Last week I purchased a Nike Hydra from SwimOutlet.com for the UCLA Bruins Master Meet that was held today. My motive for buying the suit was this goal I have of making it into the top-10 swims in my age group for the 50 yard free. I am pretty confident that I made it in the 100, 200 and 500 free but I really want to make the list for the 50 free. The season was a bit short this year due to Nationals in Austin, Texas and the FINA Masters Swimming World Championships in Perth, Australia this month. Hence, only 36 or so swimmers in my age group competed this season in that particular race and out of those 36 swimmers I was sitting at number 10; a position on the bubble so to speak.
Consequently, I was worried some fast guys would climb out of the woodwork at this meet and bump me off the list so I figured a little "tech doping" seemed like an viable, desperate, option and so I dropped the $165 on a midnight, black, Nike Hydra.
The suit arrived in a timely manner and it fit very well. The suit is very lightweight. My Speedo Fastskin II leggings were heavier and far harder to put on. Also, I never came close to swimming a "personal best" in the Fastskins and in a fit of anger, I gave them away.
At today's meet I decided not to warm up in the Hydra but rather warm up in a TYR brief instead and swim the 50SCY race with a dry suit versus a wet one. While waiting for my race, I saw a girl wearing a blueseventy and I asked her what she thought about it and she said she too was just going to jump in and see what her first impressions would be.
When the bell rang, I leaped in and I felt fast for the first lap, on the second lap the suit didn't feel as fast but I was only .02 off my personal best for the event in a time of 26:26. The time was a bit surprising since the air temp was at least 90 degrees today and I felt like I was melting before my event. My mouth was dry, I was starting to sweat since I was wearing a midnight, black, speedsuit, a latex cap and goggles and there was little to no shade. When the bell sounded it was sheer relief to jump in.
All of the above got repeated for the 100 free as well which was held 10-minutes later yet I did well in that event too. I swam a sloppy race only squeezing in one breath on the first lap and my turnover felt like it was in slow-motion yet in the 100 free I was only .07 off my personal best, a 58.67.
What I don't like about the suit, and the woman I spoke with who was wearing the blueseventy said the exact same thing to me after her race, is that both of us have the same sort of body type whereas we both have more of an exaggerated arch in the small of backs at our lumbar region hence, when I wore the Hydra I developed an air pocket in that area which is great till you do a flip turn. Post turn, it felt a bit floppy or saturated. This young lady said the same thing about the blueseventy. The conclusion she arrived at was that the suit would be great for a triathlon and my conclusion is that the Hydra would "motor" in a 50LCM leaving me to believe that I will comfortably break 30 seconds wearing one. epilogue: $165 was an amazing value considering most sppedsuits start at $300+ range all the way up to $550 for the LZR.
What I leaned about speedsuits is that the fit is more superior than the material. Speedsuits should be tailored and not purchased off the rack.
BTW, I came second today in the 50 free thwarting four challengers but I got beat by the fifth one and I don't believe I will make the top 10 for the 50. Maybe next year.
I have films of the event coming, even a tee-shirt relay. :-)