Saturday, October 27, 2012

Product Review 26 - Blue-Seventy Axis Wetsuit and Some Swim Analysis With and Without Wetsuit

I have not done a product review in a long time, so I thought I would review the wetsuit I bought in 2011, did not use it much in 2011, but I used it a lot more in 2012.  The wetsuit I bought was a Blue Seventy Axis wetsuit.  Additionally, over the last year, I did some 1000 yard TTs, in the pool, both with and without the wetsuit and I thought I would share that data.

I have owned 2 wetsuits prior to the Axis wetsuit.  Both were QR wetsuits.  My first wetsuit was a UltraJohn and my second wetsuit was a Hydrofull.  The UltraJohn was inexpensive and a good wetsuit if you have never worn a wetsuit and just starting in triathlon.  The Hydrofull seemed great\good at first.  The problem with the Hydrofull, after a few uses, was that it seemed too big in my shoulders and arms, and the rest of the wetsuit fit fine.  It felt awkward because of the upper body portion of the wetsuit was too large.  The Axis wetsuit fit right everywhere, and has continued to fit well.  It is tight, but in the way a tri wetsuit should be tight.  Also, the Hydrofull developed a tear in the crotch early on, the Axis appears to be a much "tougher" wetsuit.  In 2012, I think  I wore the Axis in every race, and there were no issues.  The only thing I think I will do in the future is cut the leg bottoms so they do not go down to my ankles.  I will probably cut up to my calves, so that it is easier to get on and off.   I am very happy I bought this wetsuit and replaced my old QR.  This is a much better wetsuit.

On to some swim time comparisons for wetsuit and non-wetsuit.  The debate over whether wetsuits actually improve swim times should be over, they do help you go faster.  The best way to compare non-wetsuit swim times to wetsuit swim times is by using pool times.  Open water distance is difficult because getting the exact distance each time is difficult and makes a true comparison difficult.  I used 1000 yard TTs to compare non-wetsuit and wetsuit swim times.  I have a number of non-wetsuit swim times and then during the same week I swam the 1000 yard TTs with and without wetsuit, and swim cap.

No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 12/19/2011 = 15:47  (1:35/100yards)
No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 1/16/2012 = 15:55  (1:36/100yards)
No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 1/20/2012 = 15:27  (1:33/100yards)

No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 2/13/2012 = 15:29 (1:33/100yards)
Wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 2/15/2012 = 13:58 (1:24/100yards)

Wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 3/14/2012 = 14:22 (1:26/100yards)
No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 3/16/2012 = 15:32 (1:33/100yards)

No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 7/18/2012 = 15:10 (1:31/100yards)

Fastest time without wetsuit = 15:10 (1:31/100yards)
Fastet time with wetsuit = 13:58 (1:24/100yards)

Comparing fastest to fastest, I am 7 seconds faster per 100 yards with the wetsuit.  Compare slowest to slowest, I am 10 seconds faster per 100 yards with the wetsuit.

My slowest non-wetsuit time was in Jan and was 15:55 and my fastest was July at 15:10, it was nice to see a 45 second improvement in the pool with no wetsuit.

I am definitely faster in a wetsuit.  I think that most people would agree they are too.

I have heard people argue that they are slower without a wetsuit, but can get through transition faster.  In other words Swim + T1 with wetsuit is slower than Swim + T1 without wetsuit.  Even if this is the case, the wetsuit can be an energy saving device.  The wetsuit, because it is slicker through the water and increases buoyancy, means that you have to put less effort into the swim, which can be beneficial to a better bike and run.  The less hard you have to work on one leg, the better off you can be in another.  That being said, practice getting out of your wetsuit to improve T1, that way you can gain time all the way around.

I know these topics have been covered over and over again, but I keep hearing people bring them up.  Whether they are new to triathlon or not, the topic continues to come up.  So, I thought going over it again on my little blog would not be a bad thing.  Since I am bring up stuff that has already been covered, nothing beats getting personalized swim lessons, to improve efficiency, and putting in the yardage

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

I've heard the no wetsuit t1 time thing before too. But I don't think it adds up. Even at your closest time difference you're still saving 35 seconds on a short sprint swim. So unless you're taking 35 seconds to take off your wetsuit its a win.