Competitive swimming is not a cheap sport. Nowhere is this more apparent when it comes to women’s tech suits—they can cost as much as $600 (USD). The real kicker is not necessarily the price tag, but the fact that the suits simply don’t last that long.

Most competitive swimmers are only able to get around 10-15 wears from the suits, which, if you multiply that by several large swim meets per year can start to cost a metric butt-ton of money.

Here is what women need to know before dropping some serious cashola on a tech suit.

1. Make sure the suit fits.

This seems painfully obvious, but it needs to be mentioned here because without a comfortable fit all of the space-age technology, all the water-repellant fabric, and the seamless seams are all for naught if you can’t exhibit a proper range of motion.

Trying it on before you buy is a must. The only problem is that most swim shops don’t have display models for you to try on—with the suits being so goshdarn expensive to have a model suit a week go out the window would put most swim stores out of business in a hurry.

Survey your friends to see what they like most about each suit. My breaststroke friends have told me over and over again that the Arena Carbon series is best for their particular kind of stroke.

Beyond making sure that you have a proper range of motion, a suit that doesn’t fit properly will be a nightmare to get in and out of. If you are wearing yourself out by virtue of spending 40 minutes wrestling into the suit any benefit is counteracted by the wasted effort of getting into the suit itself. If it takes longer than 10 minutes to get into the suit rethink your sizing.

2. Cycle in your old suits to make the new one last longer.

A simple way to get more usage from your brand new swim suit is to use your “old” tech suit for prelims at the big meet. Not only does this mean you don’t have to throw out that old racing suit, but you can make the new one last a few races longer.

Ditto goes for your off-events and non-shave and non-taper meets—don’t use the brand new suit for those meets.

3. Take care of your suit.

There are some pretty simple rules women can follow in order to make sure that their suit lasts longer.

Here goes:

·         Never, ever put your tech suit in the dryer. I can’t overstate this point enough—putting that $500-600 swim suit in the dryer will fray and contort the suit. Maybe not noticeably at first, but the wear will be there.

·         Don’t use chemicals to “clean” the suit. After your race it will be tempting to hop into the shower and soap and shampoo down. Don’t do this to your suit. After you take it off, rinse it with cold water and wrap it up in a towel to dry when you get home.

·         Don’t hang dry your technical suit. Hanging your suit up will stretch it out. Remember what we said about the suit being made of fragile, easily stretchable material?

At the end of the day, your tech suit is an investment. It’s benefits have been shown over and over again to help swimmers go faster, whether it’s because of compression or because of its hydrodynamic properties.

 

Take care of your women’s tech suit, and it will help you when want to get down to business and crush your best times!