Posted by Jacob Fraser


Swimming in the pool is wonderful. Its nothing but you and the water as you pull yourself along. No meetings, no deadlines, no worries. Just the strength of your body, the sound of the water, and the feel of your heartbeat. A large part of what makes swimming in a pool so great is the amount of control involved. The temperature is comfortably set, there are no waves, you have a line to follow to swim straight, and there is the safety of the walls, lane lines, and bottom. There is comfort in knowing you can swim exactly how you want, any stroke, any speed.


The open water is equally beautiful in its chaos. Changing temperatures, waves, and seaweed (yuck!) all create a different swim every time. Learning to adapt to the changing conditions of the open water can be tough, but it's a great way to strengthen our swimming. Adapting our swim means making 2 major changes. Adjusting our stroke and using different gear. This is where the advantages of the wetsuit really come in to play.


The primary purposes of wetsuits are:

1. They warm you up: Lake Michigan's temperatures can be tough for any swimmer, and a good wetsuit can keep you constantly swimming, even year round. A wetsuit will keep you warm in even the coldest of water temps. They are designed to let in a small amount of water so your body can warm it up and keep it warm!

2. They lift you up in the water: All swimming wetsuits are designed to put you in the optimal freestyle position when in the open water. Suits will do this by changing the thickness around certain body parts (specifically your legs, pelvis, and to a lesser extent your core). A wetsuit will keep you on top of the water, and really "flat" across the water as well.

3. The make you more hydrodynamic: Wetsuits are a skin tight fit so that you can expose as little of your body to the water as possible. Applied to the outside of the wetsuit is a hydrophobic coating of rubber. This allows you to slip through the water with the least amount of resistance on your body, even faster than bare skin!


Brands and styles of wetsuits will fit differently so, make sure you find the right model for you and it will make the difference between hating and loving the swim. Good open water wetsuits will be made with Yamamato Neoprene rubber and never be more than 5mm thick in any part. The advancement in the rubber technologies means that even full sleeved wetsuits are super flexible! No worries, you won't feel any arm restriction in the water.


It is worth noting that wetsuits come in different "types." For swimming and triathlons, you want an open water wetsuit also known as a swimming wetsuit. You want to avoid anything that is diving or surfing oriented. Diving and surfing wetsuits will not fit the same, will not offer the same buoyancy, and will not be nearly as flexible. Ultimately you should talk to a professional and try on a few wetsuits to find the right one for you. If you have the opportunity you can always rent a wetsuit as well and see how much easier it makes the swim.


Come by the shop some time to talk to one of our wetsuit fit experts and try one on today!


Shop wetsuits online.