Matching the size, fit and buoyancy of a wetsuit to a swimmer is fundamental to how well it performs and supports the swimmer in the water. With swimmers coming in all shapes and sizes, it shouldn’t come as too much of surprise that many swimmers struggle to find a suitable swim wetsuit when most major wetsuit brands are sold with sizing based on height and weight only. Some brands in the last couple of years have increased their sizing to cater for taller swimmers and to differentiate between male and female cuts as well as buoyancy. However, most wetsuits are still tailored more towards the thinner / average build.
If you have curves, long legs and a short body, or visa versa; have poor or high levels of natural buoyancy and want to swim breaststroke, but with the warmth of a wetsuit in cold water, how do you go about finding a wetsuit that will both fit you and/or best support your swimming needs? Ideally, we want to find out about the options available for the Apple, Pear and breaststroke swimmer who wants to stay warm in cold water by wearing a wetsuit.
Find a wetsuit brand or wetsuit that fits you and supports your swimming ability and goals.
Before purchasing a swim wetsuit do your own research and also ask for some professional advice. If you’re able to find an experienced open water coach, discuss your swimming goals and let them see you swim. This way, they can assess your stroke and natural body position in the water. They may well be able to recommend certain brands or models that will best support your swimming; but at the very least, they should be able to advise you on the type of swim wetsuit and buoyancy that you need. Don’t rely on forum recommendations from people who have never seen you swim or who have completely different requirements to you.
In 2021, Yonda has responded to market demand for an entry level wetsuit that doesn’t compromise on quality and provides moderate buoyancy combined with super flexibility. The new Spook range is the perfect wetsuit choice for Wild Swimmers, newbies and those looking to spend less but still want a high quality, well fitting, swimming wetsuit.
Try before you buy – demo days
If buying ‘off the peg’, attend some demo swim days where you can try on different sized and models of wetsuits and ideally different brands. Swimming in a wetsuit will give you a really good feel of whether the wetsuit both fits and supports you. Most major wetsuit brands have demo wetsuits either available at venues to try or to borrow/hire before you buy. If you’ve done some research and like the sound of a Yonda wetsuit, Angus regularly attends swim sessions at lakes to allow you to feel and try a wetsuit for yourself before committing to a purchase.
Consider all of the options – swim skins, neoprene swim suits or swim/run wetsuits
Before committing to a swim wetsuit, consider all the options that are available. If you are swimming in warmer summer waters, a 1mm swim skin or 1-2mm neoprene swim suit may be all you need to give you a little more buoyancy and warmth. 1-2mm neoprene is both very thin and super flexible making fitting easier and better for supporting breaststroke swimming without the issues of restriction, resistance and being over buoyant. A swim/run one or two piece wetsuit provides versatility and for some and strikes the balance between swimming in ‘skins’ (without a wetsuit) and maintaining some core warmth whilst enjoying the sensation of cold water around the exposed arms and legs. For cold water or winter swimming, the most important part of keeping warm in the water is by maintaining core temperature. Wearing a neoprene swim suit that is thermally lined, or that has thermal properties again provides a good compromise option between skin swimming and maintaining core temperature allowing the swimmer to stay longer in the cold water.