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Now I do have friends who will wear a wetsuit up to the temp it's not allowed and could care less about an award or a podium, be it they are looking for a personal best on the distance, or just showed up to complete a triathlon instead of racing the field, or they freak out swimming far off the shore in nothing more than a tri suit and want that safety cushion of buoyancy. I respect that, to each their own.
Tim Russell, Pro Triathlete
If air temps in the 60s on exiting water (rare, I know) i'd consider it, but carefully.
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I'm faster in my suit. It can get hot at the upper end of the "legal" limit, so I'll plan to hydrate on the way to t1 if I can. Some people stash flip flops, etc. I'm a super heavy sweater... so hydration is key for me.
You get out of the water cool and refreshed, invigorated, and you don't experience a gush of sweat pouring out of your wetsuit. You don't have that heat headache. It will take you longer to heat up, and you're totally in balance in that first 1/4 or more of the bike and riding smooth and sure because your core temp wasn't high from being wrapped in 5mm of neoprene. Your competitors are already making calculations on their comfort and energy budget for the rest of the day.
My first OWS this year was in a lake that was 62. That was a bit painful without the wetsuit, but maybe only for 3-4 minutes, and even then, I'd probably have been good on the bike. Just yesterday, the same lake was in the low 70s, and my group all commented that it was almost too warm. Halfway through, we stopped and stood completely out of the same low-70s water and chatted for a few minutes before turning back. No one shivered.
Maybe it's just me, but I doubt anyone would need a wetsuit in a summer race if the water is above 70. Try a training day at the lake or wherever WITHOUT the wetsuit, and see how you feel. Don't make your decisions based on the first 5 minutes of your training swim. Make those in the LAST 5 minutes of your training swim.
And I did an Olympic at Boulder res last weekend. Most used wetsuits and personally, I didn't feel overheated at all.
Personally, I'm not getting in a lake without one regardless of the temp. With no real ability for OWS practice besides race day, I don't need something else to worry about.