Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Kirksville, MO
Bikes: Specialized Stumpjumper M2, Kastan (custom built) BMX race bike, GT Raider bmx bike
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I must agree with the law of diminishing returns in terms of speed, however, I would take such advice on this particular purchase with a grain of salt. Here is why. The cheaper the suit, the fewer panels, and peices, and layers will GENERALLY go into it. What you start to see at higher levels is the employment of a greater variety of materials in the interest of ergonomics, not just buoyancy and hydrodymanics. For instance, the top of the line blueseventy suit has the helix around the chest, shoulder, and shoulderblades to help free up arm movement. A lot of great swimmers out there will advocate sleeveless wetsuits in order to protect from fatigue and promote flexibility.
In swimming, effort is far less important than form (something that, after studying pretty in depth) cannot be said to have the same effect in biking or swimming. As such, taking the hit in price may be worth it if you decide to opt for the top of the line sleeved suit.
I personally bought a blueseventy energie last summer. I have only had 1 wetsuit triathlon thus far. I did pretty well, but not that I am swimming with substantially higher volume (I'm doing Ironman CDA this summer) I am beginning to wish I had gone for a sleveless, even though lake Coeur d'Alene is so cold. Keeping your deltoids relaxed for an hour of swimming is devinitely worth the tradeoffs you need to make (a little discomfort from the cold, or a flimsier wallet from a more expensive, but more flexible suit. Of course, the underlying premise here is that fit IS EVERYTHING. I'm just in a bit of a precarious position because I have a pretty long torso, which is going to cause more pull than many suits (like the DeSoto...although I'm not willing to buy a wetsuit I cannot first try on, and nobody in St. Louis stocks them).