Last year as one of the perks of being part of the Endurance Films racing team I got an Energize Compression Speed Suit courtesy of Aquasphere. Since I didn't really have any races that were not going to be wet suit legal I didn't really use it. However with race season approaching this year and being in relatively decent swim shape I decided to give it a test run and see what the differences would be on 100 yard repeats, if any, since I could possibly need it this year.
I started off with a good 1000 yd warm up and decided that leaving the wall on 1:45 would be a suitable interval with adequate rest given my current swim fitness. I did 4 sets of 4 x 100, alternating between swimming with the suit and without it. All 100's were done at a moderately hard effort and on a 1:45 base in a 25 yard pool. My test results were as follows:
Without- 1:16, 1:17, 1:16, 1:17
Energize Compression- 1:11, 1:13, 1:11, 1:12
Without- 1:14,1:17, 1:17, 1:17
Energize Compression- 1:12 1:14, 1:15, 1:15
While I started to fatigue towards the end my average time savings was still 3.5 seconds per 100. I was actually quite shocked at how much more buoyant I felt with the suit on, as opposed to not having it on. It was definitely a noticeable difference, and exposed just how much I still need to work on my body position. I had no chafing issues and overall the suit was comfortable and barely noticeable while swimming without the obvious extra buoyancy feeling. Even though I was wearing an extra suit, I didn't feel too much warmer, which is also a plus.
The one negative I have with the suit was getting it off took me quite a bit of time. It might have had something to do with me putting it on while wet but the zipper got caught in the material both times causing me to have to ask the lifeguard for assistance. That is not a big deal when swimming in a pool, but when racing and trying to have a quick transition the last thing you need is a zipper that sticks. However, once the zipper was undone the suit quickly slid right off which could make for a quick transition.
Overall I was happy with the performance of the suit with the exception of the zipper difficulty. At 3.5 seconds per 100 this suit would save me almost a minute in an Olympic distance triathlon as long as I could get it off without any issues. Without zipper issues I can't see this suit taking more than 10 seconds to take off. I am going to follow up testing the zipper after putting it on dry to see if there are any issues. While the suit saves me 3.5 seconds per 100 yards, someone who is a slower swimmer will likely get more of a benefit.
I used this suit in my most recent non-wetsuit legal swim, I had no issue getting the suit off and I went from a 26:16 to 23:51 on the same course setting a non wetsuit PR for an Olympic distance swim.