One of the main things to think about is how to avoid getting ‘wetsuit rub’ or chaffing, particularly around your neck – also known as ‘rhino-neck’.
Vaseline can come in very handy to help with this problem, but so can the right type of wetsuit. Different wetsuits have different cuts round the neck, some finish high up whereas others are fairly low cut. Getting the right neckline is very, very important.
Usually, lightweight don’t create as much rub as others, so it’s worth thinking about what the temperature of the water is going to be. Lightweight wetsuits are also good if you want to go fast or are racing.
We’ve tended to go for heavier wetsuits in the past. A wetsuit with 3mm thickness is best for spring or summer swimming, 5mm is better for autumn and winter.
It’s also worth noting that the different types of swimming have different effects on a wetsuit. River swimming batters a wetsuit and causes more wear and tear so it may not last that long if you’re predominantly swimming in rivers.
We did a 14km swim the other day in a lighter wetsuit which worked really well, it was knackering but only a minimal amount of neck rub. Of course, it comes down to personal preference, so if you can, try out several different types and see what works best.
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