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Wetsuit recommendation
CREATED: 03/18/13 by mina REPLIES: 7
mina's ravatar mina    JOINED: 12/7/12    POSTS: 59
Wetsuit recommendation
POSTED: 3/18/13 10:59 AM

Hi Everyone:

I just moved from Canada and buying a new wetsuit for DC area races. I signed up for Naylor Beach and Nation's Tri as well as open water swimming practice in Lake Anna.
As the weather is colder during the races in Canada, everyone has long sleeve wetsuit, even some drysuit. Is that the case here too?
Or it is warm that I should buy a sleeveless wetsuit all together?


dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1481
RE: Wetsuit recommendation
POSTED: 3/18/13 11:49 AM

In America, triathletes don't wear drysuits unless they are also engaged in other activities such as cold water diving or surfing.

In America, people wear longsleeve not because the water is cold, but because it provides greater buoyancy and thus often time, that translates to a faster swim. I've only swam in one race in America (IM California 70.3) where I thought a longsleeve was necessary. The water temp for that race was 55 degrees F.

Coming from Canada, I think you will find that shortsleeve will more than suffice for 98% of triathlons in the U.S. However, I would say that the vast majority of wetsuits I see at races in America are longsleeves. This is more due to buoyancy than the need to stay warm. The water at Naylor's, Nations', and Lake Anna won't be cold enough for you to **need** a longsleeve wetsuit to stay warm. You may need it to go faster though :)

The water temps for the three races mentioned, should be in the lower-mid 70s F. Lake Anna might be the coldest since it's an early season one, but it should hover around 70 ... mid/upper 60s if there is a cold spell leading up to it. That lake is shallow enough to be affected by a cold spell of a few days.


mina's ravatar mina    JOINED: 12/7/12    POSTS: 59
RE: Wetsuit recommendation
POSTED: 3/18/13 12:43 PM

Thanks Tuan. It totally makes sense. I have heard in one of the swim practices that a few rather have short sleeves and I thought I should ask one more time.

(You have a lot of "in American" in your comment, are you trying to tell me something? JK)

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1481
RE: Wetsuit recommendation
POSTED: 3/18/13 1:05 PM

I'm trying to tell you that triathletes in America are wimps. They claim to need wetsuits because the water is too cold to swim in. The reality is that they can't swim like a Vietnamese. They need the longsleeve because they can't handle the cold like us Canadians. When I say us Canadians, I mean you :)

I think some people that say that they would rather have a shortsleeve because of the extra flexibility in movements, say that because they are not used to the longsleeve. Once one becomes used to it, it beceomes a second skin. Before people jump on me, I said **some**, not all.

My first few races with a longsleeve, I did feel a little bit constricted. After doing it for awhile, it's like any other piece of clothing I have on.


abbyjs's ravatar abbyjs    JOINED: 4/7/09    POSTS: 699
RE: Wetsuit recommendation
POSTED: 3/18/13 2:55 PM


Please forgive Tuan's sense of humor. Many American's don't get him, either. :)

I have a full-sleeve wetsuit and I love it. I have a tendency to run cold (even being from up north: Wisconsin is my home). I also am not the best swimmer in the race, so having the buoyancy makes me feel more confident.

Many "good" swimmers will say that they feel constricted or they don't like the range of motion on a full-sleeve wetsuit; I say, if you find one that fits properly, that shouldn't be true.

I love mine (blueseventy Reaction, women's medium). That being said, fit is TOUGH with wetsuits, and I suggest that you try as many as you can. There aren't a ton of shops with a huge selection. I bought mine at Tri Bonzai. I think Tri 360 carries some as well.


mina's ravatar mina    JOINED: 12/7/12    POSTS: 59
RE: Wetsuit recommendation
POSTED: 3/18/13 3:20 PM

Those are great suggestions. I am not a fast swimmer, so I'd like to use all buoyancy I can get in the water.
Is there anywhere around here that I can try Xterra wetsuit?

I have a strange sense of humour as well, no worries :)

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1481
RE: Wetsuit recommendation
POSTED: 3/18/13 4:10 PM

Bonzai Sports has the biggest selection of wetsuits in the area.

Freshbikes of Arlington is getting out of the wetsuit business and are giving DCTri a 60% discount. Check the partnership area of this forum for details. Word on the street is that the selection is slim since they've sold a bunch already.

The mult-sports expo this weekend should have an xterra booth with some wetsuits to try on.


Gato's ravatar Gato    JOINED: 4/25/11    POSTS: 46
RE: Wetsuit recommendation
POSTED: 3/19/13 2:52 PM

3 years ago, I bought a full 2xu suit from They have(had) a "one free swim" return policy. If you swim in it and don't like it, you can return it or exchange it. I would try several suits at the expo and then shop price online. Although, if the price is close I always opt for DC Tri club supporter and help the local stores. Good luck.

PS. Don't buy any used suits from Canadian guys.... it is always warm in their wetsuits!

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