Swimming wetsuit - Tri wetsuit
by Gary Standen
(Livermead Devon UK)
At age 52 someone asked if I'd like to join a charity 1 mile sea swim at the weekend but I hadn't swam for many years and never in the uk autumn sea. A quick visit to a local surf shop resulted in my girlfriend of 16yrs and I purchasing in error winter wetsuits. We completed the swim in relative damp warmth but slowly as the suits each acted more like a lilo than helpful swimwear. We continued to pursue our new hobby adding gloves & boots to survive our first winter wild swimming.
After 6 months, in May for my birthday, my girlfriend treated me to my first swimming/triathlete wetsuit and what a difference it made! From the first dive into the sea the suit helped me to glide, allowing me to concentrate on my stroke technique and correct body line. It felt as though I'd lost a stone in weight and instead of the surf suit soaking up water after a short while the new suit resisted the water, repelling it and enabling a longer swim. Throughout that swim I was beaming with joy and I've never looked back. A month later for her birthday my girlfriend was in her version and similarly declaring her new enthusiasm to improve her swimming.
Now if you swim in warm waters you'll not be aware of how much cold water affects both limbs and the brain, resulting in reduced performance and limited pleasure. The correct swimming wetsuits are designed for purpose. They work!
In additional I'd had 11 operations for skin cancers in 6 years with ongoing treatment still. My surgeon turned out to be a sea swimmer himself so was very supportive in my wearing a suit as it added to by a swimcap pretty much insulates me from harmful sunshine too. Even on cloudy days that is a serious factor. So all in all the (correct) wetsuit has become my 'must have' swimming gear.
Btw a year into sea swims we wanted safe visibility from jetskiers etc whilst maintaining fun in our hobby so we designed a swimcap with the happy face logo from my cancer t-shirt. These became increasingly popular and now sell to anyone wishing to wear a smile when swimming. See www.happywildswimming.com