When I received word that I would be part of the HUUB family in 2013 I was beyond excited as I have heard nothing but good things about the company itself and its products. The best way to explain it is by watching company owner Dean Jackson explain it here. The suit itself comes in two buoyancies a 3:5 meaning the legs have a thicker neoprene than the upper body, and a 4:4 meaning both parts are evenly split with a 4mm neoprene covering. Those with a swimming background are more likely to be better suited by a 4:4 and those like me who do not have one, or who seem to swim faster with a pull buoy should opt for a 3:5.
The suit itself is very appealing as well as intimidating for the competition. The first time I tried it on it slipped right on easily, and was amazingly comfortable for a piece of equipment that is usually the most uncomfortable for most triathletes. In fact for the first time in my triathlon career I didn't look like a stuffed sausage wile wearing it. While testing the suit the head lifeguard at the pool told me I looked like a superhero in the suit. Secretly I was hoping I was going to feel like one once I got in the pool and started to swim with it. It probably wasn't the best day to to a test as I was already wiped from riding 75 miles and running 6 earlier in the day, however the time savings per 100/yd are likely to be similar no matter how tired or fresh I am.
Since I was a little tired from the day's activities I only did a 500 yd warm-up but in reality that is all that was needed on the day. I also decided because I was tired I was going to do my intervals on 2:00 instead if the 1:45 that I tested swim skin the other week. I did 4 sets of 100 yd in a 25 yd pool at a moderately hard repeatable effort.
Without Suit: 1:14 1:14 1:15 1:15
HUUB Archimedes 3:5 - 1:08, 1:08, 1:08, 1:09
That gave me an average savings of 6.25 seconds per 100 with the suit vs without. In the suit I definitely noticed the bicep release panels allowed more freedom and feel that over a longer swim, they would definitely reduce fatigue. I didn't necessarily notice the x-o skeleton that prevents you from crossing over, but I don't really think I have an issue with that in the first place, the savings for me comes from keeping my hips higher in the water where they belong since my cyclist legs tend to sink.
I decided to do my cool down in the suit to see what would happen when I gave a light effort. I swam another 4 100's as my cool down, but the effort given was slim. I was able to hit 1:15 on every repeat, which was my moderate hard pace without the suit! The fact that I could hit a 1:15 and not give much effort that would allow me to save my energy for the bike and run which I am personally much better at. This was the huge selling point for me. In addition taking the suit off on the pool deck took me only 30 seconds so the calf release definitely helped to do what it was supposed to. That is important because every second counts, after making team USA by only 2 seconds last year, I am more aware of that than ever. I probably would have been able to get out a bit more quickly but I did have a massive cramp in my thigh which was my own fault for not properly hydrating throughout the day.
The only complaint I have is that the back of the suit is a little too open and lets in too much water for my liking, but I'm not sure that would happen in an open water situation which is where I would be using the suit anyway. Without flip turns there isn't really a reason that would happen. Overall I give the suit a 4.5 our of 5. And I am extremely happy to be part of team HUUB!
The true test will be in Knoxville next weekend when I break the suit out in open water for the first time. If I am out of the water in under 30 mins, I will be super happy!