Are you a first-time wetsuit swimmer? Whether you're a seasoned pool swimmer or a beginner in open water, swimming in a wetsuit can be a new experience. Wetsuits can be an excellent tool for open water swimming, providing insulation and buoyancy. However, they can also be tight and restrictive if not fitted properly. In this blog post, we'll cover the top five tips for first-time wetsuit swimmers to make your experience enjoyable and safe.
Tip #1: Be Mentally Prepared for Cold Water Shock
When you first get into the water in a wetsuit, you're still going to feel the cold water. A wetsuit works by letting water in between the neoprene and your skin, which your body then warms up. However, this can still cause cold water shock, especially for first-time wetsuit swimmers. To prepare mentally, ease into the water slowly, splash water around your wrist and neck, and breathe deeply. Don't dive into deep water, and swim as you would if you were swimming without a wetsuit. This will help your body acclimate to the water temperature gradually.
Tip #2: Check the Fit
A wetsuit can feel tight across your chest, restricting your breathing. As the neoprene gets wet, it will loosen up slightly, but if it still feels tight, pull up the wetsuit further up your legs and hips. This will provide extra space for your chest. Make sure the wetsuit fits comfortably before you get into the water.
Tip #3: Start Slowly
Swimming with a wetsuit can put more pressure on your shoulders than swimming without one. Start with a short swim, a few hundred meters, and build it up over time. Don't plan to swim long distances on your first try. You'll be using slightly different muscles, and there are exercises you can do to help prepare your shoulders for the added pressure.
Tip #4: Use Lubrication
Wetsuits can rub on your skin, especially around your neck, causing irritation. To avoid this, use lubrication around your neck, under your arms, over your chest, and on your wrists and ankles. This will make it easier to get the wetsuit on and off.
Tip #5: Adjust Your Body Position
Swimming in a wetsuit can change your body position in the water. The neoprene and saltwater will help you float higher, and your legs will be more buoyant. This can put a strain on your lower back when sighting, but it can also make you faster. Super strong swimmers may not notice much difference, but for beginners, swimming in a wetsuit can shave off up to 10 seconds per 100 meters.
Swimming in a wetsuit can be a new and exciting experience, but it requires some adjustments from swimming without one. Be mentally prepared for the cold water shock, check the fit, start slowly, use lubrication, and adjust your body position. These tips will help make your first-time wetsuit swimming experience enjoyable and safe. Happy swimming!