Open Water & Pool Coaching Videos

Wearing a Wetsuit

As the colder days and evenings start, we thought it was time to talk a little about wetsuits. 

Why Wear a Wetsuit?

Well simply put they are designed to keep swimmers warm in open water conditions. The theory behind one is to let in a layer of water between the skin so as the rubber heats up it insulates the swimmer. However, too much water can mean less thermal protection and the degree to which the swimmer can keep the water out is proportional to the amount of heat retained. So the fit is important. Too loose around the neck, cuffs and ankles and too much water is added creating less thermal protection.

Open water swimming has a long tradition of not wearing wetsuits and there are many open water swimming events that promote the use of non wetsuit swimming such as, The English Channel, International Winter Swimming Association and International Ice Swimming Association. Swimmers should always be aware of their limitations if they are training for a non wetsuit event.

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Choosing a Wetsuit

When choosing a wetsuit it's important to select one that is comfortable, fits correctly and is in line with swimming ability and technique.

The latest wetsuits are highly technical and can offer significant advanatages to swimmers, particularly those with less experience or poor technique.

The main thing is to choose a wetsuit designed for swimming. Try not to buy a diving suit or a surfing suit. These can be restrictive, uncomfortable and ultimately slower to swim in. This is due to the material soaking up water.

Wetsuits can be "Shorties" with short arms and legs. These keep the core warm. Or they are a "full" wetsuit with sleeves, which are ideal for the cold conditions in this country. If you are entering a wetsuit event then they sometimes will not allow a shortie to be used. So always check first!

The Noosa Triathlon 2019 in aid of Cure Brain Cancer

The Fit

The suit must fit properly around the thighs, chest, shoulder, arms and neck. The torso length should be correct as must the arms and legs...are these too long or too short for the swimmer.


Certain kinds of rubber are more flexible that others. Some wetsuits will have different neoprene widths around the shoulders and arms to allow for greater movement. The thicker warmer neoprene kept for the core. 


An expensive suit does not always mean it is the most durable. Quite often more expensive suits are lighter and faster but not as hard wearing.

There are a number of good wetsuit brands in the market these days offering good quality suits at affordable prices. There is no reason why swimmers shouldn't reap the benefits of wearing a wetsuit for open water swimming, regardless of their budget.


Neoprene glue is easily available and can be used to mend a small damage or if a wetsuit develops a leak.

Putting on a Wetsuit
We think this little video we found on YouTube really says it all!

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