As we approach swimming’s championship season, many people will be investing a lot of money into some very fancy suits that are not designed to last for very many races. Proper care, however, can greatly extend the life and effectiveness of your suit. These best practices for suit care can be used to get best results from both your expensive championship suits, like the Speedo Fastskins, your regular meet suits, and even your practice suits. And just remember that with all championship suits, once they’re worn, especially in the water, they will never be quite as effective as that first race. But follow these tips and they’ll last as long as possible.
- Make sure your suit fits properly. Loose suits allow a lot of water into them, and this water stretches and thins the material. A rule of thumb for girls is you shouldn’t be able to stretch the straps past your ear lobes. For boys, you shouldn’t be able to fit more than a thumb on each side in the waist of the suit. And all suits should be as wrinkle-free as possible.
- After each workout, rinse your suit out with cold water, gently squeeze out the excess water, and lay it on a flat surface to dry. This will help get the damaging chlorine out of the fabric. Do not hang your suit to dry! This can cause unnecessary stretching. If your suit is going straight into your duffel bag, roll it up loosely in your towel to keep it from getting everything wet.
- Never machine wash or dry your suit! This can result in snagging, tearing, or stretching. If you must wash your suit, use a very mild detergent designed for competition suits (like these From Malibu Swim) and hand wash it in cold water. Follow drying instructions above. Avoid regular dryers and suit dryers (even those in the lockerroom) at all costs!
- Especially for expensive championship suits, remove the suits immediately after your race. Given how tight they fit, the longer you wear them, the more they’ll stretch out. Dry off completely before putting on the suit, and try and have the suit be as dry as possible when you put it on. Some people put these suits on with gloves as they are prone to tearing. Be sure to also read our guide about the best practices for putting on championship suits!