For the Ladies

upafishyupafishy Member
edited January 2014 in General Discussion
I know for some the ankle length suits are contentious, but after hypothermia quite badly last year I am willing to give anything a try even if its just placebo to get me all the way to Rotto this year. I am concerned about this thread going a Bit dodgey but any advice would be appreciated.

I have a speedo full length suit (open racer back but to the ankle) and after the physical battle to get into the suit I ahem ... Am having a few issues keeping 'things' where they should be whilst swimming.

I was wondering if anyone had any tips or recommended suits with a bit more 'coverage'? I was considering the Arena ones but thought if anyone had any advice before I form out the $500 bucks for a suit with the same issue as my current one.


  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    The FINA approved open water suits are still textile and don't (to the best of my knowledge) have any heat retaining properties so any hypothermic protection would be a placebo in nature. Did you do the swim as a relay/duo or solo last year? The air temp last year was relatively cool which is harder on a relay member as you have to deal with evaporative cooling when you get out of the water, whereas the water temp was pretty much as good as it gets (at least for me).

    (and for forum members not familiar with the Rottnest Channel Swim, they allow FINA approved open water suits) - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • @upafishy, can I ask you to define your own "hypothermia quite badly last year" experience? (Also, I'm not a lady).

    Just as appropriate, I'd question the base assumption whether someone asking about hypo in such warm water is really ready, and there's no insult intended there.

    Bad (i.e. Severe) hypothermia I'd consider as requiring hospitalization. It's a core temperature drop of ~>6 C. Moderate hypo is pretty bad and not at all moderate but pretty regular for cold water swimmers, occasionally resulting in short term memory loss or loss of mental acuity but definitely un-coordinated & slow physical movement. However though I've never been there, water temperature in Rotto is over 20C. Often 20 to 25C. Rotto is NOT cold water. A swimmer in water of 24C won't get hypothermia because the temperature differential (body+ air +water + heat generation from movement) isn't sufficient. I seem to recall a study showing hypothermia will not occur in water above 24C even in a floating person. Just being uncomfortable is normal. Hell, I'd often be happy to just be uncomfortable.

    @dc_in_sf's question about whether you were on a relay is apposite. Evaporative out-of-water cooling acclimatisation is addressed through getting used to getting in and out of water, and staying covered out of the wind when out of water.

    In the water some swimmers believe a heavy grease coating, which is allowed, helps with heat or least acts as a wind barrier when applied liberally across the swimmer's back.

    The only other solutions to a perceived hypo problem that relates specifically to marathon swimmers, and a decision everyone here makes, are not heat retaining suits; but to train more or not swim, because the aim of our sport is to swim without such aid.
  • Hi. I don't have any experience with ankle length suits, but I do frequently wear kneesuits. I'm not convinced that additional coverage from the knee to the ankle would keep you any warmer.

    Regarding "coverage", I've tried a number of types of kneesuit and I've found the ones that hold me in and give me the best coverage are the kneesuits from Agonswim. You can get them in lightweight racing fabric. My only reservations with wearing a tighter kneesuit or ankle suit to keep things in place rather than a looser traditional suit for a marathon swim are that (a) they could lead to a lot of chafing in seawater and (b) they could be problematic in case you get a call of nature....
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    edited January 2014
    @loneswimmer despite the balmy temperatures of the Rotto swim compared to your neck of the woods, hypothermia in solo swimmers is still a significant risk.

    There was a study done a few years ago on the race where

    Short-stay medical care at the island nursing post for
    rewarming was required for 5 patients. A further 2 patients
    required transfer for mainland intensive care unit
    management. One suffered hypothermia, atrial fibrillation,
    and immersion syndrome. The other suffered an
    asystolic, hypothermic cardiac arrest with a documented
    40-minute period of pulselessness that finally responded
    to advanced life support. Both made full functional recoveries.
    All other patients were managed in the race
    medical tent.

    The race website used to host the study but apparently it is no longer available though I have a copy, according to the paper the water temperature varied from 19-22C. - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • I appear to have thrown a few people off, as I was seeking more along the lines of feedback related to recommended bathers and the 'cut' of them. (But just poorly worded so apologies) So thanks Zoesadler that type of info was more what I was seeking. Not wetsuits (not allowed for one and two I can't swim at all in them throws my stroke out) just the longer FINA approved suits like knee or ankle length as I feel I need a bit placebo 'warmth' to help me this year.

    In relation to hypothermia in Rotto swimmers (which may be better as a different thread) its a very common occurrence each year for several swimmers (even experienced open water
    ones - one of the seeded swimmers got pulled out one year, I can't recall which one) to come undone as a result. I recall the study that was mentioned also and as such is a big focus by the RCSA each year to prevent such occurrences. That research was likely based on a particularly bad year, when the swim should have been cancelled (not being able to see the island for the swell and storm clouds and delaying the start by over an hour should have been a big clue - that year more than half the field didn't make it solos and teams combined) I think perhaps it is a combination of factors as opposed to being defined purely by water temp as mentioned by loneswimmer. In other threads fatigue is mentioned, as is the length of time in the water, nutrition, body fat, training methods, going out too hard or too slow, air temp, wind, current etc. So even though our water is balmy comparitively the risks still remain, but the causes are likely different i.e. not making 15k by 11am and swimming the last 5k in the same time as the first 10 as it usually happens. But thanks for the input :) and if that needs to be a different thread again apologies - still new.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    @upafishy Good luck in whatever suit you swim in. In my limited experience it is one of the most fun swims out there, I'd do it every year if I was still living in Perth. - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • heartheart San Francisco, CAMember
    edited January 2014
    I think it's a really individual choice, @upafishy. I find that the best suit for me is a suit whose existence is not on my mind at all during a swim. Which is how I concluded that halter tops are the worst thing for open water swims - you feel the knot during sighting, ugh!

    One-piece suits pull on my shoulders (and, having had to poop at Tampa Bay, I share @ZoeSadler's concerns), so I wear workout bikinis (the most comfortable I found are by Athleta, which fortuitously has a 70% sale right now.) I'd suggest giving some suits a try and seeing what's most comfortable to you; what helps with the cold might be chafing and uncomfortable or vice versa, and you don't want to pay a price of discomfort.
  • I've swum in the speedo "drag" suit... It's one suit but has a third layer on it and it might be totally psychological, but I swear it keeps my core a little warmer! They are the bright colored suits with tears on the side .
Sign In or Register to comment.