Practice/Racing Suit

Practice Suits and Racing Suits

Swimmers should have several practice suits.  Unlike some sports with required uniforms for both practice and competition, swimming is a highly individual sport.  Nowhere is this more obvious than in the area of practice and racing suits.  Each swimmer is welcome to wear any one-piece suit they desire.  If you aren’t sure what type of suit to purchase, here are some basic guidelines (some information taken from Swim Outlet website):

Female Swimmers:  Practice suits are always one-piece and are typically made of a blend of polyester, nylon, spandex, and LYCRA.  Swimsuits also come with several back designs.  Different manufacturers have different names for the style of their suits including:  Flyback, Proback, V-back, High Performance (HP) back, Cross Back, etc.  Which one is right for your swimmer is largely a personal choice. 

Many parents like the Speedo Endurance suits because when properly cared for they last a long time.  Many of the swimmers like the crazy styles of the Dolphin Uglies.  They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.   Speedo, Nike, Dolphin TYR, The Finals all offer good quality practice suits.  When looking for a practice suit, look for something with a combination of polyester and spandex, or something that has “endurance” fabric. 

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Male Swimmers:  Men's lap swimming suits range in coverage from minimal to full. Depending on style, comfort, and intended use — such as racing vs. practice — some styles will better meet your needs than others. Briefs, racers, and "Speedos™": These minimalist suits allow full range of motion for all strokes and have decreased drag.

Briefs: These are the traditional lap swimming suit for men and are worn for practice and racing. Take note that while briefs and races are sometimes colloquially called "Speedos™," Speedo is a brand that makes a full run of swimsuit styles.

Jammers:  A longer version of briefs, these suits hit mid-thigh. If worn very tightly they can restrict movement during breaststroke or treading water (but only minimally). They provide more coverage than traditional suits. They are worn for practice and racing.

Drag suits: Baggy mesh briefs that create drag in the water. Their purposefully-loose fit creates resistance and acts as a training aid. Lined ones can be worn alone, or over briefs. Drag suits are worn only during practice.

Square leg:  Square leg suits are only slightly longer than briefs, and tend to be more fashion-forward. Square leg suits are typically worn during practice but can also be worn for racing.

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How much should you spend on a practice suit?  A good suit can range from a low of $20.00 on clearance to around $60.00 at full-price.  Average price for a practice suit is about $45.00. 

Where should you buy a practice suit?  There are several stores in Springfield that sell quality practice suits.  Ultra-Max Sports is the official supplier of equipment for Springfield Aquatics, and has a limited selection of practice suits. Other sporting goods stores may have several to choose from as well.  Many swimmers get their suits completely online.  The following are some good websites to purchase swimwear:



What about Racing Suits?  Springfield Aquatics offers a black suit with the SPA logo from Action Accents.  As swimmers get older, they will start to ask about “technical” suits.  These are racing suits made from specially designed fabrics to reduce drag and help the swimmer go faster.  In general, SPA swimmers are not swimming at a level where the suit they wear will make a difference in their time.  Owning a technical suit is more psychological than anything. 

In general, racing suits should fit more tightly.  When pulling the shoulder straps technical suits should not extend past the bottom of the ear.  On the other hand, a practice suit may go up to the top of the ear.  Racing suits are also less durable than a practice suit, and should only be worn on meet days.  Please consult with your coach before spending a lot of money on a technical racing suit.