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If wetsuits are allowed on race day you must wear one to be competitive! There is no doubt; with a wetsuit you have more buoyancy, floating higher in the water and thus have less resistance. Everyone goes faster with a wetsuit.

It's true, some experienced swimmers with perfect body position and a strong kick will prefer not to race in a wetsuit, but they will wear one because even they'll be faster with than without. The difference is that their advantage over less efficient swimmers is less with wetsuit than without.

Wetsuits with sleeves are ALWAYS faster. Have you ever seen an elite athlete in a sleeveless wetsuit? Never happens. Beginners will argue that the sleeves restrict movement, and this is true to a point. But, a tight-fitting wetsuit will actually help your pull; the only time you will feel more resistance is on the recovery. The more neoprene material (sleeves) the more buoyancy, the faster you go.

The tighter the wetsuit the better. In fact wetsuits get looser with age (and some athletes lose weight as they get fitter!). The limiter is a wetsuit too tight through shoulders or at the neck, either of which will restrict breathing and/or circulation. You should choose a wetsuit size mostly based upon weight.

Race day should NOT be the first time you swim in your new wetsuit. If you have no opportunity to swim in open water, wear it in the pool a few times to get used to the feel. With a wetsuit your legs especially will float higher, and this forces your head lower which will be an unfamiliar sensation you need to get used to in training. And as I mentioned before, your shoulders will work harder on the arm recovery phase. Do some training in your wetsuit and with just a few swims you'll hardly notice you have it on. Time yourself in the pool with and without — free speed!

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