Can You Wear a Wetsuit in a Pool?
Garrett Durham July 27th, 2020 Posted In: Articles
Can You Wear a Wetsuit in a Pool?
You’ve just bought your first wetsuit, carefully selecting the perfect one for you. You have done your research, thought about what you plan to use your wetsuit for, chosen the right style and the right thickness. It’s just arrived on your doorstep and you put it on for the first time. Everything fits perfectly. The next step, rightly so, is to get into the water to get a feel for what it’s like to swim in this wetsuit. Maybe you’ve worn a wetsuit in the past, but there is something special about swimming in a new wetsuit for the first time.
You search the lakes, rivers, and oceans around you for the inaugural swim, but either you aren’t comfortable enough just yet to do an open water swim or all of the open water is too far or not easily accessible.
Which leads you to; can you wear a wetsuit in a pool? The answer may surprise you. Keep reading and we’ll dive right in.
What Are Wetsuits Made Of?
Wetsuits are used for a variety of activities and work by trapping a layer of water between the body and the wetsuit. This layer of water acts as an insulation that helps keep you warm while you’re in the water. Because of how they are used, wetsuits have to be resilient so they can bounce back into shape after stretching to fit your body and sturdy so they last for a long time while being resistant to rips, degradation from the sun and saltwater.
When neoprene was invented and it was starting to be used for wetsuits, it became quickly apparent that this synthetic rubber material had all of the characteristics needed for high quality, long-lasting wetsuits. Neoprene is almost completely resistant to degradation caused by the sun and salt, is resilient, and has high tensile strength. Wetsuit manufacturers have been utilizing neoprene for decades.
While neoprene has great qualities that make it ideal for wetsuits, some things can make a wetsuit break down faster than it should, including sun, salt, and chlorine.
Wearing a Wetsuit in the Pool
For starters, there are different types of pools – saltwater and chlorinated. Can you wear a wetsuit in a saltwater pool? This should be okay if you rinse the wetsuit thoroughly after you are finished. Swimming in a saltwater pool is very similar to swimming in the ocean, except there is probably more salt in the ocean. Salt can make a wetsuit breakdown faster, but if it is rinsed well with freshwater and then stored properly, swimming in saltwater is okay.
Answering the question about a chlorinated pool is a little more challenging because there are two schools of thought – one camp says it is okay to swim in a chlorinated pool as long as it doesn’t happen regularly and the wetsuit is rinsed thoroughly with freshwater after, the other camp says it’s a bad idea and should never happen. If you choose to swim with a wetsuit in a chlorinated pool, our best advice is to immediately rinse the suit with freshwater using a wetsuit shampoo and properly dry the suit.
What you decide is ultimately up to you, but my personal preference is to keep my wetsuit out of chlorinated pools. Wetsuits are incredible tools and can make swimming in certain situations much easier. But wetsuits only make things easier if they are properly cared for and ready to be used when you need it. To that end, I like to optimize my wetsuit for a long life by making sure it is properly cleaned, properly stored, and kept away from anything that could damage it (i.e. sharp objects and chlorine).
Benefits of Training in a Pool
While wearing a wetsuit in a chlorinated pool may not be a good idea, training for an open water swim in a pool can help build your confidence in the water. Sure, swimming in a pool takes away some of the challenges of open water swimming (there isn’t current in a pool and you can touch the bottom in most lap pools), but you can use a pool to help you train for sighting and swimming in a straight line in the open water.
Instead of relying on the lane ropes and the lines on the bottom of the pool, pick a spot out of the water as your focus point. Every few strokes bring your head out of the water and find your object, continuing this pattern until you are on the other side of the pool. Learning to rely on a fixed point outside the pool will help the transition into an open water swim because you will already be familiar with sighting in a more controlled environment.
There may be times you are tempted to wear your wetsuit in the pool, and sometimes when it may be a great idea for training. Just be sure to find a saltwater pool instead of a chlorinated pool (if possible) and rinse your wetsuit with fresh water as soon as you are finished.
I have a salt water pool in-ground pool. Salt water pools use electricity to create the chlorine radical for pool sanitation. If the electric chlorine generator is not keeping up, not maintaining free chlorine levels, then we add sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach) to raise the free chlorine level. In effect, all salt water pools are chlorine pools. They just use electricity to make chlorine from the salt. Salt is NaCl. It dissolves into sodium ions (Na+) and chlorine ions (Cl-) in water.
I am getting a 3/2 mm neoprene wet-suit for extending the time I can use the pool as it gets colder. Need advice about that.
Thanks for the information, John! Here are some great options as far as 3/2mm fullsuits go that have enough flexibility for swimming https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/wetsuits/category/mens-fullsuits-32.html?Per_Page=24&Sort_By=bestsellers&price=167-275&zillabrand=Vissla&zillabrand=Quiksilver&zillabrand=XCEL&zillabrand=Volcom&zillabrand=Rip%20Curl&zillabrand=O%27Neill
I would like to buy wet suit shorts for swiming in a pool for training. Please advise
Hi Mariza! You can browse all of our available wetsuit shorts here. They are a great option for a little extra coverage and warmth. Cheers!
I am interested in the 3/2mm Women’s Sisstrevolution 7 Seas back zip full suit in purple. Unfortunately I can’t decide on a size and need help please! I’m 5’7″, weigh 141lbs, chest is 39″ and waist is 32″.
Thank you so much for your assistance!
Hi Deb! Thank you for reaching out. In that particular suit, I would recommend going with a size 14. Your chest and waist measurements are the most important to fit well, and from our feedback, the length of these wetsuits runs a little short so shouldn’t be too much of an issue! Hope this helps!
Want to work out in unheated, chlorinated AZ pool with winter water temps around 60.
Obviously selecting wetsuit is more complicated than I thought. What would you suggest?
Hey Jack! Choosing a wetsuit doesn’t have to be too complicated. I recommend browsing our selection of men’s fullsuits here, and search by temperature in the lefthand filter bar. There are lots of options, so don’t forget to get updated height, chest, and weight measurements to reference against the product-specific size charts on each wetsuit. If you need additional assistance in finding your perfect wetsuit, you can also reach out to our awesome customer service team either via email (email@example.com) or call 866-906-7848. Cheers!
I too live in AZ and want to swim all winter in an unheated, chlorinated pool. Did you decide on your suit and are their any pitfalls or good directives you wouldn’t mind sharing with me?
My concerns are restricted movement when swimming AND will I rinse off suit to manufacture’s satisfaction.
I’m also thinking that maybe I wouldn’t need a full suit, but a shorty.
Let me know anything you have found out, and if you already bought and tried it out, how did it go?
Am trying to buy a wetsuit. But I need some advice. So…. I go to “call us” and there’s no phone number. Just something that wants me to choose an “app” to call from. I don’t own a smart phone. Just an old flip phone. But… I still want to buy a wetsuit.
Do you have a telephone number?
Hey Walter! You can reach our awesome customer service team at (866)-906-7848 10 AM-4 PM EST. Cheers!
What do you recommend then for added warmth for winter outdoor freshwater, chlorinated pool swimming in Southern California if not a wetsuit? I get chilled after being in the water a while. Swim about 40 minutes and want to do water aerobics and exercises and get cold. Thank you.
What are the water temps like in the pool? This will help me figure out what type of wetsuit to recommend to you. Thanks!
In my pool, so far, the temp has been 56-62. I, too, am interested in this question as I have an underwater treadmill on which I love running.
I’d recommend a 3/2mm flatlock fullsuit especially if you’ll be wearing the wetsuit to run underwater. I need to know your chest, height and weight measurements to help you figure out a size, but in the meantime, I’d recommend checking out our selection of women’s 3/2mm fullsuits (and hit the flatlock seam type filter): https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/wetsuits/category/womens-wetsuits-32mm.html
Does this have any special coating to deal with chlorinated water and last longer?
Hi Srini! Wetsuits don’t have a coating to protect them from chlorinated water, and swimming in pools will ultimately reduce the lifespan of a wetsuit. If you are planning on wearing a wetsuit in chlorinated pools to stay warm, be sure to rinse the suit thoroughly with freshwater inside and out at the end of each session so that it can last you as long as possible!