/zippers).

    That all said, if you read @pennypalfrey 's comments in that thread it appears that there are chafing issues with full body suits, and I know that a friend ended up with horrible chafing when he used a rash vest in the Rottnest swim. It is my guess that unless those issues were resolved that marathon swimmers would continue to go the slathered in zinc oxide route.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • dc_in_sf said:

    I'd love it if there were neck to knee suits available with closed backs available for sun protection (FINA approved neck to knee suits for OW use for some reason, but AFAICT they are all still open back because of the FINA limitations on fasteners/zippers).

    Not quite true. There's nothing in the FINA rules that prevents a closed back, only zippers (oddly, something that NYC Swim allows). Arena produces this suit:

    http://www.arenainternational.com/racing/man/powerskin-r-evo-open-water-full-body-long-leg-closed_en_0_1_572.html

    I know Oussama Mellouli wore it for at least his 5k victory.

    For what it's worth, if I was allowed to race/swim in pants, I would. (Similar to this: http://www.arenainternational.com/racing/man/powerskin-r-evo-open-water-pant_en_0_1_571.html). I have an old pair of Fastskin pants that I swam my first 10k in, and wear in training from time to time, because I find them quite comfortable. I just don't like the way Jammers press on my IT band and other areas around my knees. But, if you are more comfortable in jammers, I really don't care enough to stop you from wearing them.
  • timsroot said:


    Not quite true. There's nothing in the FINA rules that prevents a closed back, only zippers (oddly, something that NYC Swim allows). Arena produces this suit:

    http://www.arenainternational.com/racing/man/powerskin-r-evo-open-water-full-body-long-leg-closed_en_0_1_572.html

    I know Oussama Mellouli wore it for at least his 5k victory.

    It's still open back - though it admittedly has lower back coverage which is more than most one piece suits. The open part though is precisely where I tend to burn the most (i.e. shoulders and upper back) since that is the part most out of the water.

    Because FINA does not allow fasteners/zippers you have to have a hole in any suit big enough to insert your body through. From a sun protection perspective it would theoretically be possible to put the hole on the front but it would look pretty funky and I suspect that whatever advantage these suits give you (I assume they must have some advantage or people would just wear jammers or briefs) might be compromised by such an arrangement.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • dc_in_sf said:

    It's still open back - though it admittedly has lower back coverage which is more than most one piece suits. The open part though is precisely where I tend to burn the most (i.e. shoulders and upper back) since that is the part most out of the water.

    Because FINA does not allow fasteners/zippers you have to have a hole in any suit big enough to insert your body through. From a sun protection perspective it would theoretically be possible to put the hole on the front but it would look pretty funky and I suspect that whatever advantage these suits give you (I assume they must have some advantage or people would just wear jammers or briefs) might be compromised by such an arrangement.

    I was thinking about the lower back, which is the marketing/model distinction for suit makers. I noticed some women had open backs in the pool, and others had closed backs. Surprised me that, in a world championship race, you would choose to expose more (slower) skin.
  • In the spirit of not trying new things in actual swims, I was road testing (water testing?) briefs this weekend in preparation for C3 next weekend. So far no public indecency charges , but after my last long swim prep the previously protected (and thus pasty white) bits of my upper legs are now a lovely lobster red...
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • Steve Furniss (TYR) - "what made them (jammers) faster was buoyancy . . . larger surface area with lower drag coefficient . . . it lifted the swimmer."

    Hmmmm . . . isn't buoyancy the beef with wetsuits?

    Maybe NYC Swim "suit rule" is on the right path for traditional types but not necessarily adolescent boys. Actually, being the father of an adolescent boy - the square colorful drag suit is king.
  • jcmalickjcmalick Charter Member
    So I'm confused? Per Steve am I an "Old School Swimmer" in that my dated belief that channel swimming and any distance over the 10k to be traditionally accepted should be based on CSA and NYC Swim notions that for men, square cuts are the longest bathing attire permissable? (if that wasn't the longest run on question I don't know what is!) I'm still going to stick with my opinionated beliefs of square cuts or briefs are going to be my option for non-training swims so that somone in the 22nd century doesn't say that I didn't abide by the correct parameters although by then, they may revert to saying sans bathing suits in general and that any artificial clothing aside from a birthday suit is not permissable whereby all of our swims will be non-marathon swimming criteria!
  • KNicholas said:

    Steve Furniss (TYR) - "what made them (jammers) faster was buoyancy . . . larger surface area with lower drag coefficient . . . it lifted the swimmer."

    Hmmmm . . . isn't buoyancy the beef with wetsuits?

    You missed the important part of that quote "We must realize that rules have changed since their introduction," - jammers can no longer be made with buoyant materials and their drag reducing abilities are also less than in the tech suit era.

    The article is a bit disingenuous in that it conflates jammers with the full body tech suits, and a modern FINA approved (i.e. porous and non buoyant) jammer is not anywhere in that league. Given that men's jammers offer a similar amount of coverage to a women's one piece I hardly see them as offering up a crazy unfair advantage.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • The reference to rule changes doesn't change the substance of Steve's buoyancy quote. The pendulum period of FINA rules for pool swimmers was great for suit manufacturers and the athletes / Heros they support but was it great for the sport?
  • @knicholas By selectively quoting Steve someone who did not read the whole article might come away with the mistaken impression that jammers are inherently buoyant.

    I am by no means a fan of the tech suit era, but conversely I don't think that the previous use of the now banned materials should prejudice people against jammers as a style of swimsuit in marathon swimming.

    It's a bit of a crusade for me as any search through these forums is likely to reveal :)
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • KNicholasKNicholas Member
    edited March 26
    I'm a crusade-less square suit guy without any strong opinions on it either way. It's more of a comfort issue for me since speed takes second fiddle to having a good time.
  • firebahfirebah Member
    Does wearing jammers provide any degree of warmth over briefs or square cut assuming they are made of acceptable materials for marathon swimming?
  • firebah said:

    Does wearing jammers provide any degree of warmth over briefs or square cut assuming they are made of acceptable materials for marathon swimming?

    Is a one piece warmer than a bikini? *

    Approved materials are porous so you don't get the wetsuit effect of a trapped insulating layer of water. Any benefits of a jammer vs being naked are likely to negligible to the best of my knowledge.

    * comparison is not quite exact since the portions of the body covered are different and I would suspect that covering the core would be more beneficial than the thighs if any warming benefit was to be had, but I think you get the point.

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    firebah said:

    Does wearing jammers provide any degree of warmth over briefs or square cut assuming they are made of acceptable materials for marathon swimming?

    Compression? certainly; warmth? nope.
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • paulmpaulm Member
    I have always been of the believe of Briefs (male & Female ) over jammers. As DB mentioned above there is compression & maybe other advantages with Jammers........If we are going Jammers than why not full leg & full arm (similar to stinger suits ?? )

  • The technical issues with certain jammers is not necessarily in the distant past. I nearly bought the expensive Arena suit in an effort to beat an old high school foe in the 50 free - fortunately we tied to the hundredth and I saved myself hundreds of dollars and the possible grief of having the appearance of an unfair advantage.

    http://www.jammerreviews.com/some-powerskin-carbon-pro-suits-banned/
  • My Speedo endurance jammer is about as far from performance swimwear as you can get :)
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • So if I understand this, my £5 jammers will make me faster than my £5 speedo?
  • @sharkbaitza, where the hell are you getting speedos for £5? (This bloody country, about €30).
  • I've gone the opposite direction. When I first started getting serious about swimming 10 years ago I slowly progressed from baggy board shorts to jammers to square legs and finally to briefs, which is all I wear now. The first time I bought square legs my wife shook her head and remarked that I should go no further with regard to skimpiness, but it was inevitable. I think the defining moment for me was when I was marked ineligible for awards at an NYCSWIM race b/c of my jammers, up until then I didn't realize they had a rule banning them. Since then I've been in legless suits.

    @loneswimmer, this is my source for £5 briefs:
    Swim Outlet briefs
    and £1.5 swedish goggles:
    Swim Outlet Swedish Goggles
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    edited March 27

    I slowly progressed from baggy board shorts to jammers to square legs and finally to briefs, which is all I wear now.

    The logical next step is g-string. pass the desitin....
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • edited March 27

    I slowly progressed from baggy board shorts to jammers to square legs and finally to briefs, which is all I wear now.

    The logical next step is g-string. pass the desitin....
    And after that, dental floss. Pass the blinders...

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
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