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Tri Suit Vs Wetsuit – Which Is Fastest? | GTN Does Science

Tri Suit Vs Wetsuit – Which Is Fastest? | GTN Does Science


– Should you race the swim leg of
a triathlon in a wet suit, or in just your tri suit? You might think this is an obvious one, you’re gonna say wet suit all the way. – Well how much difference
does a wet suit actually make? And how much, if at all, is the advantage of wearing a wet suit
outweigh the time you lose changing from it? – Well, we’re going to
do our own investigation comparing both the tri
suit and the wet suit to hopefully help you decide what is best to wear at your next race. (light music) – Firstly, let’s run over a few rules. Because the decision to go
wet suit or non wet suit, is not aways yours. If the water’s warm
enough, it’ll be deemed a non wetsuit swim like
in places like Kona. Then if the water is really cold, it will become wetsuit
legal and you’ll probably want to wear a wetsuit. – But other events can actually vary, so it’s always checking
the rules beforehand. And just to note, sometimes they’ll allow age groupers to wear a
wetsuit in warmer water than they will the pros. So if it’s going to be
borderline on that water temperature, just make
sure you come prepared for both situations. For age group IM racing,
wetsuits are mandatory for water temperatures
below 16.0 Centigree, or 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also be worn in
water temperatures up to and including 24.5 degree Centigree, or 76.1 degrees Fahrenheit. – Then for age group IT races, wet suits are mandatory at
below 16 degree Celsius, or 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. And forbidden at and
above 22 degrees Celsius, or 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit. For swims up to 1500 meters. Then for swims above 1500 meters, they’re forbidden above
24.5 degrees Celsius, or 76.1 degrees Fahrenheit. – It’s that middle ground
when it’s tough to decide, swim as being labeled
as wet suit optional, and the waters of less temperature. So, what should you do? – Well, let’s look at the
pros of wearing a wetsuit. One of the main ones is the added bouyancy of wearing a wetsuit,
so that helps to elevate you in the water, and
in turn, that actually reduces your drag through the water. Which is appreciated more by some swimmers than others, and can depend a little bit on your swim ability. And, with the added
buoyancy, it can actually change buoyancy of different
parts of your body. So if you are someone that drags your legs through the water, you
can get a suit that has more buoyancy in the legs,
which then lift the legs. Help you get a more neutral
position when you’re swimming. It’s also an extra layer,
which is going to keep you warmer so if you’re
doing a cold water swim, that’s gonna keep your body warmer, and you’re muscles functioning better. And it is also an extra
layer of protection from all those swimmers that fling their arms and legs around, so you get through the swim safely. – Okay, now it’s time to look at the pros of wearing just a tri suit. To start with, your
shoulders are more free, even if you’re wearing a sleeve tri suit, some people do find that a wetsuit can be a bit restrictive around the neck, and the shoulder area. And then, there’s the obvious one. The amount of time you’re
going to save in T1, don’t need to worry about
wrapping, wasting energy and time trying to frantically
get your wetsuit off. You can fly straight through there. And if the water temperature is more warm, so warm that it’s almost on the cut off, you might find that wearing a wetsuit, you can start to overheat
when you’re swimming hard. – Now before we get into the
actual physical comparison of wetsuit versus non wetsuit. It is worth pointing out
that Heather, and myself both come from swimming backgrounds, so the benefit we receive
from wearing a wetsuit possibly a little less than from someone that finds swimming
that we get disciplined. And on that note, it is worth considering the type of wetsuit that
you choose to swim in. So if you are a weaker
swimmer, you might want a wetsuit with different
buoyancy at different parts in the suit. But we will be covering
that in more detail in another video soon. – Okay, it’s time for
Mark and I to try out the varying situations, including a swim and the transition. So we’re going to both
do a 400 meter swim, in a non wetsuit, and then a wetsuit including a mock of T1 and their times. – Yeah, I mean, 400 is
pretty good standard distance when comparing this sort of thing. And obviously, we’d love to
go to different distances, some longer distances,
but I think if we start doing that many max efforts in one day, our results going to
be all over the place. So, we’ll do the 400 meter and after it, we’ll take our times from that and then we’ll work
out our predicted times for some of the longer distances, and the differences between the two. Should we get on with this? – I think so.
– Let’s go. Okay, you ready?
– Yeah. – All right, first run, non wetsuit. – All right, 400 here we go. – Just go. (light music) well done, how was it? – Oh you know, you left me for dead. How was yours? – It was good, I think I went
out a little bit too hard. – You were just gone. But now you’re gonna have
to start pacing the same on the next one. – Yeah, I think I’ll do that, I’m pretty bad at pacing. – Okay. – Well yeah, now, on to wetsuit. (light music) – Okay, as you can see,
we’ve got our wetsuits on. – So buoyant.
– I know, it’s time to do it again, Mark. Same pace? – Fingers crossed. – Two, one, let’s go. (light music) ♪ I’m waiting, I’m waiting for you ♪ – Well, Mark, you looked
like you were absolutely flying on that one, how was that? – I’m glad it’s done. Because I’ve been built to pick up times from most. Yeah, I just felt so much more buoyant. Literally, looking at my times I came in, I’m fairly sure it’s quite a bit quicker. How about yourself? – I was a little bit quicker, but the effort of getting out, and getting a wetsuit off was, I need practice on that. But I think we do need
to go and have a look at the actual numbers. – I’m shattered, I want some food. So we can sit down, crunch some numbers. Had some time to grab some food, relax, and crunch our numbers. So should we go straight in with our results, our times? – Yeah, let’s have a look at
the first was non wetsuit. – Yeah, okay, so I was
4:49 against the wall in the pool, and climbed
out, took me a few seconds to hit the fall for our T1. So 4:52 was my overall time. – Okay, well, my overall was a 5:59, once I got out and hit the wall. – Okay, moment of truth
then, our wetsuit time. So I went 4:36 in the wetsuit. And then obviously, we then
had to take our wetsuits off so that took me 12 seconds,
so I had an overall time of 4:48. – Okay, so how much
difference is that then? – So that works out,
about four seconds overall time difference.
– Quicker, with your wetsuit? – Yes, quicker. – Okay, well I was quicker
swimming with my wetsuit, so I was at 5:54 when
I got out of the water. But by the time I actually
hit the pool side wall, having taken my wetsuit
off, I was up to 6:10. So I was actually 11 seconds
slower, the overall time. – Okay, well we did, it fairness. We did do the wetsuit run second because in my eyes, I thought
the wetsuit run was going to be quicker, so if we did that first, I think all of our viewers
would be questioning why we did it in that order. – Yeah. – We’re favoring wetsuit,
but, I think I’ve shown for myself, that the wetsuit was quicker and it was on the second run. Mostly yours. – Yeah and I think you’re more used to swimming in a wetsuit
than I am as well. So there could be a difference with that, and my stroke is still
more of a pool stroke, and maybe I need to look
at that a little bit. – Well that is a really valid point. I think for a lot of people, wetsuits are quite unusual and it does take a lot of getting used to. Some people do feel
that they have to offer sleeveless wetsuit, so if
you aren’t doing wetsuit swims, or you’ve got anything planned, I really recommend getting your wetsuit as soon as you can really. Whether it’s just for the odd swim in a swimming pool, or
you go in open water. Do try it out, because
there is a different level of buoyancy which can
be a little bit restrictive in the arms. – Well we said we were
gonna have a look at how this would actually
correlate to a longer distance. I’ve seen 400 as the
shorter end of the spectrum when it comes to triathlon swims. So, we’ve done as a rough
calculation basically, just multiplying the pace
we were swimming at then, and imagining we were
maintaining the same pace for 1500, I think I could. But you went out very hard. Anyway, so with that, my time difference would actually end up being
20 seconds difference. Which means I would be 20 seconds quicker on the wet suit than I
would on the non wetsuit. So it’s just proving how
it becomes more selective, what happened with your? – Well mine was quite substantial, so my non wetsuit was 18:04,
my non wetsuit was 17:15. So you’re talking 49
seconds there overall, in terms of the time. Yeah, so quite considerable. – Seeing the gates any time
taking your wetsuit off. – Absolutely, yeah well,
this has been really interesting study. And we have actually not
discussed the swim scale option as well. – Yeah, exactly, and that’s another factor for another time that I am in. For example, I predominately
swam in a swim scale, and I like that feeling,
everything’s a bit tighter than a tri suit that’s
been designed to be more warn under your wetsuit. – Well, yeah, watch this Facebook for a video on swim skins the near future. And if you’d like to see that, you can click on the globe
and subscribe to GTN. If you like to see our
top five tips for T1, just click down here. – And if you want some tips
on how to get out of your wetsuit, we made a video
for that, just here.

58 comments on “Tri Suit Vs Wetsuit – Which Is Fastest? | GTN Does Science

  1. You should compare the tri suit vs. a skin suit like the sailfish rebell or something similar for the races in warm waters.

  2. The guy at 9:33 swimming in the background definitely needs a wet swimsuit with increased leg buoyancy 😉

  3. Wetsuit, even with my swimming. About 1 min over 1500m but with the suit I don't kick as much as I'm saving the legs for the rest!

  4. The other factor is that most transitions are not right on waters edge, and during the run (okay, for me a jog) to T1 the wetsuit can already be down to your waist.

  5. When you think you’re a decent swimmer but Mark just casually knocks out a 400m in 1 second quicker than your PB. Fair play Marky boi

  6. Without wetsuit: 1:28 intervals w/ medium intensity (long course) whilst with wetsuit on – around 1:23 for 100m / 7 or 8 x 200m intervals: ~3:03 vs ~2:53 – wetsuit gives me a lot but the work of arms feels much harder & the feeling – it is still strange a bit (+ I'm not using legs a lot 😉

  7. I would have thought you would incorporate heart rates this way you can really see perceived effort between a wetsuit and the trisuit

  8. Great video! I’d be interested to see what the difference would be if you did one run in an entry level wetsuit and the other in a high end wetsuit.

  9. A wetsuit will take 15-60 seconds off a 400 depending on your swimming ability. The slower the swimmer the more it helps! If you have issues getting it off after the swim, practice a bit!

  10. You should add heart rate numbers or at least perceived exertion. Not to mention any additional energy saved in the legs for the bike and run. In my opinion, training for the swim in triathlon is to make yourself most ready for the bike and run.

  11. Female swimmers are naturally a little more boyant than men, so they might not get as much of a benefit from wearing one. They definitely make everyone faster, especially over longer distances

  12. Wetsuit!
    Perhaps not only for the obvious: better swimtime, staying warm and swim more efficient (less energy consumption) there is more to it: you can wear your number already under the wetsuit, so no hassle at the bike with the possibility that it was kicked away by another athlete or blown away by wind. Another advantage is that you are allowed to wear compression tubes under the wetsuit. For me that is a big advantage in the running part.
    So i think the test in the video should be a little more. Make a longer run to T1, so you can already pull of the upper part (is what you normally do when you get out of the water when running to T1) and complete T1 with your startnumber and helmet. Even better is to do the test in open water.

  13. Just to add fuel to the fire, by the time I'm at water's edge, wetsuit is already at my waist, so spend even less time trying to get it off than in this video. It's a pretty massive benefit, interesting to see that even in a trial this short, with a full stop to take it off, Matt is still faster. If your body position is poor, it'll help you even more thanks to the buoyancy! :p

  14. Wouldn't the benefit of wetsuit become larger as the distance increases. ie: keeps the form better together as fatigue might kick in after 1000/2000m?

  15. An important factor that wasn't taken into consideration here is that you got to run through transition to your bike after the swim. During this run you can already take half your wetsuit off down to your waist and the rest next to your bike, making for an even bigger difference because it saves a few seconds.

  16. This was very interesting to me. I guess this comparison is something we all should do. I’m thinking it won’t make much difference to me. I find the shoulder tightness of the wetsuit tiring and I can’t get it off in less than 30 seconds.

  17. I'm amazed that it is that little difference. Last week I took the wet-suit off mid-training because it was just too warm. And after that I felt like swimming in jelly, doing the moves but not moving.

  18. Good stuff!
    Can you test if there is an aerodynamic difference between putting your hands on top of each other on the aerobars (like Jan Frodeno) or holding the aerobars in a normal way?

  19. I have an odd #askgtn I wore a wetsuit (a sleeveless full leg) for my first 70.3 and when I got out, I had cramps on my shins! Not my calves (that came in T1..both calves!) what gives? Any ideas? I’m not much of a kicker, so the buoyancy helped with that. Now I’m nervous about wearing it again for another race.

  20. Dear GTN please could you let us know what fitness trackers/watches you were using…perhaps a bit of info about this kind of triathlon tech would be very useful, as I’m looking to get a sports watch that will track my swims (both pool & open) just like you’ve done in this video? Thanks, Alex

  21. My 2 cents- You should do this open water and for at least 750m (sprint race). I imagine flip turns are slower in a wetsuit, plus you should have the wetsuit almost off by the time you hit T1. There is a good reason pros. choose wetsuits when allowed.

  22. It would be great if you could test the swim dynamics along with aerodynamics of different trisuits to see where the best combo for speed can be found.

  23. I feel like wetsuits help men more than women in general (I'm sure there's exceptions) the guys I trounce in the pool breeze past me open water. I think men's bigger stronger shoulders help them to not be so bothered by the extra resistance around the shoulders… No evidence for that, it's just how it seems to me.

  24. I would think that a wetsuit would make your flip turn slower. On another note: If I do 8×200's with 30 second rests. The average pace that I came out with is about how fast I could swim a 1500 open water with a wetsuit in a race.

  25. Why not just wear a tech suit jammer/kneeskin (in warmer water), then throw that off afterwards, then change straight into your cycling/running suit? That only takes about 2-6 minutes to get fully done.

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