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Swim Club Blog: Put Your Wetsuit On Properly!!

The Endurance Store Swim Club provides you with simple swim training plans throughout the winter months. The plan runs October to October and is completely free. We only ask that you pre-register so that your training plans can be emailed directly.

Registration is free and you may unsubscribe at any time from the Swim Club and stop receiving updates. Overview of the swim plan be seen below, but before you start you need to complete a test to set your swim paces, then register and download the sessions. GO HERE to register for swim club.

Well the open water season is almost here and it's time to dust off the wetsuit and get ready to swim! We're looking forwards to getting into the water and swimming with the sunshine on our backs, but we're lucky as the weather is always like that in Wigan.

Anyhow, one of the most common issues we see is wetsuits which don't fit correctly. Sometimes it's due to way it's been put on and other times, it's just the wrong size suit. If your suit doesn't fit, the 2 outcomes are that you'll swim slower and you'll also risk getting very cold.

IMPORTANT: We've realised over the years that 'sizing charts' are NOT a good guide. Most sizing guides are generous and can lead to the suit being too big. Here's our most common fitting problems and how to solve them:

1. "I don't have a swim specific suit, but i do have a shortie / windsurfing wetsuit, will that be ok?" We get that a lot and the simple answer is 'no', it really won't be ok if you want to swim well. The neoprene is completely inflexible and as a result, the only way to allow movement is to wear a suit which is too big, which results in water flusing through. It's not a nice experience and will ruin your enjoyment and performance.

2. "This suit feels too small, are you sure it's the right side?" This is the second most common issue, left to their own devices, the majority of people will buy a suit which is too big for them. Swimming wetsuits are made from very flexible neoprene, this means that you can vacuum pack someone into a suit and they can still move their arms freely. IMPORTANT - It's the flexibility of the neoprene, NOT the size of the suit which gives you the movement, don't buy too big.

3. "How do I know if it's too big?" Well there are some telling signs, if you can reach round and zip it up yourself quite easily without pulling your shoulder blades together, it may well be too big. Pull on the lower back area (arch in your lower back), is there plenty of give and an empty space in the small of your back or is it a hugging fit?

4. "It feels so tight across the chest, I can't breathe" Some people do feel like this, even when they have the correct sized suit. In rare cases, if this really bothers you, then you may have to purposefully use a suit which is too big, or choose a model which isn't as tailored in the waist and chest. Some suits such as 2XU are a more tailored fit, compared to Aquasphere, which tend to be more generous and not suitable for slim people.

5. "I need buoyancy, give me the thickest suit with the most buoyancy" We get that one a lot and it's largely down to marketing tricks. You can buy cheap suits which are 5mm thick throughout the whole body and you'll float like a cork on top of the water. Sadly the flexibility is so poor, your arms will become tired after only a short distance of swimming. Don't get obsessed with buoyancy and thickness of neoprene.

6. "So flexibility is key?" Yes, in places where you NEED to be flexible, but not in others. That's why many suits have 5mm in the body panels but 2-3mm in the shoulder panels.

IMPORTANT - Flexibility is a great thing, but sadly it has a downside. Flexible neoprene is not hard wearing and you can rip it very easily. When putting on your suit, even cacthing it with a nail will slice the neoprene. This isn't a suit fault, it's a downside which goes hand in hand with flexibility. Expect your suit to tear easily and handle with care.

7. "When I lean forwards and touch my toes, it feels really tight in the back, I can barely bend forwards" .... Why are you trying to bend forwards? Who does front crawl in that position?

8. "Are more expensive suits better than cheap ones?" No, they are definitely not. The best wetsuit for you is the one that fits perfectly. Different manufacturers have different sizings, so a large Zone3 will be different to a large TYR. Not only is the sizing different, the fit is also different. Some are tailored and have a slimmer / tighter fit, whilst others are more flexible in the body for larger fit. If a larger person buys a suit which is a slimmer / tailored fit, they would have to upsize, resulting in the legs and arms being too long, so brand choice is very important.

Wherever you're swimming this year, enjoy the water. Feel free to join us at our regular Wednesday night open water coached swim sessions DETAILS HERE and if you have any wetsuit questions, give us a call on 01257 251217 or call in and see us.

The Endurance Store

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