When you get serious about your swimming you've got to get serious about your swimwear too. Do you pay enough attention to what materials your swimming costume is made from before buying a new suit? If you were splashing out a few hundred of your hard earned pounds on a racing suit then sure, you'd do all the research possible before making that purchase, but what about when it comes to your swimwear for training sessions?
Serious competitive swimmers tend to hit the pool at least once a day as part of their fitness training and this is the activity where chlorine resistant swimwear really comes into its own. If you're in the pool every day the chlorine in the water becomes a problem, not only for your hair and skin (for which there are remedies) but also for your swimsuit.
Many swimmers don't pay enough attention to the fabrics when purchasing new training swimwear. Selecting a swimming costume made from durable chlorine resistant swimwear fabrics will save you heaps of money in the long run.
Let's start with our old friend Lycra. Lycra (otherwise known as Spandex or Elastane) is always blended with another fabric, usually polyamide (otherwise known as nylon) to give it the necessary stretch and resilience to be used as a swimwear material. A traditional Lycra swimsuit will generally last less than 6 months if exposed to chlorine regularly, the swimsuit will fade and start to become baggy as the chlorine breaks down the fibres. But don't be put off! Lycra swimwear is a great choice for leisure swimmers and those who visit the pool every so often or take a dip on holiday. The material is incredibly soft and luxurious against the skin, probably the most comfortable of the three materials we are looking at today and for leisure swimwear, the prices are generally a little cheaper.
Although Lycra is used to make budget leisure swimwear, it is also used in the most expensive performance racing suits. The difference here is the percentages of Polyamide and Elastane used in the construction of the fabrics. In a swimsuit for leisure swimming, you can expect something like 20% Elastane and 80% Polyamide. Most competition swimsuits are made from technologically advanced Lycra blends which are more like 65% Polyamide, 35% Elastane. But again, these racing suits are notorious for their short lifespan.
Xtra Life Lycra does exactly as it says. Delivers the properties of Lycra, such as the soft luxurious feeling and superb fit but also promises a longer suit life with less fading and without becoming as baggy/thin. Xtra Life Lycra is resistant to chlorine and pool chemicals 5-10 times longer than regular unprotected Elastane. This makes Xtra Life Lycra an excellent choice as fitness or training swimwear for both men and women. Look and feel good in the water, swim after swim!
Polyester and PBT swimwear fabrics are by far the most durable and long lasting. Although not as comfortable against the skin as Lycra based fabrics, Polyester/PBT blends are undoubtedly the best choices for men's and women's training swimwear due to their incredibly long lifespan. The fabric has less stretch than Lycra so you'll have to be a little more careful when buying your swimwear online. Make sure that you refer to the correct size chart for the specific swimwear that you're buying and that you take all the measurements on the day to ensure you've selected the correct size.
Most of the top swimwear brands feature a range of durable PBT or 100% Polyester swimwear, alternatively some brands exclusively manufacture their swimsuits from these materials. Companies including Zealous and Amanzi make all of their colourful swimwear from durable fabrics and so don't need to feature a specific chlorine resistant range.
So there you have it, the ins and outs of swimwear fabrics. Our swimwear material recommendation for frequent pool swimmers training for fitness or competition is to purchase either a Polyester swimming costume or PBT blend for maximum swimsuit life and value for money.
Remember to never wash your swimming costume with detergents or in a washing machine, give it a good rinse straight after exiting the pool and hang the suit to dry, this will ensure the longest possible lifespan for your swimsuit, whatever fabric it's made from.
If you would like to further explore fade resistant, stretch resistant and chlorine resistant swimwear then you can browse the ProSwimwear Chlorine Resistant Swimwear Section HERE.