Triathlon wet suits are designed with state-of-the-art materials to help athletes get in and out of the water quickly, efficiently and of course, to keep the wearer warm. Triathlon wet suits are much more than the normal wet suit employed by divers simply to slow heat loss underwater and keep warm. Designed specifically for athletic competition, their first priority is to keep a competitive swimmer on top of the water, reducing drag and stalling muscle fatigue, enabling the swimmer to race faster and for longer periods of time.
Furthermore, the rubber used on the outside of the wet suit is of the slickest and most slippery materials possible to emulate the scales of a fish as closely as possible. The manufacturing technology employed in creating these wet suits has been a bone of contention between athletes and committee members because they reduce the difference between weaker swimmers and stronger swimmers, not only in speed, but also in all-around efficiency.
Because the triathlon wet suit enables a competitor to spend less energy on the first leg of the competition, he or she is able to reserve energy for the other two legs of the process. This can be a huge edge over the rest of the field, assuming of course, that you are not all wearing the same suits.
To begin with, the rubber used in most of these wet suits, regardless of the brand name featured, comes from one supplier – the world-famous, Japanese rubber manufacturer, Yamamoto. There is an important difference in the thickness of the rubber used in each and every different brand name of wet suit produced. Some manufacturers opt for the 2mm thickness, going towards producing a suit that weighs less and subsequently feels lighter to the user and is more flexible.
Other manufacturers go with the thicker rubber, up to 5mm thick, following the rule of thumb that shows that the thicker the rubber used, the more buoyant the suit will be and ultimately, even though it weighs more, will save the user more energy. In the end, it’s the swimmer himself who must decide which option best suits his style.