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Training/Racing tips

Wetsuit tips

This is one of our most vulnerable pieces of equipment so I want to present so tips and ideas to try and keep your wetsuit in perfect condition. Now I know this is not always easy, and I admit that I don't consider anything during the race, I just try to get out of my suit and loose as little time as possible in the process, even if the surface may harm my suit, but still.

  1. Cut your finger nails before the race. If it is not to hurt your opponents as little as possible during the swim, then do it to save you wetsuit. You can dig your nails in all too easily. With improvements in neoprene this problem is only getting worse, so you better be careful when putting on your suit.
  2. To put on your suit, it may be practical to put your foot and/or hand in a small plastic bag. This really does wonders and you slide into your suit effortlessly. Once you know this trick you wonder how you it could be nobody ever told you this before. At least I did. I learnt this one from Eric Coppens before the start in Lanzarote. Now we were planning to market some plastic "wetsuit glove" for this, but just couldn't get ourselves to have all of you pay money for something as easy as this. Try it. I still kick myself each time I forget to take a plastic bag to the swim start.
  3. To get your suit off, it may be interesting to cut a piece at the end of the legs (and maybe also arms). Most suits get a lot tighter at the very end, so it really helps. If you really kind stand the cold, this may not be for you, but I don't mind if the legs of my suit don't cover my ankle. I know that many use vaseline for this, but vaseline is very bad for your suit as it degrades the quality of the neoprene.
  4. Rinse your suit thoroughly after each use. Wetsuits are fragile. They really can't stand oily materials, salt, sand, chlorine etc. Rinse your suit properly and hang it to dry. Then store it in a cool, preferable dark, place. There is some discussion about how to store it. Some say, laying flat, inside out. Sounds good, but it needs a lot of space that way. I would try to hang it in a rack, but use a clothes hanger which is very wide, so that the weight of the suit does not cause any damage.
  5. Try to use your suit as little as possible in swimming pools. The chlorine will make the neoprene of your suit less flexible, and getting rid of it is not always easy.
  6. Chafing is also a problem for many athletes. Though I never use any anti-chafing cream, I am lucky not to be bothered by it that much. I have one big trick though, and that is rinsing (again - I know). When rinsing the suit, pay special attention to the collar. Any salt or sand which sticks there will cause chafing next time you use your suit, so get rid of it! Obviously, this also means that chafing is difficult to avoid when swimming in salt water.

Hope this helps. If you have any other tips, please let me know, so I can include them.

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