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Swimskins?
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Anybody have a swimskin recommendation (brand, sleeveless vs. sleeved)? I qualified for Kona at Lake Placid last weekend, and I'm going to need a new swimskin for the Kona swim. Let's just say that I didn't get to Kona on the strength of my swim, so I'm seeking all of the help I can get. I have an old Roka swimskin, but I suspect that's lost all of its hydrophobic properties at this point. Could go back to Roka, but I've also seen good things about Kiwami and QR? Any others? Thanks!
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Re: Swimskins? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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I have a sleeved Roka that I used in Kona. I love it!!

David
* Ironman for Life! (Blog) * IM Everyday Hero Video * Daggett Shuler Law *
Disclaimer: I have personal and professional relationships with many athletes, vendors, and organizations in the triathlon world.
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Re: Swimskins? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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I was spectating at Ohio 70.3 this past weekend and 75% of swimmers were struggling to get unzipped from their swimskins because they couldn’t reach the zipper. Not sure if this was a lack of experience with them or what but
whichever route you go, might be good to go with one that has a string already attached to the zipper or just create your own.
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Re: Swimskins? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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Unless you are racing for the podium in Kona, what about just shaving down your chest and shoulder and arms like a swimmer and swim with your tri shorts on, and put your top on in T1 (assuming you have a full length zip). Save the $$$ and spend it on family.

If you were going to a no wetsuit KQ swim then fine, spend all the $$$ needed to shave time. In Kona, no one cares if you are 6th, 11th, 16th, 21st, 26th, 51st, 76th, 101st etc etc in your age group. Kona is the reward. The race is at the qualifier unless you're a podium contender at Kona. I bet your old suit is hydrophobic enough for more age group purposes assuming it did not turn into a drag chute!
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Re: Swimskins? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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Have used a number of them and I'm biased as I feel the Kiwami suit is amazing. I am on their team, but because I believe in their products; not just for a selfish reason. Their clothing is the best. That said, unlike other opinions; you're in Kona! Go for the best and fastest stuff you can muster as it happens very infrequently. Grab every brass ring and save every second as it's YOUR championship, no matter who else is there. At the WC, I would leave no stone unturned to perform at me best and I can tell you; a swimskin WILL make you faster.
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Re: Swimskins? [Strugglebeast] [ In reply to ]
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In regards to reaching the zipper:

On mine you just flip the zipper pull tab thingy up and then pull one side of the swimskin and it pulls apart and the zipper goes down. I may not be explaining this well, but there’s a lot of cycling jerseys that unzip in the same way, I think it’s a model of YKK zippers that do this. So the only reach to the zipper is to flip the zipper tab up.
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Re: Swimskins? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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proftri wrote:
Anybody have a swimskin recommendation (brand, sleeveless vs. sleeved)? I qualified for Kona at Lake Placid last weekend, and I'm going to need a new swimskin for the Kona swim. Let's just say that I didn't get to Kona on the strength of my swim, so I'm seeking all of the help I can get.

Others may disagree, but I would imagine the benefits of a swimskin are much less with a weaker swimmer. Save your money and draft off someone quicker.
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Re: Swimskins? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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I'm not going to get into the debate of if you should have a swimskin or not but something to be aware of... I got a Roka for Kona 2019 and it is tight as it should be but it was too restrictive with my tri suit up under it. I had to have the top of my tri suit rolled down around my waste and slip it on as I ran into transition after pulling my swimskin down. Mind you that's what Frodo did at his tri battle a few weeks ago from under his wetsuit. I personally found it fine and lost no time but if that is going to annoy you then I'd recommend getting a sleeveless one like I had done at my previous Konas with my trisuit zipped up. That being said I did like the sleeved Roka suit to swim in. Did it make me go faster???
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Re: Swimskins? [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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devashish_paul wrote:

If you were going to a no wetsuit KQ swim then fine, spend all the $$$ needed to shave time. In Kona, no one cares if you are 6th, 11th, 16th, 21st, 26th, 51st, 76th, 101st etc etc in your age group. Kona is the reward. The race is at the qualifier unless you're a podium contender at Kona. I bet your old suit is hydrophobic enough for more age group purposes assuming it did not turn into a drag chute!

I appreciate that perspective. I really do. I am not trying to get on the podium at Kona, but I'm thinking about a new swimskin precisely so that I enjoy the day a bit more. The quicker I get out of the water, the happier I'll be.
Last edited by: proftri: Aug 2, 21 1:58
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Re: Swimskins? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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Hey! I would definitely use a swim skin for a 70.3 or IM. I am not a great swimmer at all but it seems to benefit me pretty good. compression and creaseless surface and water repelling fabric makes for a faster swim. Kona transition run is LONG: plenty of time to remove it while running to your bike.

Your old one probably will do OK based on my un-scientific tests below.. my very old XTERRA tested very close to a brand new Roka (both sleeveless) over 200's.

That being said, based on the same low-key testing, sleeved suits tested a lot faster in the pool for me.. especially if planning to swim with a sleeved tri-suit all the way up, under.

I set to check that twice in recent years and the difference in the pool was surprisingly high: couple seconds per 100 gain for the sleeved suit.
This was with the Kiwami Aquarush.. But my guess it has more to do with the sleeves than the brand, smoothing everything out from the elbows.
This might be for me only...

However, I have to say I've used the Kiwami in a couple of races, and I can't say that my swim split/rank really showed that compared to expectations or previous splits.. but hard to pull conclusions from OWS courses.. And the other thing is that I don't know about the Roka sleeved, but the Kiwami takes me a LOT of time to remove. arms stay stuck, etc. I would refrain from using in a race with a very short distance between swim exit and bike (like some local races).

Basic tests I did, to decide gear to use for upcoming races:


Sept 2017 - 200's IM mid race efforts (deciding for Kona)


Baseline =3:14 (swim jammer only)
Old Xterra = 3:07 (sleeveless w sleeved tri top)
Old Xterra = 3:06 (sleeveless, no tri top)
Kiwami Sleeved = 3:02
Baseline Repeat = 3:13


-------------------
July 2018 - 200's 70.3 mid race efforts (Deciding for 70.3 Muncie)
Sleeved Tri Top for all test after baseline


Baseline =3:11 (swim jammer only)
Old Xterra = 2:59 (sleeveless)
New Roka = 2:59 (sleeveless)
Kiwami Sleeved = 2:55

---------------------------------
T. Guertin / Spocket
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Re: Swimskins? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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I think a lot of swimskins are going to be very close to each other and contrary to what people have said they are well worth it.

I tested the Kiwami one right before it was released. Here are the results

FWIW showing up to a non wetsuit race without a swimskin is like giving everyone a head start.

It's going to require more energy to get through the swim without it which reduces your ability to have a great race. The more energy you spend prior to the last half of the run the greater your chances of a shit day.

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
Insta Twitter

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Re: Swimskins? [desert dude] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks, Brian. Acknowledging what you say about the similarity of the different skins, any chance you've tried the Roka to compare it to the Kiwami?
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Re: Swimskins? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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I used my sleeveless Roka in Kona and loved it! Have fun, and congrats:)
Last edited by: charlietris: Aug 3, 21 5:47
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Re: Swimskins? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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I've swam in a Roka many years ago. Didn't do any testing or racing in one though, just tried it out.

I suspect that most sleeveless swim skins are going to be :01 -:02 within each other. The problem is, much like aero helmets, these differences are going to be individual. :01 or :02/100yd or 100m.

When you do the math that becomes significant, also has implications for mass starts or when you find yourself in a small group, or holding onto the back of a group or even leading a group.

I'd like to say the same about sleeved swim skins vs sleeveless, at most a :02 difference but I have no experience with any sleeved other than the Kiwami, nor have I compared those types.

Happy to do that sort of testing for everyone in late August if people want to send me suits to test.

FWIW and in full disclosure I'll be wearing the Kiwami when I do my first non wetsuit race Aug 14 in NC.

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
Insta Twitter

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Re: Swimskins? [desert dude] [ In reply to ]
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Brian - did the Kwami fit true to size? I see you used a Small. What's your height/weight? I typically wear a small but according to their size chart I'd be a medium. Curious as to fit.
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Re: Swimskins? [desert dude] [ In reply to ]
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desert dude wrote:
I've swam in a Roka many years ago. Didn't do any testing or racing in one though, just tried it out.

I suspect that most sleeveless swim skins are going to be :01 -:02 within each other. The problem is, much like aero helmets, these differences are going to be individual. :01 or :02/100yd or 100m.

When you do the math that becomes significant, also has implications for mass starts or when you find yourself in a small group, or holding onto the back of a group or even leading a group.

I'd like to say the same about sleeved swim skins vs sleeveless, at most a :02 difference but I have no experience with any sleeved other than the Kiwami, nor have I compared those types.

Happy to do that sort of testing for everyone in late August if people want to send me suits to test.

FWIW and in full disclosure I'll be wearing the Kiwami when I do my first non wetsuit race Aug 14 in NC.

Where are you pulling these numbers from? Seems highly speculative.
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Re: Swimskins? [WHITEJM74] [ In reply to ]
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on the same topic, Thought I read somewhere that sleeved swimskins were no longer legal at Kona, anyone have any intel?
thanks!
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Re: Swimskins? [WHITEJM74] [ In reply to ]
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Where are you pulling these numbers from? Seems highly speculative. //

I dont believe he is pulling them from anywhere, he actually did a whole bunch of tests on many different suits and has his actual numbers. I did the same sort of tests awhile back, most of the results are here in the front page archives somewhere. But like Brian, I got all the suits within a second or so of each other, around 3 seconds a 100 faster at about 1;15 pace(SCY). That tracks pretty well with what the old super suits gave top world class swimmers too, in a 40+ second race, most got a second +/- a few tenths. And one would also expect that slower swimmers would get a bit more advantage out of the compression, as they have a lot more to compress vs a world class swimmer with 5% body fat..(-;
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