By: Blonde Two
You might remember that a week or so ago I had an issue with a wetsuit that refused to stretch to fit my curvaceous body (easier to blame the wetsuit for this rather than my eating habits!) Outdoor swimming wetsuits are, it would appear, tricksy creatures!
The whole ‘Wetsuit One’ thing was a matter of great disappointment (a fair bit of which was my own fault). Here is what I did wrong:
1. I didn’t believe the size and weight charts. Apparently, 95 kilos is a lot more than 76 kilos which was the top weight on the Orca women’s wetsuit chart.
2. I didn’t check where the order was being sent from. As it turned out Spain is a lot further away (in postage time) than Ambleside.
3. I didn’t talk to a specialist. Ordering online is all very well but looking at pictures and taking guesses can become expensive when you have to pay for returns… to Spain!
Thankfully after all of these mistakes, a swimmy friend introduced me to the great bunch of guys (and girls) that make up the Swim the Lakes team. I emailed them my ‘I can’t even fit into the biggest wetsuit’ plight and they responded very sensibly (clearly used to dealing with near hysterical women) with a request for my height, dress size, weight and pictures of myself to show my body shape (what a brilliant idea). Once they had received these we had a phone call during which Pete called me, ‘Chuck’ (which calmed me down instantly), asked me about my swimming style, explained the differences between differently priced wetsuits and made a recommendation to suit.
Copyright Swim the Lakes 2017
Two days later the recommended outdoor swimming wetsuit arrived (Blue Seventy wetsuits are apparently generous when it comes to size). I put in on straight away with no (well very little) bother and did a bit of lounge swimming practice. (Yes that is a pair of socks on my hands and no, knee length socks are not the right ones to choose for trying a wetsuit on!)
I will be making my outdoor swimming purchases from Swim the Lakes from now on and will certainly be visiting if I ever make it up to the Lake District (what a confession for a walker/swimmer, that she has never made the pilgrimage). As well as expert wetsuit advice over the phone, these guys do wetsuit fitting, run wetsuit try-on events and hire wetsuits out. They also run a range of outdoor swimming breaks, swimming days, introductions and outdoor swimming courses.
In my line of work, I write the words, ‘consult the experts’ at least once a day. From now on I will be taking my own advice when it comes to outdoor gear and outdoor swimming gear!