Ready to swim fast at your next big swim meet? Get our tips for how to squeeze yourself into a technical racing suit!
What is a tech suit?
A technical racing suit, also know as a tech suit, is a highly-manufactured compression swimsuit that helps you swim faster, glide longer, and reduce fatigue. If you pair a tight tech suit with shaving your entire body, your body is leaner than ever and you’ll move quicker in the water.
They are worn by men and women and come in a full range of options, including knee-length, ankle-length, and torso covering styles.
Here are the key differences between a normal practice swimsuit and a technical suit (tech suit):
- Lighter textile fabric – these suits are water permeable, and repel water, which reduces drag. All technical racing suits need to be approved by FINA for them to be legal in a competition. You’ll notice this seal of approval if your suit has a black and white barcode it.
- Flatter stitching – To help with that gliding sensation in the water, these suits have flat stitching and heat-bonded seams so you’re smooth all over.
- Extra compression – These small and tight suits allow your body to be more streamline, and shape you in a way that helps you fatigue less and maintain speed throughout your race.
- More expensive – A tech suit is usually 10x the cost of a normal practice suit. Also, their lifetime is short. If you wear your suit more than a handful of times, they won’t hold their compression as much.
- Hard to put on – These suits are specifically designed to feel extremely tight. Make sure you allow yourself at least 30 minutes to dry off, put the suit on, then rest before your next race.
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Benefits of a tech suit:
- Swim faster – these suits reduce so much drag, you truly will swim a little faster
- Reduce fatigue – they keep your body alignment in check which helps improve your breathing.
- Better stroke rate – if you have less drag in the water, your stroke will be more streamlined with a tech suit
- Psychological effect – you feel like a shark in it!
When should I buy a tech suit?
Tech suits are very expensive. We only recommend shopping for a tech suit if you are competing in a big important swim meet in a pool. They’re not guaranteed, but they can help give you that extra edge to swim faster in a race. These suits are not recommended for open water swimming.
There are many different brands and styles of tech suits that offer different colors, leg and body coverage, and features. To find a suit that works best for you, check out your local swim shop! We recommend trying one on before you purchase.
10-step guide to putting on a tech suit:
1 – Be 100% dry
Give yourself at least 30 minutes in the locker room to completely dry off before you put the dry suit on. Remember, do not wear a second swimsuit underneath your tech suit.
2 – Flip the leg grippers
At the end of the legs, there’s a rubber grip that keeps your suit in place. Flip them up so you can slide them up your legs easier.
3 – Put one foot in at a time – patience is key!
Sit down, and slowly put one foot in at a time. This could take up to 30 minutes, so give yourself plenty of time!
4 – Pull up to your knees
Slowly pull the sit up your legs without pinching it, one leg at a time. Avoid using sharp fingernails to protect the fabric.
5 – Align the seams evenly
Make sure both legs of your suit are pulled up evenly, and all of the areas of the suit align with your body. For example, the inner seam should not be twisted around your leg.
6 – Gently pull up 1 centimeter at a time
The higher you pull your suit up in the phase, the better. Start from the bottom of the legs and pull every single inch up at a time.
7 – Alternate your legs
As you’re pulling the suit over your knees, you’ll notice it gets harder to pull up. Keep going one leg at a time!
8 – Get the suit over your hips
The hardest part is pulling the suit over your hips, especially for women with wider thighs or hips. Make sure the entire suit is over your knee cap before you pull the suit over your hips. This is the phase where you might be exhausted, but hold out! It’s designed to be that tight!
9 – Stretch the suit lightly to pull over your shoulders
Before you pull the shoulder straps up, make sure you pull the entire suit up as high as you can in the front and on your buttocks.
10 – Flip grippers and race!
Once you flip the grips at the end of the legs, you won’t be able to shift the suit. So flip them down… now you’re ready to race!
Bonus: Take your suit off slowly to avoid stretching it out!
Related: How To Shave For a Swim Meet
Some extra helpful tips:
- Always be 100% dry, and make sure your swimsuit is dry
- Do not pinch the fabric and trim your fingernails to avoid ripping the suit
- Shave your legs and it will be easier to put on
- Use the restroom before you put your suit on
- Find a private space in a locker room. Sometimes putting these suits on is exhausting, and you will need to be completely naked when you’re putting the suit on.
- Need some help? Grab a teammate to help pull the straps up.
- Try using a plastic bag over your foot, it might help glide your legs in
- Try using a special glove to protect the fabric and rest your fingertips
- There are many different products out there that help you put on and protect your tech suit
- Take your suit off gently to avoid stretching the suit out
- Wash your suit with cold water and dry naturally. Do not put it in a suit dryer.
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