Wetsuits are Supposed to be Faster?

I did my first tri of the season last weekend and it went well, except for the swim. I never seem to have a good swim. I know that a good swim is all relative and I haven’t exactly been swimming for that long, but my pool times never seem to translate into my open water times.

A wetsuit is supposed to make you faster, due to the added buoyancy it gives you. It lifts you higher in the water and thus reduces the drag force exerted on your body by the water. The drag force is reduced because there is less body surface area in the water and as a result let drag. Most swimmers are about 2% faster in a wetsuit.

Swimming open water is supposed to be slower than swimming in a pool because of the waves and the lack of walls to push off of at the end of every 25m. So I’d think that the 2 factors or wetsuit and open water would kind of cancel each other out and for most people it does, but not in my cause. In my case I swim about 15 seconds slower per hundred! I’m not sure if it is because I’m taking it too easy or maybe I’m just not swimming a very good line, I do have a very poor sense of direction. Once when I was a eleven, I took the wrong streetcar home from school and ended up clear across town. I had to call my parents to come and pick my up, because I had no idea where I was. That was a long ride home.

To help find out what’s going on I’m going to try out a little experiment. New week I’m going to swim a 400 time trial in a wetsuit in a pool and see what happens. I want to see if I’m just not pushing hard enough or if somehow my stroke actually changes and I become slower or is it my poor sense of direction. I’ll let you know the outcome of my little experiment in my next entry.

Mike M.


2 responses to “Wetsuits are Supposed to be Faster?

  1. You could always check your swim line using the GPS-in-swim-cap method. I found I did an extra 50m in my last race with it!

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