How much faster do you swim with a wetsuit? To find out, I swam a timed 1000 with and without my wetsuit. Ready… Set… Go!
Now, on my first attempt with the wetsuit, I actually had to abort because I got too hot. After finding a cooler pool, I tried again. Ultimately, I was almost 24 seconds faster with the wetsuit than without it. However, most of that time drop was over the course of the 1st 500. If we look at my 100 splits, my wetsuit advantage decreased during the second half of the swim. Why? Well, it’s primarily because of the flip turns.
While I was able to complete the flip, the buoyancy of wetsuit often pulled me closer to the wall than I was used to. Then, the extra weight of the wetsuit really took it out of my legs when pushing off. Finally, I didn’t feel like I was able to streamline off the wall as well with the wetsuit on.
Still, I was faster with the wetsuit. In addition to helping my speed early on, the wetsuit helped reduce my stroke count. With the wetsuit, I was taking 17 strokes per 25. Without the wetsuit, I was taking 18 to 19 strokes per 25. Over the course of a long swim, those extra strokes can add up. That’s about a 100 extra strokes over the course of a mile. Also, the wetsuit kept me warm. While that’s not important when you’re in the pool, it can be very important in an open water swim.
Overall, the wetsuit beats no-wetsuit. However, if I was doing a sprint triathlon on a hot day, I might forgo the wetsuit in favor of a cooler swim and a faster transition. Thanks for reading/watching.