Open water swimming in Europe generally involves a wetsuit, so any triathlon enthusiasts will end up in one at some point. I have previously written on SportsStylist about how to choose the right wetsuit, now a quick overview of how to put it on (this is trickier than it sounds) and a demonstration video which I hope you will find very useful.
I highly recommend that all women wear gloves to put on the wetsuit. Even if you have short fingernails you will end up nicking the suit, this means it can tear and will take on water. It also reduces the resale value if you ever decide to upgrade and want a bit of money for your old wetsuit. Another useful tip is to keep your socks on or put a plastic bag over your foot as you pull the wetsuit onto that leg, it helps the suit slide onto your leg much easier without having to use lots of force, this reduces the stretch on the suit and lengthens its lifespan.
Once the suit is over you feet, work the neoprene up each leg bit by bit and pull it snugly into your crouch a bit like you really want to wear “Simon Cowell Style trousers” 😉 Its important to pull the suit up really high into your groin as it will drop down slightly when you are swimming and this makes it feel restrictive.
One arm at a time
Next pull the suit over your torso and into each arm one at a time. Be sure to really pull the neoprene into each armpit as high as you can. Again this will ensure the suit is in the right position and does not restrict your shoulder movement in the water.
Give yourself some time
Firstly give yourself plenty of time to do this, its actually rather time consuming and exhausting if you have a good snug suit to put on. Don’t leave it too late before a race to get into the suit as you will likely not pull it up enough and the suit will feel uncomfortable and restrict your swim.
Lastly zip up the suit (don’t be shy to ask someone to do this for you) and make sure that you have secured the end of the zip tag so you can find it for a quick exit in T1. If someone has helped you, then I often get them to carefully use their fingerpads to grab each side of the (closed) zip and gently tug upwards starting form the lower back and moving toward the neck as this works the neoprene up the back of your torso. For the same effect at the front you need to do something that I call ‘burping the suit” – its demonstrated in the video – pick up some of the neoprene in font of your tummy and roll it upwards so that you gather it up towards your neck, if you do this in the water some air will escape (hence my nickname). Its great for ensuring that the wetsuit doest pull down on the front of your chest and neck which can make it feel like its suffocating you.Now all that remains is for you to have a great swim! Happy training everyone.