Written by: Mark Montgomery
Date: Tue May 28 2013
First up was the M skin, and at 5'10" and 170 it was a miracle I even got it on. Of course back in the suit war days - when these were legal in the pool - this was exactly the fit you were looking for, even tighter with a helper to stretch it on for you. I only needed help with the zipper, which is of the breakaway kind, and no strap needed. Pool was was set up as short course yards. All swims were done at about Ironman swim pace, so very moderate but strong. After a few 100's warm up the first trial on the 1:30 base went like this:
After less than a minute change with jammers underneath, the next six swims went this way:
After struggling for over 3 minutes I finally got it back on and the last set finished off:
I probably popped the 1:13 from all the rest I got in-between, but it was all I could do. I took 13 strokes a lap with the suit on in both trials, and 14 strokes with just the jammers, so just about one full stroke lap savings. Because the suit was so tight, I had lat muscle bulging out of the sides and it cut into me a bit, but more of a feeling than actual cutting. Nothing that a little body lube wouldn't cure. One curious note on the very first trial after the second 100 was that when I reached back to check the zipper, it was undone and about 1 1/2 inches down. I'm guessing that the guy that I had zip me up did not get it all the way to the locking tooth, so it slid down. The good thing was that the zipper was very sturdy and held after the initial drop and did not open up completely, even though I was busting out of the suit up top. It is also a spot that I would not expect any real drag, sitting right behind your head on the back. Just a lucky reminder to always double check the locking zippers found on a lot of the skins these days.
Next up was the ML in the same model suit. This one was also tight, but I was able to get it on by myself fairly quickly. This would be the size I would wear if I was wearing anything with a top as a trisuit underneath. I also did not have that lat cutting feeling on this one, so the extra room was just about right. Same warm up as day before and 1st set went this way:
Quickly out and into the jammer swim and this was the set:
Easily back into the suit in under 2 minutes and the last set was:
The stroke count was the same as the smaller suit, 13 with and 14 without. Time savings were virtually the same at just about 3 seconds per 100. Since I'm not set up to measure tenths of a second; this is the closest I can get in comparisons. I use a digital clock, so that eliminates the huge +/- of the pace clocks with hands. Most likely the tighter suit may be just a bit faster, as the compression is greatest in that one. And I strongly believe that compression is the single biggest factor that make these suits fast, next to their hydrodynamic properties. This suit had the paper-like feel of most of the others I have tested, and the seams are very smooth and taped on the inside. The leg grippers on both suits felt comfortable, and I have the usual cyclist quads. The suit had an elasticity to it and was the only reason I could even get that M on. Other suits I have worn in that paper like category were not as stretchy.
All in all a very nice suit, and with the stretch properties I'm guessing it will last many, many swims. As I pointed out the price point seems to be in the middle range, and I would put this one right up there with the best on the market. I'm glad I got to try both sizes as their M seems just a tad bit smaller than other companies, and at my size and weight I would go with the ML. Often you have to jump form a M to a L, so having this in between size worked out well for me.
These suits, much to my amazement, work! This is the third in my series of tests on speedsuits for no-wetsuit swims. This SpeedZoot compares very favorably to those made by TYR. 12.03.12
Do swim skins really work? Are they worth the money and effort in a no-wetsuit swim? This is the question we set out to answer in this, the first of our time-test reviews of entries in the swim skin category. 10.23.12