As a new member of DC Tri, I'm in need of some advice and recommendations. I'll be doing my first Tri in Sept (National Tri) and need to pick up a tri suit. This weekend I tried on a suite by Zoot.
Any feedback you could provide on what you think about their brand, what has worked for you or what someone doing their first tri should invest in would be great. I'm an experienced, college level swimming so buoyancy isn't really a factor.
Hmmm... really depends on whether you want to go one-piece or two-piece. I'm a huge fan of the one piece suits. Originally had an Orca which was nice, then got a 2XU, which I really didn't like. My last suit was kiwami which I've really liked (I'll be getting another one from them as soon as I can figure out something clever to put on the front and back of it). That being said, I think Zoot has a good reputation in the sport (if not great). I've just never worn any of their stuff. I know Kiwami (I'm not a shill for or sponsored by Kiwami, just like their product) will send you a suit to try (see this thread on slowtwitch, as will others I believe.
Do you think you'll be doing more than one tri? For an olympic distance you may not need a suit with pockets (especially if you'll be swimming without a wetsuit), but for longer distances you might one with two or more pockets (good for stuffing tubes, etc. in when you are training, food, tubes, whatever when you are racing).
Upside of the two-piece suit is that when nature calls, it's a lot easier to answer quickly (especially if you have a one piece suit with a zipper in the back). The downside is that a lot of times you'll get a sunburn in the area between the shorts and the top that opens up (main reason I switched to one-piece and why I always now wear bib shorts on the bike).
Here's a thread with some info about one and two piece tri suits. If the link doesn't work, go to Forum Home, Open Discussions, Upcoming Races, Clothing for Triathlon.
If you want recommendations for a triathlon specific wetsuit and not a tri suit, search the forum - there are plenty of discussions. As a swimmer myself, I went for a cheap sleeveless Xterra suit - only a $100 on sale. But now I am doing cold water swims so I bought an 2XU Velocity 1 last week during Conte's sale. Since I have a straight arm recovery, I was most concerned with shoulder flexibilty. Different suits/manufactures have different degrees of flexibility and generally speaking, the more flexible the suit, the more expensive. Before you commit to buying a suit, borrow or rent one (Conte's, Bonzai) and test them out. What works for someone else may not work for you and your swimming style.