How to Choose a High-Performance Swim Suit
Since the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, a new breed of performance swimwear has helped swimmers shave off more time than a Gillette Mach 3. Introduced to the mass market in 2000, these suits cover more of the body, and are revolutionizing competitive racing.
1. Understand how the suits work. By enclosing the body with a fabric that is smoother than skin, they make the swimmer more streamlined in the water. These suits actually change the way water flows around the body to create less drag. They also compress the body, which reduces vibration.
2. Check out the Aquablade and Fastskin suits on Speedo.com. TYR Sport (tyr.com) offers Aquapel, a coated fabric with a waterrepellent, hydrophobic finish in the Powerflow performance suit. Nike (nike.com) has a comparable suit called the Liftsuit.
3. Make sure you get fitted correctly, which means skin-tight and wrinkle-free. It should not be so tight as to limit your range of motion, which will reduce your effectiveness. Wrinkles cause added drag, which defeats the whole purpose of the suit.
4. Spend the money only if you're seriously hard core. These suits cost considerably more than traditional racing suits. Prices range from $68 for a men's brief up to nearly $600 for some full-body suits.