By ZONE3 Athlete, Bradley Weiss, 2 x Xterra World Champion
I have been lucky enough to be partnered with ZONE3 for the past two race seasons and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their products on a more intimate level and how they can support my triathlon goals and aspirations. Coming from an XTERRA background and transitioning over to middle- and long-distance triathlon racing, it became imperative that I was racing in the most advanced wetsuit I could get my hands on, so I turned to ZONE3.
I quickly fell in love with the Vanquish X which was the first suit I tested. It was by far the fastest suit I had raced in, and the times proved it. I always like to do a similar pre-race swim session including a few ‘race pace’ 100metre pushes and I’m still always surprised at the times I can hit in this wetsuit.
However, these speed and confidence gains were not always transferring to race-day, and I had a few sub-par swims which confused me.
I then requested the new ZONE3 Aspire wetsuit just to test and get a feel for how some extra buoyancy may affect me in the water. Having not come from a swimming background, my technique in the water continues to be a work in progress (along with most triathletes!). In the pool I was probably 1-2 seconds per 100metres slower in the Aspire for max efforts. However, I felt more comfortable at race pace with the added buoyancy assisting the flaws in my swimming stroke. Moving to rougher open water, specifically choppy ocean swims, is where the Aspire really showed it’s brilliance. I was noticeably more comfortable in choppy water thanks to the added buoyancy, and I began to make noticeable swim gains in training and in races. The added bouncy is a massive benefit and helps to keep good body position in the water while maintaining a lower heart rate as the kick is not quite as important once your hips are up and in the correct position. The extra neoprene does cause a slightly more constricted feeling, but I solved this by going one size bigger from a small to a medium which gave me the extra flexibility I needed.
After lots of trying and testing, both in training and in races, I now use both the Aspire and Vanquish X depending on the race and how the conditions are looking. If the water is perfectly flat and I suspect I will have flat and clear water in the race I opt for the Vanquish X as this will easily be the fastest suit from A to B. However, for rough and choppy ocean swims or where there is a big field of men racing and I suspect there will be some fighting for position I’ll opt for the Aspire wetsuit as the buoyancy outweighs the pure speed and allows me to focus on my technique, keep my heart rate down and stick with the fastest groups.
I hope this helps those out there trying to decide on their next wetsuit choice and makes it a little more clear on how the professionals are making wetsuit selections.
You can follow Bradley on Instagram (@bsweiss_tri) to keep up with his racing, training and other impressive pursuits!