So – final word on the subject, I promise! I wrote yesterday in response to a friend that my reason for this series of posts has been, as it so often is, to explore the differences of opinion between suits and skins swimmers and to try to work out why there’s sometimes a bit of, let’s say antipathy towards wetsuits. And there have been a lot of reasons given against them: they can give swimmers an unfair advantage; they are expensive so people who can’t afford them are excluded; they contribute to the commoditization of swimming; they get in the way of the experience of swimming in, and adjusting to, the natural environment; they are uncomfortable. And all of these things are true.
In their favour, on the other hand, is what I might term One Big Thing: they protect wearers from the cold, and by doing so they open up the beautiful sport/pastime/community of outdoor and open water swimming to so many more people. There are so many iconic swim events in the calendar these days: Brownsea, Bridge to Bridge, Coniston, the Dart 10k, all of which are vastly popular. Without wetsuits, they would certainly not be as popular and indeed, it’s questionable, in my mind at least, whether many of them would take place at all. Wetsuits have enabled the huge rise in popularity of outdoor swimming, with all of the associated benefits. They thus indirectly support so many of the things we enjoy; not just events but training sessions, holiday companies, and outdoor swimming venues, most of which would not survive without their wetsuited customers. And that has to be a most excellent thing.
And in conclusion I should add that, contrary to what you might have assumed from my remarks yesterday (which were made, I should add, entirely tongue in cheek), I don’t get irritated by skins swimmers at all. Indeed, some of my best friends are skins swimmers. (This is true; I also have a lot of friends who are wetsuit swimmers, of course, and I love them just as much 😊 ). I am a skins swimmer myself a lot of the time. Skins swimmers are great! And wetsuit swimmers are great too! As far as I’m concerned people can wear whatever they like to swim in, be it their birthday suit, a swimsuit, a wetsuit, a hat made out of a fire-breathing dragon, a mankini, or full wedding regalia, it’s all fine by me (although that last might have a bit of a drag factor. Just saying.). The main thing is that people swim, and keep swimming, in whatever way suits them (and no, that wasn’t a pun). Swim and let swim, that’s what I say!
And that, on this topic at least, is that!