High-Performance Suit Frequently Asked Questions
Q: At what age should an athlete purchase their first "Performance" suit?
A: Age 12, at the earliest.
Q: My child is 12 and does not wear the "Performance" suits. I've noticed some of my child's competitors are wearing the "Performance" suits and have started to improve at a higher rate than my child. I want to help my child go faster and I hear a new suit may help. What can I do?
A: Buy a new "Competition Suit" -- so the child is not wearing an old, baggy suit. But do not give into buying the "Performance" suit. Join the coaches in helping the athlete understand their own performance and their own training, and steer them away from obsessing over the (natural) inclination to compare one's self to others.
Q: What brand of "Performance" suit is the best?
A: Speedo. For overall service combined with product and availability, Speedo is the best -- and it's "OUR" brand at AULEA Swim Club. Please do plan to buy Speedo products! By December 2015 we want to have used up any other brand we have purchased in the last year, and be a fully-Speedo team. AULEA Swim Club is a Speedo-sponsored Team, and whether it's "Performance" suits, "Competition" suits, or caps/goggles -- we buy Speedo.
Q: How long do the "Performance" suits last, and what do we do with older "Performance" suits?
A: "Performance" suits will last through one major meet. Keep the suit after the meet and use it during the preliminary sessions of future meets (for instance, save the suit from Summer Sectionals, and use it for prelims of the High School Regional Championship…you won't get the same boost when compared to a "new" "Performance" suit, but you will still get a boost, and that beats throwing these suits away).
Q: What sort of performance boost should an athlete expect with a "Performance" suit?
A: Assuming the suit is well-fitting and new, an athlete can expect an enhanced ability to maintain proper body alignment. Improved body alignment can combine with athletic optimism, great training, and strong-willed racing to produce top individual performances.
Q: What is it about "Performance" suits that make them so special (and expensive)?
A: "Performance" suits offer more compression to an athlete's core, allowing the athlete to swim with an aligned and firm body. The type of fabric and stitching patterns vary from suit to suit, so the stitching pattern on the "Performance" suits will be different than that of the "Competition" suits. The experience and feel of the two suits is completely different! The "Performance" suit allows the human body to function like a torpedo, compared to a "swimming noodle".
Q: I don't think the suits are faster for me. Do I have to wear one?
A: No, you don't.
Q: What about "Best Times"? Isn't it harder to achieve "Best Times" in a "Competition" suit when compared to a "Performance" suit?
A: For most people, yes -- particularly for athletes age 13 and over. If you notice that there tends to be a big difference in times ("Performance" suit vs. "Competition" suit), then it's a good idea to have "two sets" of "best times" -- one set of "Best Times", and another set of "'Competition' Suit Best Times".
Q: What about "Going Fast"? Isn't that the name of the game?
A: The attitude that one should always be able to "Swim Fast" is important, but it's more important to swim "Fast" at the correct times of the year, and to focus energy in this direction. The training plan an athlete goes through is geared towards the highest-level performance in July/August, December, and February/March -- and so these are the times we'd really like to shine. Using the "Performance" suit judiciously helps the athlete shine at the correct time.
Q: I'm a parent. How often should I talk about the suits with my child?
A: Ideally, not often. The only time to discuss it is when discussing the purchase of the suit. Steer clear of over-hyping the suit issue unless you want to send the message that the suits make an athlete superhuman. It's kind of this big secret as coaches. We know the suit helps, and it helps a lot in some cases. But we don't like to talk about it (and thus rely on it) because we NEED the athletes to LEARN and FOSTER their ability to depend totally on themselves -- irrespective of uniform. We realize the athletes think about the suits enough as it is, and it's our job to turn down the volume on the chatter they do hear.
Q: There sure is a lot of thought that gets put into racing suits for swimmers. Has it always been that way?
A: No. This is a new issue for coaches and athletes to figure out. Coaches have always had to deal with some sort of new suit or new technology, even in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. But the adjustment coaches and athletes have had to make since 2008 has been a big part of the sport. At AULEA, we will stand strong amid the onslaught of athletes, parents, and coaches who place too much emphasis on and emotion into success at a young age. We will save our money for when we really need it. We will have consistent variables at a young age from which to compare apples to apples -- as opposed to constantly going from "super suit" to "non super suit", we will always wear the same suit and in doing so give our coaches a clear picture of improvement, as well as clear picture of areas that need work.
Q: Why do some AULEA senior athletes wear the suits in the middle of the season, and not wait until the Championship meets at the end of the season?
A: We have left our suit rules somewhat open-ended for our 13 and over athletes for good reason. There are times when coaches may ask an athlete to wear a "Performance" suit in a non-Championship setting to help an athlete with confidence, or achieve a certain goal determined by athlete and coach. We enjoy the ability to be flexible with 13 and over athletes.
Q: When I add up the money I will spend on suits, it's a lot of money over the course of 5 years. Is there any relief in sight?
A: At the Junior National Level, all AULEA athletes (from our generous sponsorship from Speedo) will receive a Speedo LZR Elite 2 at a discount, or a Speedo LZR Pro free of charge. This deal is available for Summer Junior Nationals, Summer Nationals, and Olympic Trials. If your child is younger, our staff's suggestion is to save for the upcoming years in part by avoiding the trap of overspending during the athlete's early years.
Q: How should I care for my Speedo swimsuit?
A: Pool chemicals and oil residues can be particularly damaging to swimwear. To prevent chemical damage to Speedo swimwear, rinse your Speedo suit in cold water immediately after each use. Do not wash suit with any detergent. Always hang-dry your suit in a well-ventilated space, as mildew will cause premature deterioration of swimwear.