Our water temps here range from cold (75) in the winter to warm (80) in the summer. Based on this information, I bet you can guess how often I swim in a wetsuit! Ha!
I'd heard that CdA was a cold swim so thought that maybe I should get a long sleeve wetsuit. Somehow I have managed to race triathlons for 16 years without having one (I have always preferred the sleeveless ones). Sometimes I've been cold (53 was really freakin' cold with that sleeveless wetsuit) but I've always opted for that vs the constricting feeling of material on my shoulders when I swim. I did try a friend's long sleeve wetsuit once about 10 years ago... swam in it for about 5 minutes before I was like, nope, not using this on race day. So I don't know what came over me a couple months ago but I jumped at the chance to buy a Blue Seventy Helix when Jessi posted on FB that she was selling her brand new one for a decent price... I'd heard the Helix was good for swimmers because if the flexibility in the shoulders or whatever... Anyway, it arrived in the mail several months ago and I put it in my closet without even trying it on. Until today.
Nalani and I went ocean swimming in Waikiki today... You can only imagine how ridiculous we felt, standing on the beach and putting these long sleeve wetsuits on when both the air and the water measured at about 80 degrees. Yikes. We did stand in the shade as we struggled to get them on, as if that was going to make it better. Mine fit, pretty much. My shoulders are
We swam for about 4 minutes before we both stopped and started griping about the wetsuits. It was just so odd to feel so constricted and my shoulders were aching already. Oh boy. I was in trouble. Nalani was like, "No wonder triathletes hate swimming. These wetsuits make swimming horribly uncomfortable!" NO kidding. We kept swimming and ~5 minutes later we got completely pummeled by a rogue wave... tumbling in white water... Nalani lost her goggles and my cap was just about completely right off... Yikes again! Then like some sort of miracle I spotted Nalani's goggles right in front of me and managed to grab them. Phew. So we soldiered on through some pretty choppy conditions and I thought about how glad I was that I did so much pulling with paddles this year, because in choppy conditions with a wetsuit, I was just letting my legs drag and gathering all my swim power right up front. No need to kick at all.
Eventually I started to get used to the feeling of the wetsuit and my shoulders warmed up and got loose and by the end of the hour I'd say that other than feeling like I was burning up from the inside out, I was fine. The Helix is a good wetsuit and while I'll stand by my assertion that non-wetsuit swims are better than wetsuit swims, I'll say that if I have to wear a wetsuit, the Helix is a good choice. Maybe I'll like it better when wearing it doesn't make me feel like I'm on fire? Still though, if by some miracle the water in CdA hits 70 degrees on June 26, that would be good by me.