The Wetsuit thread *gasp*

Laflamme02Laflamme02 Member
edited December 2013 in General Discussion
Similar to the OW goggles thread, what is/are the best farmer john wetsuits for marathon swimming? I would prefer not to spend $500 but I would rather have something that is enjoyable to wear than cheap. I would be using it for one-off OW races 2-5 miles in length, but its primary purpose would be for training in 50-60 degree water.

I know the general consensus is going to be "buck up and acclimatize!" to that question and while I don't necessarily disagree with that sentiment it doesn't help me in the short term. I'm hoping to ease into this whole cold water nonsense that seems to be such a necessary part of open water swimming and a farmer john wetsuit seems like the best idea. And being in Maine I like how wetsuits are able to extend what is already a very very short season. I currently own a full sleeved Profile Design Wahoo, which I loathe intensely due to the restricted arm movement as well as how confined and boxed in I feel. I suspect that has to do with to the low quality of the suit.

Additionally, and this might be something that someone has advice about, I FEEL safer in a wetsuit. I struggle pretty intensely with fear of deep water (not of drowning, just of the unseen) and when I'm in a wet suit I'm able to calm myself down a little more easily when there is 300 feet of blackness below me, or just 15. It's the illusion of security. But the idea of conquering that fear is one of the major elements that attracts me to open water swimming. It terrifies the hell out of me. Swimming out to sea from the shore is so unthinkable to me I bet my heart would explode if I tried it, even with a kayaker, fins, a flotation device, hand paddles, a pull buoy, and...a streamer.

p.s. - I looked through the archived threads and didn't see one that corresponded so I thought I would spin up a new one.
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Comments

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    When I started swimming in SF Bay I used a wetsuit, a top of the line Blue Seventy sleeved model which worked fine once it was on. The only negative to it was the zipper engaged from the neck which was a right pain to manage by yourself (more than once I had to ask for assistance from another person in the SERC locker room).

    From memory most of the tri-wetsuit makes tended to have models that fall into the $200/$400/$600 brackets. I'd still look at a sleeved mid tier model or a last years high end model (often you can get a good deal) rather than a farmer john, the better wetsuits really have almost no impact on your stroke and sleeved will definitely make it easier when the temps get down to 50.

    The other thing would be to trial the wetsuit - in SF at least there are some retailers who will let you rent a wetsuit and will put the rental cost towards the purchase price of a new wetsuit. This would allow you to check out different models and make a better decision on sleeved vs non sleeved.

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

  • Screw easing! Get cold till you turn blue and grow more body hair. Find out why we are all so addicted to it. I started in the deep of winter and if I can do it, anyone can.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • Dawn_TreaderDawn_Treader Member
    edited December 2013
    Jackie, I salute you!

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    I've got a blue seventy that I can sell you. Farmer John, worn twice (once in the pool, once in a 10K).
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
    At about 2:30 of the video, there is a (Polish?) guy speaking and holding what looks like a watch battery that he subsequently swallows. Clearly, it can't be a watch battery - even I'm not that crazy. Can anyone actually explain what he is saying and what is actually going on in that segment of the video?

    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsCharter Member
    edited December 2013

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Charter Member

    At about 2:30 of the video, there is a (Polish?) guy speaking and holding what looks like a watch battery that he subsequently swallows. Clearly, it can't be a watch battery - even I'm not that crazy. Can anyone actually explain what he is saying and what is actually going on in that segment of the video?

    Given that the video appears to be of the endurance race I think it's one of those pills that measures core body temperature.

  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    @Laflamme02, no scolding from here. Do whatever makes you happy and your swim enjoyable and comfortable. The water belongs to everyone.

    When I started off in open water, I had a Blueseventy Reactor suit that was fairly decent. My triathlete friends are raving about HUUB suits.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsCharter Member

    http://openwaterswimmer.blogspot.nl 15 December 2013, Tyumen.
    Last year, Russian Andrei Sychev set a world record - 2250m. This year, Henry Kaarma (Henri Kaarma) from Estonia set a new world record after swimming 2,400 meters in 41 minutes 57 seconds at a temperature of 0,8 ° C water ! Henry surprised everyone - swim was stopped by the referee's whistle, although Estonian signaled that can swim more!

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    I own a couple of Xterra suits: a full and a john. Great suits. However the best suit is the one that fits you the best. Try different manufacturers and sizes. Xterra has only direct sales but there is a no questions asked return policy, just make sure you understand how to put on a wetsuit without damaging it. Start with clipping and filing your finger nails.

    Someone told me that swimmers get the most out of the high end suits. I completely agree. They are more flexible, and I forget I have mine on. Look for very thin 1 mm to 2 mm in areas under and down the arms, and across the shoulders. The advantage to a john is that there is no coverage in most of those areas. This allows you to avoid the high priced top of the line full suits (which are amazing nevertheless). Xterra is constantly having sales so you should never have to pay list price if you plan ahead.

  • bobswims said:

    just make sure you understand how to put on a wetsuit without damaging it. Start with clipping and filing your finger nails.

    I use a freezer bag. Put your foot in the bag, push it down the leg of the suit. Repeat with the other foot and your hands. Slips easily into the suit, negates the need to worry about finger and toenails.

    Jon
    dpm50
  • Speedo do a range of thinner wetsuits 1-2nm. You need to try on though I have large shoulders for my frame and have found 2xu and a couple of others are far too tight for arm flexibility. Or just swim in Greece : )
  • Thankfully, my lovely wife pays attention to me and I was the grateful recipient of a Tyr Cat 1sleeveless suit this Christmas. I'm looking forward to testing it out in the spring and then taking it off when either a) I acclimatize or b) the water warms.
  • SuirThingSuirThing Carrick-on-Suir, IrelandMember
    edited April 2014
    I will be swimming the first leg of a local triathlon as part of a relay team. I've been informed that wetsuits will be mandatory. How much wetsuit training would be required for optimum performance in the race given that I would obviously intend doing the majority of my swimming in togs? My teammates are top drawer (cyclist competed at the Olympics!) and I want to put in a decent performance.

    I tried to convince myself, but, orange flavour electrolyte, mixed with hot chocolate, tastes nothing like Terry's Chocolate Orange ....

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    @SuirThing, have you tried to approach the race organizers with a resume of your "cold" water experience and a waiver that you sign and see if they'll allow you to not swim in a wetsuit? Even the brits allow that in their Dart 10K.
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    I'd suggest getting yourself a sleeveless full length suit. These suits are very nearly as fast as a sleeved suit but don't give shoulder flexibility issues. They are pretty easy to have a good fit in.

    That will allow you to rent a suit, and try it out a couple of days before the race. That should be adequate. with the sleeveless full suit you'll also be able to put in a cracker jack time for your team mates.
  • SuirThingSuirThing Carrick-on-Suir, IrelandMember
    edited November 20
    @IronMike
    Wetsuits only become optional for Triathlon Ireland events at temperatures that @loneswimmer would describe as "entirely theoretical"

    @Kevin_in_MD
    I have a suit already but on the couple of occasions that I used it I found it a bit strange. My stroke just felt different, a bit like wearing the wrong size shoes or something .... Just wondering how much practice to take away that feeling?

    I tried to convince myself, but, orange flavour electrolyte, mixed with hot chocolate, tastes nothing like Terry's Chocolate Orange ....

  • AlisonAlison Member
    edited November 20

    This morning, I swam in Lake Michigan off downtown Chicago with Open Water Chicago. The water temperature was a frigid 53F, so most swimmers wore wetsuits.

    I borrowed a wetsuit, which kept me toasty warm, but I felt like I was swimming in a submarine with only my bare arms windmilling outside padded neoprene walls. It felt like I was participating in an activity entirely different from open water swimming. Now, I know there are plenty of folks who use wetsuits, and I don't intend to dismiss their choice at all. Everyone's body is different: to each her own. But for me, my whole body felt so disconnected from itself, wearing this thing. I kept forgetting to kick, it felt like my arms weren't connected to my torso, and the wetsuit chafed an angry red line on my neck.

    I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to swim a mile in 53 degree water. But the kind of swimmer I am, I'd much prefer to swim a shorter distance and feel the lake's chill cradle me instead of being all sausaged up in a wetsuit. I love my relationship with the water, how it yields to accommodate exactly my shape, how it provides exactly the amount of resistance I ask of it to propel me forward. The lake and I are in conversation, and it's my bare (well, mostly bare) skin that's the main instrument of our communication.

    When the lake gets too cold for me, that's OK. I know it has its own conversation with nature and the seasons, and I can't always be included in it. It makes me appreciate the short time I have with it all the more.

    This is what I learned today wearing a wetsuit.

    Niekdpm50jmm234
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    edited November 20

    @Alison I hear you on this. My swim group has stopped open water swims for the season. My goal was to go as long as I could without a wetsuit, and that apparently was 62 degrees, air temp in 50s. After that, coach ordered me to wear a wetsuit. I respect him and he's mindful of his responsibility to see to all swimmers' safety. So when I was shivering like crazy and wearing winter clothes after swimming skin one evening, that had him concerned. Fortunately, we got a few warm days w/ water temp climbing to 65 and air temp 80, so he relented and let me go skin one more time. But at the end of October, on another warm day that had been preceded by some chilly weather, the water went down to 55, and I was back in a wetsuit, although feeling wimpy. Still, my thought is that my wetsuit is a species of "training wheels." My acclimation to cold water is definitely a work in progress.

    I will say, I responded a lot better this year to the 55 water temp than I did last year--in a wetsuit--to 58 degrees. I was able to last longer, and I'd hoped to try it skin the following week, but as I was the only person on board with a swim the first Sunday in November and they needed 5, the swim was canceled. C'est la vie!

    And now, with open water swimming done for the season, I have to content myself with cold showers! ;)

    But I hear you... when I swim with a wetsuit, I feel so constricted and it's harder to get into my stroke rhythm. I have one so as to extend the swim season and (as mentioned) to work my way into swimming skin in cooler water). I like it better not to have a wetsuit on. It's so freeing. Yet I also don't like freezing. Dilemmas, dilemmas! :)

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