What do you get when you combine the experience of a couple of the best swim coaches around, the science from someone who has a PhD in mechanics and energetics of swimming (yes that is correct) and works at a university in the Department of Human Movement Sciences? Throw in an understanding that most triathletes come to the sport from a non-swimming background and find the swim the most challenging of the three disciplines and you get an interesting new product.
We heard about a new wetsuit recently from a pro triathlete who has just started to swim in one of the new models. Anna Cleaver is one of the better female swimmers in the sport having represented New Zealand as a swimmer prior to starting triathlons. Anna held NZ swimming records along with national and international titles. Still she wants to swim faster and she is buzzing so much about this new wetsuit that we wanted to find out more about it.
The brand is Huub and the first photos and marketing talk look impressive. Triathletes are always looking for an edge (or even just some assistance) but let’s face it we all like a bit of bling. The Huub Archimedes model certainly has bling. The calves and biceps have a red panel which according to the team from Huub allow for release of the muscles to aid swimming.
There are three parts to triathlon and the swim is the one that most find the most challenging and the hardest to improve. The guys at Huub are claiming to have a range of wetsuits aimed at different body types. Using figures that show a swimmer can reduce drag by up to 30% with the correct wetsuit Huub have developed a range of products that offer different levels of suits and different types of buoyancy. They have also introduced a ‘skeleton’ that keeps the right parts of the body stiffer to hold the swimmer straight and aligned through the core while encouraging good body roll.
Another interesting aspect of these new wetsuits is the panelling on the back. The guys at Swim Smooth looked at data that shows up to 70% of swimmers cross-over the centre line in front of their head when they swim, losing propulsion and causing them to snake through the water. The new Huub wetsuits incorporate panelling at the back that work towards minimalising this whilst also propelling the arm forward.
Having looked through the literature and being a typical age group triathlete it is hard not to be drawn in to the ‘marketing’ science. Can’t wait to see one in person and try it out!