The other day I had one of the nine year old girls that I coach tell me that she had bought a navy blue Arena training suit just like the one that I have. I was surprised to hear that the things I wore on deck had an impact on others, but then again I, too, often see someone wearing a suit and think “man I need to get that!”. The arena Carbon-Air, which is the newest addition to the Carbon Series, is no different. It has a colourful yet classic style that had me hooked from the first time I saw it in a picture advertising its upcoming release.
Because of the fact that a swimmer’s competition gear is relatively minimal, the suit, cap and goggles that we choose to wear can be considered a form of personal expression. I have one friend that refuses to wear any colours other than pink, and another who picks out only the most vibrantly designed suits. The arena Carbon-Air collection allows you to make a statement on deck with its sleek, bold look. It is the type of suit that lets you feel comfortable and confident, which translates to your racing.
Suits, however, are not JUST made for us swimmers to look pretty in. We have to be able to perform and move freely, and racing suits tend to share one common feature: they are notoriously tricky to get into. I personally love watching the little dances swimmers do as they try to squeeze into them, which features a lot of jumping, tugging and sucking-in of the stomach. Once actually on, though, suits tend to differ in the way that they fit. The major thing that I noticed about the arena Carbon-Air was the freedom that it allowed. It provides a balance between compression and flexibility; a suit that’s tight-fitted, but still lets your body move in the ways that the sport demands. Even while swimming, I found that the water repellency of the suit makes you feel light as ‘Air’ on the surface of the water (which was presumably the logic behind its name). Everyone strives for an effortlessly smooth stroke while racing, and I was impressed with how well the suit allowed for that free range of motion.
When it all comes down to it, a suit’s fit, feeling and appearance have an influence on the way we race. A technical suit can be thought of as an extra weapon in a swimmer’s artillery; something that complements our greatest strengths as athletes- our mind and body. So choose your weapon wisely.