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Is It Easier to Swim in a Wetsuit?

   August 1st, 2023   Posted In: Articles  

Is It Easier to Swim in a Wetsuit?

Inevitably, you’ve seen some swimmers wearing wetsuits and wondered why. Or, you may have considered wearing one yourself and had a few questions before putting one on. Is it easier to swim in a wetsuit? Will it help, or hurt my performance? What are some of the benefits of wearing a wetsuit? I’ve spent time swimming with, and without, wetsuits and will help answer these questions.

is it easier to swim in a westuit

Why You Might Want to Swim in a Wetsuit

Truth is, you don’t need to break out a wetsuit every time you’re going swimming, but there are plenty of times when wearing a wetsuit is beneficial and encouraged. Wetsuits add a layer of protection, warmth, and buoyancy that can give you a leg up in some activities.

When it comes to water sports, wearing a wetsuit can bring a competitive advantage.

Is Easier to Swim in a Wetsuit?

The first few times you wear a wetsuit may be uncomfortable because of the new sensation of having tight fabric against your body. Once you get used to swimming in a wetsuit (there’s plenty of helpful guides on our blog), you can use the wetsuit as a tool to help make swimming easier.

Swim Faster

Triathlon-specific wetsuits can help you swim faster and help you swim more efficiently. When you swim without a wetsuit, it is just you and the water. The amount you float will be minimal so as you move forward, you’ll also be working to keep your body high in the water. The lower your body is in the water the more drag is created and the more energy you’ll expend.

Reduce Drag

When you swim in a wetsuit you can focus more on moving forward and less on keeping your body towards the top of the water, reducing your drag and making each stroke more meaningful. The neoprene triathlon wetsuits are made of is a naturally buoyant material, helping to keep your body high in the water with less work on your part.

More Body Roll

In addition to the buoyancy, swimming in a wetsuit allows your body to roll from side-to-side in the water more and helps you lift your arms higher out of the water for a longer reach with each stroke. When swimming in a wetsuit, you are working with less drag, more body roll, and a longer reach. Just by putting on a wetsuit, you can improve the efficiency of your swim.

Is Swimming in a Wetsuit Right for Me?

Whether you swim in a wetsuit or not comes down to personal preference and need. Wearing a wetsuit in cold water can make your swim more enjoyable and swimming in a wetsuit can help make you a more efficient swimmer. The insulation, drag reduction, and buoyancy in wetsuits work together to give you more from your swim. If you’ve thought about swimming in a wetsuit, give it a try. You might be surprised at how much easier it is.

*Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2020 and has since been reviewed and updated. (8/23)

Garrett grew up on the Chain of Lakes in Central Florida, spending afternoons and summer days wakeboarding, jet skiing and enjoying time in the sun and on the water with friends and family. Now, he likes to spend time traveling, learning new cultures by experiencing them as a local, and of course, getting pulled behind a boat whenever possible.

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  • John says:

    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.

  • Mariza says:

    I would like to buy wet suit shorts for swiming in a pool for training. Please advise

    • Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      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!

  • Deb Hill says:

    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!

    Deb Hill

    • Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      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!

  • Jack Bulkley says:

    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?

    • Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      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 (service@wetsuitwearhouse.com) or call 866-906-7848. Cheers!

    • Nadine Lanier says:

      Hi Jack,
      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?

  • Walter Klenhard says:

    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?

    • Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hey Walter! You can reach our awesome customer service team at (866)-906-7848 10 AM-4 PM EST. Cheers!

  • Sandy says:

    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.

    • Lauren Belt says:

      Hi Sandy,

      What are the water temps like in the pool? This will help me figure out what type of wetsuit to recommend to you. Thanks!

      • Debbie says:

        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.
        Thank you!

        • Lauren Belt says:

          Hi Debbie,

          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

          • Srini says:

            Does this have any special coating to deal with chlorinated water and last longer?

          • Elizabeth Werdnik says:

            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!

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