On race day, every competitive edge counts, and that’s why choosing a quality women’s competition suit is essential. The best competition swimsuits will provide glide and compression, features that help increase your speed in the water.
Whether you’re new on the swim team, working on improving your technique, or a seasoned competitive athlete, we want you to understand how to choose a women’s competition swimsuit. We’ll cover what makes a racing swimsuit stand out over other types of swimwear. Then, we’ll look into the different kinds of tech suits out there. After that, we’ll go over how your suit should fit and proper care to help it last.
Competition swimwear is designed specifically for performance in the water. These specialized suits are packed with technology and are much different from training suits for lap swimming and lounge swimwear.
While a two-piece bikini top and bikini bottom might be great for casual use, they certainly won’t cut it for competitive use. Water polo swimsuits are built to be tough but not necessarily fast, and even swim-specific practice suits lack special design features needed to improve your swim performance.
Your best option is to select a competition swimsuit that enhances key areas of your swim experience. Let’s look into the benefits of wearing a women’s competition swimsuit.
To achieve the best glide through the water, your competition suit needs design features that reduce drag. Competition swimsuits like arena‘s Powerskin R-EVO ONE and the Powerskin ST 2.0 have special technology in the fabric that reduces water absorption and improves glide through the water. (They are also the perfect choice for entry-level competitors.)
Reduced drag and increased glide mean you’ll expend less energy as you swim, leading to better race times. Your streamlines will feel smoother, and your stroke will feel optimized as you cruise through the water during a race.
Competition swimsuits provide muscle compression in critical areas of your body, optimizing muscle performance. Race suits in arena’s entire Powerskin Carbon range include 1% carbon in the fabric, increasing muscle compression even further. These suits include the Carbon Glide, Carbon Core FX, Carbon Air2, and the Carbon DUO (which is sold in top and bottom separates).
Added muscle compression keeps your muscles warm and even helps prevent injury. Muscle compression used during activity increases blood flow, which can boost muscle performance and reduce soreness after exercise. Plus, compression in your legs and torso optimizes the shape and stability of your body so you can move through the water with minimal drag.
A free range of motion is essential to performance during a swim race. The entire arena women’s competition suit line is made from a combination of polyamide and elastane (a material sometimes known as spandex or Lycra). The arena suits in the Carbon line have carbon fiber added to the polyamide and elastane fabric.
Carbon is 10 times stronger than steel and has shape memory that helps maintain the swimsuit’s structure without restricting your range of motion. That means, you can move freely in your swimsuit without worrying about distorting the shape of the fabric.
A free range of motion means you’ll get the most out of your natural stroke and won’t experience any restrictions caused by your swimsuit. Plus, you won’t experience any discomfort from your suit during races.
You can select from an open-back swimsuit (also called a racerback) or a closed-back swimsuit. Both styles are performance back closures designed for racing.
You won’t find tie-back closures, flyback closures, or cross-back closures on competition swimsuits, but these are available in arena‘s line of women’s training suits.
Let’s cover the differences between open-back and closed-back swimsuits and why you might choose one over the other:
When it comes to an open-back one-piece swimsuit:
When it comes to a closed-back one-piece swimsuit:
In the end, it comes down to personal preference and what you want out of your tech suit. If you think you might prefer feeling close to the water, opt for an open-back suit like the Powerskin Carbon Core FX Open Back. If you want added support for your back muscles, look into a suit like the Powerskin Carbon Core FX Closed Back.
When deciding on what type of swimsuit fabric you want, you can choose between knitted fabric or woven fabric. Knitted fabric suits are an excellent option for beginners, while woven fabric suits are packed with the best technology for the most competitive swimmers. Let’s cover each of these fabric types so you can decide which one will work best for you.
Knitted fabrics suits provide an outstanding entry-level race suit at a great value. These swimsuits are made with a combination of polyamide and elastane and offer an excellent balance between comfort and performance. These suits are easy to get on and off while still providing optimal glide and drag reduction in the water.
Woven fabric suits provide the best option for highly competitive swimmers. arena’s woven suits are made with polyamide, elastane, and carbon fiber that provides mobility, compression, and durability. The addition of carbon creates a suit that has a resilient shape and allows a swimmer to move freely. Strategic areas of compression offer the swimmer support and outstanding glide through the water.
The most popular women’s competition suit style is the kneeskin. This swimsuit style provides compression through your legs, increasing your hydrodynamics in the water so you can swim faster. This swimsuit style is what is commonly used by female competitive swimmers, as these suits are packed with the best technology to improve your competitive edge during a race.
For those who do not wish to wear a kneeskin, you can look into a traditional-cut swimsuit like the Powerskin ST Classic. While these suits are more often worn by junior swimmers, the option is available if you prefer this style.
If you’re looking for a more customized fit and want the benefits of wearing kneeskin, the arena Powerskin Carbon DUO is sold in a separate top and bottom. This suit allows you to find the fit that works best for your body because you can pair the best-fitting top with the best-fitting bottom to create a race-ready kneeskin swimsuit.
As a competitive swimmer, you want your race suit to fit right. A suit that fits well will ensure you take advantage of all the benefits a tech suit brings.
If your swimsuit is too loose, you risk experiencing chafing. A loose swimsuit will also create unwanted drag over the course of your swim, ultimately slowing you down.
A suit that is too tight will restrict your range of motion. When you can’t move freely, you will not be capable of performing your stroke correctly.
When you try on your swimsuit, see if you can move around freely. Check to see if any areas on the suit seem too loose. Race suits are meant to fit snug because they are designed to provide compression. A snug fit is normal, just as long as it doesn’t restrict your movement.
Proper care ensures your swimsuit will last as long as possible. It also makes it so the performance level of your suit stays high for many uses.
While all arena’s women’s competition swimsuits are chlorine resistant, it is good to rinse your suit out with fresh water after using it. Once you rinse the suit out, hang it to dry out of the sunlight and away from any heat sources.
Avoid storing your swimsuit in a bag or in a car that is left in direct sunlight. The heat trapped inside a bag or car is unsuitable for race suit material.
Forget the color block, cutout tankini for a swim race. When you want to compete at your highest level, be sure you equip yourself with a quality competition swimsuit. You’ll notice the difference in glide and compression while wearing a race suit, and you won’t look back. Once you decide on the back closure and suit style you prefer and find that perfect fit, you’ve got what you need to bring your best game to your next swim event.
Need any other swimming gear before your next big race or for training? Look no further than the arena online store.