Archive for the Wetsuit Category

Black Rubber

Posted in Triathlon, Wetsuit with tags on May 14, 2011 by brianestover

I opened the big box and what do I see? Four sleek, black wetsuits for me!

Wetsuits ready for the swim off

Since my previous wetsuit no longer does triathlon, I asked the good folks at Trisports for not one, not two but four wetsuits to pit against each other. I do this for you my 21 readers, so that you can select the most dominate wetsuit to dominate in. And maybe so I get into the pool more then once a week. Let’s not forget that part, but really, it’s all about you.

Since I’m limited on time, I chose four wetsuits that seemed like fast suits based upon what I know about wetsuits. These suits also seemed based upon sizing charts to be good fits.

From my previous testing we know most suits will fall within a fairly narrow window. The goal of this testing will be to see which suit is the fastest of this selection and hopefully gain some fitness in the process. Once again I’ll be doing cross over testing swimming each suit two times. The first suit will also be the last suit tested in order to reduce increasing fitness from influencing the results.

I’m in pretty decent swim shape right now based upon last weekend’s triathlon although in review of the swim, those guys blew me off their feet in the last 150 meters. Currently I’m a one speed wonder in the pool. recent 100 repeat times have been on average :02 faster then I’m holding for 400 and 500 repeats.

The four suits I chose were the Orca 3.8, QR Superfull, the TYR Category 3 and the Zoot Prophet.

I’ll be posting results here soon. The goal is to get this testing done fairly quickly.

Nineteen Frequency

Posted in Triathlon, Wetsuit with tags , , , , , , on May 11, 2011 by brianestover

Since I currently am sans wet suit, the good folks at let me borrow two for my race last weekend. I choose the Nineteen Frequency to do the race in leaving the other suit at home.

The Frequency is Nineteen’s top of the line wet suit. The main chest panel and legs are 5mm to float you high and make you fast. The arms, lats and lower back have a very flexible 1.5mm #40 rubber panelling. This enables the arms to have a full range of motion. I did not notice any restriction when swimming. The 1.5mm arms also make the suit very easy to peel off the top of your body.

Nineteen Frequency

Wingspan System

There are several features and a lack of a feature which make this suit an awesome suit. Lets get to the lack of feature because it’s this lack of feature that helps a suit swim faster. There are no water gripping panels in the forearms. It seems every top of the line suit has some sort of panels. While I’ve not seen the data for the latest round of suits (2010 and on), I have seen data showing that these gripper panels at best have no propulsive function and in many suits actually cause the suit to be slower then the same suit without gripper panels. Unfortunately most companies view gripper panels as a must have to satisfy the I need another gimmick crowd.

The features that make this suit a good suit include the 2mm panel on the back of the calf and the legs that facilitate easy removal of the suit in transition. The suit is also cut higher in the back of the legs to help slip over your heels. Nineteen calls it EasyOff Legs and the suit does come off easily.

The other feature that in my opinion Nineteen does better then many of the brands is what they call Kungfu grip arms. It’s a small piece of silicone around the inside of the wrists. This helps keep the suit locked to your wrist and helps prevent water from flowing up into the arms upon entry and catch. During my race I never noticed any water flowing up into the suit. Unlike some other suits I’ve swam in, this suit is easy to remove over the wrists and hands. My previous wet suit always engaged you in a wrestling match to get out of it. The KungFu gripper tape works better since you are not wasting your time or energy wrestling with it in T1.

KungFu Arm Gripper

There were two small things I did not like about his suit. The first was upon jumping into the water I noticed water immediately entering trough the zipper area. The second was the velcro closure. The side that closes over the collar sealing it shut has been reinforced. While that reinforcement makes it easy to grab and open upon exiting the water, it took several tries to position it so that it did not scratch my neck. The neck collar itself is very comfortable and well designed. I never thought about it, did not get a wet suit hickey even without body glide and never had any water leak in while swimming. All of which are very, very good things.

Collar Tab

This is a very well thought out and designed suit that fits true to the size chart. It’s non gimmicky, it’s designed to keep water out, float you high, help you swim fast and make T1 as easy as possible. If you are looking to get out in front of the crowd and swim fast, this could be your suit. You can read more about it here.

Panic? What panic?

Posted in Triathlon, Wetsuit with tags , , , , , on April 9, 2011 by brianestover

Who was panicking? Not me. You know why? I had a plan. A plan so great, a plan so awesome, a plan of pure genius that there was no need to panic.

An email to the wet suit buyer at my favorite triathlon store, Trisports, and I had not one but two wet suits hand delivered to me. Yes, I said hand delivered. How’s that for customer service? Now the problem, and it’s a good problem to have, is which of these kick ass suits do I wear?

Or as the Blacksheep asked “Do I go with this” Nineteen Frequency “or do I go with that?” Blue Seventy Helix

Nineteen Frequency

Blue Seventy Helix

But the news only gets better. I ran yesterday for four miles. While the first 3 minutes I thought I might need CPR, for the next three I was thinking maybe just O2 flowing at 4L/min. Finally after a few more minutes I convinced myself that I probably wasn’t going to die on the treadmill. The good news was no hamstring pain. Did I mention what a pain in that ass that was? Literally? This morning I woke up and knocked out 7.1 miles with just a small twinge 32 minutes into my run. It never got worse and wasn’t noticeable by the end of the run.

The downfall of having such a genius plan, is that now I’ll be that guy. You know, the guy you see at a triathlon who has 2-3 of everything. I’ll have my old Blue Seventy Helix as a just in case suit, the new Helix loaner suit and the Nineteen loaner suit. I’ve already packed three front wheels in the car. Since it might be raining, I’ll have all my rain kit with me. So now it boils down to making the drive, not forgetting my USAT card again, then showing up race morning and playing Paper Scissors Rock with myself to choose a suit and then actually racing.

But for now, it’s off to the trainer since it’s raining. Netflix sent me the last season of Weeds. I’m about to watch a few episodes and bang out some intervals on my bike.

The Wetsuit Testing Begins!

Posted in Swimming, Triathlon, Wetsuit with tags on December 19, 2008 by brianestover

Wetsuits. If you do triathlon you need one. My wetsuit self destructed a few weeks after my last tri when I was doing some open water swimming.  Zipper broke, a few seams split.  It seems it was one swim too many for the old suit.  It served me well, helping me exit 1st out of the water a few times, and in the lead of the lead pack a few more times.  I was convinced that for me, it was the fastest of the wetsuits I tried on several years ago.  I’d get another one just like but that model has been “upgraded” ie, redesigned, new an improved, etc.  sigh. 

So what happens when I need a new wetsuit? I head down to my sponsor and arrange to get a suit in every brand they carry in my size. From them I get a Blue 70, Zoot, QR, Synergy (which after seeing this video  I’m a little curious about the new player in the wetsuit market) and a 2XU . After posting on my desires to test wetsuits, the good folks at Desoto sports, NineteenWetsuits, and Xterra wetsuits contacted me about getting into the trial.  I also contacted Aquaman since I’ve always have been intrigued by their suits.  They had to ship it in from France since they had none in the US in my size. A Big Thank you to them for this.

I established some protocals to follow for the testing to keep it above board.  First I’m blinded to the suits I’m swimming in for round 1 until the day I test them.  I’m smart enough to figure out the last two suits but have only a 50/50 chance at guessing which will be swam first.  There will be two rounds of testing. Each round is going to consist of 2×400 scy on the 6 min.  Two suits will get tested per day. The suits have been randomily selected an neither I nor the selector knows which suits are going when.   After I finish round 1, round 2 will be reverse order of round 1. Each suit ultimately gets 4×400 of swimming.  This should help eliminate fitness gains and give each suit a fresh swim.  The first and last swims I’ll be swimming without a wetsuit to establish a front and back end barometer on how fast everything was/is.  Warm ups each day will be kept the same and I’ll be swimming 200yds after switching suits to make sure it’s on properly. 
This should give me a good idea as to what is the fastest wetsuit for me (not for you since we all swim differently) as well as how much faster I swim per 400 with a wetsuit vs without.  I wish I could say I’m in great swim shape, but alas, since Soma Half ironman in late October, I’ve been averaging 1 swim per week for an average of 2200 yds.  This is well below my season average of 1.5 swims per week and 7500-9000 yds that I would normally do.  
Yesterday was the first day of testing and I swam without a wetsuit.  I split out 5:07 and 5:10 for my 400s.  The :03 drop off (and the times) really tells me that I’ve not been swimming too much lately. Amazingly it correlates to the training log which says the exact thing.  Brilliant! and I’ll be having a few Guiness tonight to celebrate that stunning discovery.
I’m a pretty consistent repeat to repeat swimmer, able to swim +/- :01 for repeats all day long. Since Thanksgiving I’ve swam a couple of times. Once the main set was 3×600 on the 8 minutes every 100 was split out at 1:20/100 pace and 4×200 on 2:55.  The first 3 were at 2:37 the last was 2:36. 
It’s freezing cold in Tucson today, but in a wetsuit the fear I have of actually getting into water shouldn’t be a concern.  Yesterday it was all of 50F and windy.  Try standing on the pool deck wearing goggles and a swimsuit. Brrr. Not so fun. I don’t know why I hate getting into the pool so much. But alas I need to get over it quickly since I’ve got a bunch of wetsuits to test.