In competitive swimming, you want to do your best. Many swimmers find that adding the right gear can help them improve their skill in the water. Swim race suits, also called tech suits, are one type of gear that some swimmers swear by.
Do swim race suits positively impact swimming performance? Do they help swimmers with speed in the water? Many studies say yes. For example, one study published by the Journal Of The American College Of Sports Medicine found that wearing a fastskin tech suit increased performance by 3.2% on average, compared to wearing standard training suits.
The science behind swim race suits shows that they:
- Provide muscular compression
- Improve stroke rate and stroke length
- Link important muscle groups to increase power exertion
- Use water-repellent fabric and a seamless design to decrease drag
What to Look for in Swim Race Suits
With so many tech suits on the market, how do you know which one is best for you? Before you purchase one, make sure to consider the following features:
For increased power and speed, look for a tech suit with compressive paneling. This will help enhance blood flow to the legs. Compression increases muscle activation and encourages the blood to circulate faster, leading to less fatigue and more power.
The Speedo Fastskin LZR Pure Valor is a great example of a high compression swim race suit. It’s ideal for sprinters and power events, and because of it’s high price tag, it’s a fantastic option for serious competitive swimmers.
A surefire way to increase speed in the water is to reduce drag. The seamless design of many swim race suits helps to do just that. Traditional seams are slightly raised, which catches more water. With flat or thermo-bonded seam construction, fabric seams lie flat against the skin.
The Speedo Fastskin LZR Pure Intent is one example of a tech suit that uses bonded seams to reduce drag. It has moderate compression and is ideal for stroke events, IM specialists, and mid to distance events.
Most swim race suits on the market are made from a combination of materials like polyester, LYCRA™ and spandex. For example, the Speedo Fastskin LZR Pure Intent mentioned above is made of 65% nylon, 35% lycra spandex. Carbon fiber is another innovative material used in tech suits because of its ability to provide both flexibility and compression. When materials are made of lightweight fabrics like these, they keep swimmers from being weighed down in the water.
The Arena Powerskin Carbon Glide Tech Suit is made of 65% polyamide, 34% elastane, and 1% carbon fiber. In addition to the lightweight fabric, its seams are fully bonded to reduce excess drag.
A Comfortable Design
Features that improve swimming performance are major selling points for swim tech suits.To wear it on a regular basis, the suit needs to be comfortable. That’s why comfort is a major factor for determining which swim race suit is right for you.
If you’re looking at women’s tech suits, consider the style of the back. The way the straps fit will play a huge role in how comfortable the suit will feel. For example, make sure the straps are tight enough to keep the suit fitting properly (without falling down), but not too tight to constrict movement.
Swim race suits that offer speed-enhancing compression should have a snug fit, but shouldn’t feel so tight you can’t move freely. The style of the suit should also allow movement both in and out of the water.
When looking for the right swim race suit, remember the features that make them beneficial in the water. You’re sure to find the tech suit that checks all of your competitive swimming boxes.
Improve Your Swimming Performance with Competitor Gear
Competitor understands the importance of following FINA guidelines for competition swimming. Our variety of durable swimming pace clocks offer an easy way to assess your performance while training. And our lane lines are custom built by hand with pride, passion, and expertise. All Competitor Racing Lanes are manufactured and assembled in the USA and customized for your specific needs. Contact us to learn more.