Swimskins: 2 of the best reviewed for triathlon
Top age-grouper Jack Sexty puts two swimskins through their paces to see if they deliver the swim gains promised
Can this swimskin secure the OW gains?
Huub’s Albacore range also includes a tri-suit and a wetsuit, which they say represents the pinnacle of their expertise in hydrodynamics. The testing procedure, dubbed the M.A.D (Measuring Active Drag) system, involves numerous sensor pads placed underneath the swimmer, recording every stroke to measure hydro gains. Huub’s ‘constrictor system’ here is designed to compress and reduce inefficient snaking through the water. It also features the same strong zipper as the Blueseventy PZ4TX+.
Huub claim the Albacore swimskin can improve efficiency by 4.5secs per 100m; that’s a big claim for a swimskin, and in our pool tests that included countless 100m repeats, for us, it was more like 3secs per 100m, plus a slight stroke rate improvement. That’s still a significant saving, which goes some way to justifying the price of your next iron-distance swim in a warm location. The red stripes down either side of the suit are a bit tough where they meet the leg grippers and we could feel it out of the water, but in it they caused no irritation when swimming. Our size medium felt snug without being restrictive, so it might be worth checking size guides (there are seven sizes in all).
Verdict: Expensive, but comfortable and rapid through the water 90%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
It has the tech, but will it perform in the water?
Blueseventy offer their PZ4TX swimskin with short sleeves or sleeveless, with a £25 levy on the sleeved version we tested (the PZ4TX+). They’ve done their homework by testing for over a year before arriving at the finished product, using Italian fabrics that are infused to repel water, rather than adding hydrophobic coatings that can wear off over time. We found the fit to be true to size and it has a quality YKK back zipper with a gap big enough to attach a cord for easier removal.
In the pool we found our swim speeds improved in line with the Albacore, around 3secs per 100m with around four strokes less per 100m required. Although Blueseventy claim the bonded seams reduce pressure points and chafing, we found the fabric a little abrasive, and suffered some underarm chafing in a long sea swim. While the restriction is nothing compared to a wetsuit, this added to a feeling of being a little boxed in, so we’d go for the PZ4TX without sleeves for the comfort, even if there may be minimal speed gains in having the hydrophobic material down to your elbows. But if it’s marginal gains you want and the slight restriction doesn’t bother you, then the PZ4TX+ is a decent hi-tech option for Kona athletes.
Verdict: excellent tech and feels fast, but we’d prefer the sleeveless version 81%
Buy from mytriathlon.co.uk