SWIM TOYS ACCESSORIZE YOUR SWIM
Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference. Once you’ve got your wetsuit dialled in, don’t forget to look around your local swim shop for the extras that can make all the difference to your comfort and performance. We have a few suggestions for you:
Blueseventy Zoot Dare2tri Speedo Hydra-vision Goggles
We’ve said it before, but the message still works: what we’ve enjoyed about all the Blueseventy goggles we’ve tried is that they “just work.” The soft frame technology ensures you get excellent visibility and improved dynamics in the water all in a comfortable goggle that will get you through the longest workouts or open water swims. You can even get a polarized lens for sunny days to ensure you have the best possible vision of buoys to help you sight and find the best possible line.
Swimfit Neoprene Cap
Early- or late-season races and training swims can be plenty cold and we all know how much of your body heat gets lost from your head. (Remember all those times your mother told you to wear your hat?) Thanks to the Zoot Swimfit Neoprene cap that’s made of a combination of two and three mm neoprene, you’ll get some added warmth and protection.
Whether you’re carting your equipment off to a workout, or taking your wetsuit and other gear to an open water or brick workout, the uniquely-shaped 3-Angle Duffle will get the job done. There are separate compartments for holding a wetsuit, shoes, goggles, helmet, water bottle, cell phone and other valuable equipment.
Who wants buoyancy shorts when you can go the whole way and get yourself the Kickpant? Designed to give your legs and rear buoyancy while providing active stroke correction to your kicking technique and alignment in the water, the Kickpant does much more than simply act like a pull buoy. The Kickpant actively improves your kicking technique by keeping you aligned and holding your legs straighter and with good alignment. Thanks to the ¾ length 5-mm thick pants you get the feeling of having a wetsuit on while improving your kick and technique.
Vanquisher 2.0 Mirrored Goggle
Whether you’re swimming in a pool or taking on an open water challenge you’ll love the Vanquisher. It has a low-profile design favoured by pool competitors, but still offers 25 per cent more peripheral vision than other goggles. Soft silicone eye seals and three interchangeable nose pieces ensure you’ll get a snug, comfortable fit. The mirrored coating reduces glare, while the anti-fog lenses provide UV protection, too.— KM
$27; $36 POLARIZED $30 $80 $250 $26
Thanks to a Nano SCS Coating you get an extra four per cent buoyancy, which, coupled with the front panel with buoyancy inserts, keeps you nice and high in the water. Add in the seamless shoulder and arm panels for enhanced flexibility along with the super- stretchy liner and thin-in- the-right- spots neoprene and you have an incredibly comfortable and speedy suit.
A combination of Yamomoto Cell 40, Yamomoto Cell 39 and SCS Nano rubber provide excellent flotation, flexibility and hydrodynamics in Zoot’s top-of-the-line suit – wikiwiki means quick in Hawaiian, which is exactly what you’ll be wearing this speedster. The specially designed arm panels cut through the water with little resistance, while the 5-mm think strategically placed panels around the suit put you high in the water, help you float and keep you in the optimal swimming position that allows for lots of rotation and a long stroke.
Blueseventy Thermal Helix
Looking for a suit to keep you going in even the coldest water? Look no further. The Thermal Helix takes all the amazing features of the top-of-the-line Helix and adds a warmer lining to get you through swims in water as cold as 9 C. Yamamoto Aerodome and 40 cell rubber is strategically used throughout the suit in thicknesses varying from 1.5 to 5 mm to ensure excellent buoyancy and flexibility.
Dare2tri Mach 4S
The new Mach 4S improves on Dare2tri’s Mach 4 by using a new kind of rubber and new SCS coating – what they’re calling Glide Skin – to reduce water resistance. That rubber is mixed in a variety of different thicknesses throughout the suit to give you the best buoyancy and shoulder flexibility. Aqua grip panels help keep the water under the arms and legs to improve your pull and kick, too.
The latest premium suit from Huub adds to the features that have made their suits so popular with some of the world’s fastest pros. A specially designed “restrictor” built into the suit helps you stay straight in the water, while special high modulus, high tension neoprene is strategically used to provide excellent support and flexibility. The specially designed “bicep release” ensures a relaxed recovery and catch, while the “elbow release” makes it easy to keep your elbow nice and high on the recovery, too. The result is a suit that is so flexible where it needs to be that you hardly feel like you have it on.— KM
$840 $ 750 $950 $595 $1,100
Have you ever envied a professional triathlete’s resources to perfect their aerodynamics? Most of us can’t afford to rent out wind tunnels to dial in our bike position. Enter Kitchener, Ont.- based STAC Performance, the creators of the magnetic Zero trainer. Their latest technology is a virtual wind tunnel system that can help any triathlete reach their true aero potential on the bike without breaking the bank. The virtual wind tunnel (VWT) “allows you to realize the performance benefits of renting a full scale wind tunnel at only a fraction of the cost.” They take scans of a rider’s position and process them in a system that analyzes air flow around the rider and, therefore, the drag they’re creating. So far, the guys at STAC have put pros Cody Beals and Alex Vanderlinden through the system and helped each of them make substantial improvements in their position. The next step is to market it across Canada and make it accessible to all triathletes.
“As one of the first test subjects, I immediately recognized the tremendous potential of this technology,” Beals told TMC, “Over the past year, I’ve been using the VWT to optimize my position and inform my equipment choices for racing. My results were in close agreement with my data from a conventional wind tunnel, which validates this approach. Testing with the VWT is far more convenient, quick and affordable than a trip to the wind tunnel or
velodrome, making aerodynamic testing more accessible for athletes, coaches, bike fitters and product developers. It’s a revolutionary step forward.”
How it works
Thanks to the VWT’S simple setup, the service can be performed almost anywhere. I tested out the system in December at a bike studio in Toronto. STAC’S Andrew Buckrell had me set up my TT bike on a trainer. Using the hardware for the system – an off- theshelf 3D scanner – Buckrell moved around me and scanned me and my bike as I held my position for a minute or so. The device gathers a high-resolution image of the rider, which STAC then takes in for processing and analysis.
“The analysis we do is called computational f luid dynamics,” explains Buckrell. “We perform calculations that deliver the aerodynamic data – how the flow moves around the rider and how much drag they’re creating – which helps us better fit them on the bike and improve their overall performance at their next race.”
Facilities that offer the service will take the scans themselves and then send them to STAC for processing. While the scan itself is a fairly quick process, the data processing takes about 24 hours. STAC did three scans of my position, moving around hydration systems and making adjustments to my head position. I also had a bike fitter make adjustments to my bike for the scans to help dial in the best position. When coupled with the expertise of a good triathlon bike fitter, the VWT will truly give triathletes a competitive edge. “With the bike fit you’re able to capture important biomechanics,” Buckrell says. “Combining that with aerodynamics helps us find out an individual’s optimal position.” We ultimately were able to find a position that will save me valuable time on the bike leg of my full-distance race this summer. Buckrell says most triathletes can expect to take a few minutes off their short distance race and, in some extreme cases, the system can help save 10 minutes over the course of a full- distance bike leg.
Worth it for the average triathlete?
The price point for the service right now is between $150 and $300, depending on the number of scans performed. When you take into account the costs of various aero equipment on the market, this is a modest price to pay for easy speed on the bike and, ultimately, faster race times. “I’ll be doing a few separate tests with STAC this season, to find out the fastest setup for me,” says B.c.-based pro Nathan Killam. “I think this is one of the best values a rider can get for getting those last few watts of efficiency.” Currently the service is only offered at the X3 Training Lab in Toronto, but there are plans to take it out west and expand it within triathlon hubs across the country.