open water swimming without a wetsuit     Front crawl breathing in open water    Winter open water swimming without a wetsuit     Open water swimming without a wetsuit

This is the second part of my blog about if you need a wetsuit for open water swimming. In this part I’m looking at the benefits of swimming without a wetsuit. Whether your someone who usually swims breaststroke, are just learning front crawl or an experienced triathlete swimming without a wetsuit has lots of benefits.

1. Feel

It feels amazing to sense the water on your skin.

2. Nature

It makes you feel closer to nature and the environment when you can feel and sense the water around you.

3. Freedom

Wetsuits can feel tight and restrictive so swimming without one can give you a sense of freedom and relaxation

4. Connection

You get a much better sense of connection to the water and it’s easier to feel how your stroke and how your body is moving

5. Breaststroke is hard

Its hard to swim breaststroke in a wetsuit because the neoprene makes your legs float. If you only do breaststroke then swimming in your costume is likely to be a much nicer experience.

6. Back and Neck Pain

Wetsuits make you float higher in the water which can cause neck and back pain for some people.

7. Less faff

It’s quicker to get changed and ready as there’s no faff of putting a wetsuit on before you swim. If you’re going for a bracing 10min dip in winter who wants to spend 10min putting their wetsuit on as well.

8. Less Kit

There’s less kit! All you need is your cossie, hat, goggles and a towel. This makes it cheaper but also much easier to go on adventures because there’s less to carry. It’s much easier to take a 1mile hike across a moorland if you haven’t got a wetsuit to carry or to take a wild impromptu dip while you’re away on holiday or travelling for work.

9. Smelly Wetsuit

There’s no smelly wetsuit to dry afterwards.

10. Chafing

Sometimes wetsuits can rub and chafe around the next or under the arm pits which can be a bit unpleasant and doesn’t look very nice. Swimming in your costume means there’s no chafing.

11. Cost and Sizing

There’s no need to invest in a wetsuit and go through the difficulty of finding the right size etc.

12. Winter Swimming

If you’re swimming in the winter, then wearing a wetsuit can sometimes mean you don’t realise how cold you’ve got leading to a risk of hypothermia.  Wetsuits can be hard to get off quickly which can be a problem particular in winter if you’ve got very cold. If your hands have gone numb, then fiddling with zips and a tight wetsuit can be tricky and could be dangerous.

13. Not better – just different

Open water swimming without a wetsuit is not better than swimming with a wetsuit. lt’s just different.  I swim with and without a wetsuit all year round and I encourage all my clients to keep an open mind. If you’re just starting out learning front crawl or going open water swimming for the first time a wetsuit might really help. But you also might hate it and prefer to swim without. If you’re an experienced triathlete then doing some swimming without a wetsuit might give you some new experiences and feelings that will really help to improve your front crawl technique and confidence.

Give it a go!! And let me know how you get on.

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I’m Penny and I’m a triathlete and wild swimmer with a passion for outdoor adventures. I’m a triathlon coach and Total Immersion Swimming Teacher and I help people feel more comfortable in the water so they can swim further, discover the joy of swimming or finish a triathlon without feeling exhausted.