Friday, April 17, 2009

Wet Suit Fit

Did you read the prior blog on Wet Suit Shopping Tips??

Trying on a wet suit it a total experience and likely the experience is unlike any other in your like thus far. No other garment requires the strength and determination to try on. No other offers a full body fitting experience. It’s fair to say too, that no other clothing fitting asks for you to decide on a proper fit in an environment which contrasts with the environment in which you will perform in the garment. So, I offer these tips and a lot of luck.

Of the 3 suits you are to try on, you are looking for the one that goes on and off the easiest. Naturally each of you will be taller, sorter, thicker, thinner, wider and with different bumps and bulges. You will be surprised and likely elated when in your first suit as the fit is (likely) like nothing you’ve been in before. The suit should feel firm on your body but not overly constricting. Each suit will offer a feeling of constriction, so pick the one that offers the least of this sensation.
· Neck – When the vein/arteries are bulging in your neck it’s too tight. Along with a distinct strangle sensation.
· Chest – It should be firm but not so tight that you can’t take a deep long breath, like we do when swimming.
· Shoulders, arms and general body core - Feel free to swing your arms, stretch up tall in your streamline position (arms stretched above the head together), rotate the arms, twist in the waist, do a few squats, even a handstand if you can and the space allows.
· Thighs and Arms – Your thighs and upper arms should be able to handle a fair bit of pressure from the suit however it could be too loose. So check this out.
· Abs – Your mid section can take a fair bit of pressure too, so not to worry unless you find bending over totally impossible.
· Wrists – It can be too tight, making the exit difficult and too loose – allowing water to flow in and out of the suit.
· Ankles – Most suits, finally, ride fairly high on the calf and not right down at the ankles. Other wise, the same comment as was made for the wrists applies here.
· Zipper - Practice unzipping and rezipping a few times. For me, a critical deciding factor, as the coach, was being able to do it up by myself – not possible in all suit due to the design of the zipper – as I’m often the first person at the beach and am busy setting up or signing up athletes. This isn’t a huge factor for you as, hopefully, you will not be alone and it’s always good to buddy up for open water swimming.

Things not to base your decision on:
· Colour – the choice is likely mostly black in most cases. Just ignore the accent colour if possible.
· Usual Size – if you are regularly a medium and the large seems right, go with it. If you are a size ‘0’ and the one that fits is a 4, go with the flow.
· Price – it’s tough but if the most expensive one feels right, see if you can arrange to get it.

Wet Suit Try-on Do’s:
· Swim Suit - For some reason it is cool to be in a swim suit which covers no more than underwear, but somehow being seen in your underwear is not so cool. Don’t get caught up in this strange standard and wear your swim suit to the fitting.
· Changeroom Mirror - Be sure there is a mirror handy too as you will, at times, need to see what you are doing.
· Hair - If you have long hair bring along an elastic or scrunchy and tie your hair out of the way – a bun is better than a pony tail.
· Body Stubble – Give yourself a fresh body hair shave/wax/neet prior to the fitting day or wait for the hair to be a ¼ inch or so. It seems like a fine point but some body stubble can be tough and may inhibit your getting the suit on comfortably.

Wet Suit Try-on Don’ts:
· Some might suggest wearing sox or plastic bags on your feet. If you will not have these with you beach side, forget it! We are looking for the suit that is the easiest to get on and if you’ve got big wide feet, we’ve got to face this upfront.
· Baby Powder may be suggested, but not by me. Again, if you’re not going to have it beach side, don’t bother.
· There are several ‘glide’ products – silicone-based – used but they are there to assist with the rubbing of the suit when swimming in the suit and for an easy exit (they advertise). Although these are likely to help you getting in and out of the suit, imagine the condition of the suit if everyone used a bit of silicone – it would be too slippery to pull on. So, leave this out too!
· Jewelry and other piercings – be sure to remove any jewelry which protrudes remotely from the hands, neck, lips, ears, belly buttons, etc. Long earrings and neck chains are definitely out for this occasion.

And please, don’t Rush!
Rushing is likely to have you making a quick decision regarding the fit. Remember you will need a good 90 minutes to try on your 3 suits or more. And, try not to panic when getting in or out of the suit. When struggling to get out, you may find yourself falling over at some point into a display of tennis balls or something. Be mindful of your actions and think before moving – remain calm at all times!

Try to find some joy in your new purchase in the store and at home. Be confident that you’ve made the right choice under the strange conditions of fitting a wet suit. Really, the only true way to know if you’ve made the right choice is to swim in the suit.

Coach K

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