Monday, 1 June 2015

(Swim) suit up!

After a somewhat unnerving re-enactment of the infamous Babs Windsor bikini scene in Carry on Camping in the pool recently, I decided it was high time I got a 'proper' costume. I usually just wear one of the mix and match bikinis I already own, since shelling out for something that ultimately gets eaten alive by chlorine seemed extravagant. And maybe such a move even amounted to taking my swimming seriously? But I'll be honest, a bikini designed primarily for poolside posing or sunbathing on a beach  isn't really a suitable option for lengths (and lengths!) of front crawl. So while Sam Cam may be wowing everyone with her bikini bod in Ibiza - I'll be working on mine in the pool - but looking just as cool...

Make a splash!

Thankfully, the swimwear market seems to have moved on since I last needed a practical one piece (y' know - 30 odd years ago...). And I was pleasantly surprised at the reasonable prices too. The first I trialled was the Lima swimsuit (SRP £25.99) from Aqua Sphere, which has an additional bust lining for support and 'modesty' (no one wants to be accused of smuggling peanuts - am I right?!). It looks and feels properly sporty, with a racer back, high cut legs and flattering go faster stripes that draw the eye in. I felt far more professional from the minute I had it on - and in the water it allows for lots of shoulder movement while still feeling very much 'on' (a feeling I was lacking with the bikini approach to fitness laps). Despite being engineered with chlorine-resistant, breathable fabric it's still very smooth and soft - and dries fast. I've worn it - and rinsed it - a couple of times now and there's no change in the fit (soggy bottoms just aren't wanted any where are they?). It's great to go to the pool and - at least - look like I know what I'm doing!

Just add water

Perhaps the best-known name in sporty swimwear is Speedo - in fact the brand is over 80 years old! But the SS15 range for women is as far away as you can imagine from the teeny-weeny man pants that you may have been (over) exposed to on Greek beaches as a teenager! One of Speedo's bestsellers is the Women's Medalist (currently on offer at £21.99 from Swimshop). This year it's had a splash of bright pink added to the design - including on the racer-cut back. It's styled with a classic sleek training cut and I felt it had more give than a suit specifically-designed with internal support and was fairly modest on the legs - two aspects of design that can be quite a personal choice. The cut at the back and under the arms allows for easy shoulder movement and total upper body flexibility for fitness swimming - or aqua classes (if you don't need support). Engineered in Speedo's exclusive Endurance 10 fabric (which has Creora® Highclo for improved chlorine resistance), Speedo promises it will deliver an as 'good-as-new fit' and retain shape for at least 280 hours of pool use. It's also fast drying (which in the UK is pretty essential!!!) and soft. I found it a highly comfortable suit, with a nice cut, and again it's rinsed well, so there's lots more lengths ahead of me!

Given the value for money these suits offer, I'd recommend anyone that has recently got back into swimming, or is swimming for fitness to 'take the plunge' (!) and buy a new costume. It's so much easier swimming in a decent suit - designed both to allow freedom of movement and to withstand the rigours of regular chlorinated-pool swimming. Just dive straight in!