Suit Spinners: Use or Pass?

 

An example of the suit & towel roll from age group days.
An example of the suit & towel roll from age group days.

During my age group days, after every practice my friends and I would fold our towels in half the long way, place our suit in center, then completely roll up the towel from one end. Thanks to towel absorbency, by the time you got home, your suit was much drier. Most importantly, neither suit nor towel were sopping wet—a key factor when you did daily doubles because putting on a wet suit or trying to “dry off” with a sopping towel are the worst.

Today we have fancy suit spinners. They seem like a nice convenience, especially when heading from the pool for full day out. Not only do you end up with a mostly dry suit, I imagine these machines cut down on locker room puddles too.

But the suit spinner may not be so helpful overall if it’s also breaking down your suit after your daily swim. Sure, the machines whirl your suit dry, but in the process this agitation breaks down suit fibers. And broken, worn, fabric fibers contribute to a loose, saggy suit fit.

My current approach to suit care? A combination of methods, with options dependent on weather and schedule. The process begins the same after any swim though—I give my suit a few quick squeezes (never “wrings” as wrenching fabrics also breaks their fibers) then hang it from the edge of an open locker to let it drip dry further while I change (yes, I fully confess to being part of the locker room puddle problem.)

If I’m headed straight home after swimming no matter what season, I quickly wrap my suit in a loose towel-ball (if I’ve brought my own), or put it loose in my bag when at facilities with towel service (for some reason, I’ve never tried the mesh pocket on any of my swim backpacks, even though this is exactly what they’re designed for. Maybe I’ll give it a go this season…). First thing once home, I hang my suit over the shower rail to further drip-dry.

If it’s a mild season and I can’t drop my bag off at home, I drape my suit over my swim bag in the car trunk to let it air and dry. If it’s winter, I bring a towel and my suit in it to prevent it from freezing while it’s sitting in the trunk of my car.

To sum: If you rarely swim, go ahead and suit spin. If you swim daily, especially in a lyrca, you probably don’t want to use a suit spinner if you want that suit to fit beyond three months of use. Endurance fabrics can handle suit spinning more often, but again, if you’re swimming daily (especially doubles), you may want to consider other suit drying options. And never, ever, put a tech suit in a suit spinner!

Finally, a post topic wouldn’t be a good one if it didn’t kick up some discussion! Thus, today’s post features a Dissenting Opinion (in this case, “male swimmer perspective”), offered by Eric Hatch: “This is probably only an issue for women’s suits. As a boy, I use a suit spinner every chance I get. I typically wear two suits when I swim—a decency suit and a drag suit. My suits typically last close to a year, somewhere between 200-250 swims (though not all of them dried via suit spinner). If the suit starts to break down, it gets bigger or tears—Good! More drag! That is why I wear a “decency” suit. I am always irritated when there isn’t a suit spinner, because my suits won’t fully dry before my next swim. There is nothing worse than putting on a cold, wet suit, especially in the winter. If your suits aren’t lasting, and you use a suit spinner, perhaps it is the culprit, but if you aren’t having a problem with your suits breaking down, I say keep using that suit spinner.”

Next week: Swimming at Altitude

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Suit Spinners: Use or Pass?

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