All brands of technical suits are not the same. Before putting on any technical suit, especially if you haven’t tried that brand or style of the suit on before - it’s time to measure yourself up and check the size chart. It’s an easy way to pick a starting point and will save you a 20-40 minute workout.
FIT is key. So how do you know it fits?
- First, make sure you have it on right. Check the seams, make sure they are sitting where they need to be especially those seams that fit around your bottom, and inner thighs.
- Puckering is an easy thing to see. If you have ripples anywhere in the suit then it usually means the suit is too big in areas, sometimes just trying on a different style of suit will solve this problem.
- Shoulder Straps, are they too tight? When they are on your shoulders is there enough room to get your arm out - even with help. Are the shoulder straps too loose? When they are on your shoulders can you lift the straps to the bottom of your ears - if so then you may be able to go to a smaller size?
- Leg compression is important but you don’t want to restrict your thigh muscles to the point of not being able to function. Test this by moving around in the suit. Can you compress yourself into a back start or flip turn positions, into a starting position on the blocks, can you do the breaststroke kick one leg at a time. If you can’t move fully try going to a less compressive suit. It may do the trick.
- For Women does the front chest cut of the suit allow you to perform all of your strokes? Do a streamline position and see. If not try another style of suit.
Myths and Untruths about technical suits:
- It should take 40-45 minutes to put on a technical suit: False. A well-fitting suit today should take 10-20 minutes to get on.
- Smaller means more compression which means better: False. If you overstretch a suit to get it on, you have just lost some of the most important things you want out of the suit which is compression to help with recovery. An overstretched suit has compromised compression and will weaken and break faster.
- You should be 4-6 sizes below your training suit size: False. Each manufacturer makes their technical suits differently. It’s really important to check the size charts for each.
- If you’re a size 24 in a technical suit, you are always a size 24: False. Some suits are made with more compression than others, size depends a lot on what style the suit is and who makes it. New styles are made differently with different technology, they will not fit the same.
Fit is the most important part of a technical suit. Always try them on with a training suit underneath, it’s a lot easier than underwear. Take your time, roll up the rubber seam cuffs on the bottom of the leg to make it easier, pull only on the seams of the suits with the pads of your fingers, not fingertips. Guys, try to have a fitting close to shave days, so you can avoid your leg hair being pulled out. Girls, leave the shoulder straps until you have the suit pulled over the hips. Most close back suits need the swimmer to go up 1 to 2 sizes due to the increased compression of the closed back.
Trying on suits is a lot of work, don’t be surprised if you lose a little skin in the process.
Tech suits are expensive so make it count and with a good fit.