Do Body Suits Help Reduce Drag While Swimming?

by Pool Builders on 02-04-2010 in Articles

When we swim there are forces that are out of our control that we must contend with in the hopes of swimming faster. It doesn't matter if you are in the pool or the open water, we must deal with these forces. The drag that is created by the water on our bodies is one of the main obstacles we must deal with and finding a way to reduce this drag makes a difference in how fast we can swim. So, how do we reduce drag while swimming?

Being water is so much denser than air we also have to fight this resistance. When the water flows along our bodies it tries to cling to anything it can grab onto, this is drag and reducing the effect of this drag will help us slide through the water more easily. Not only is drag a problem but we also have to deal with the turbulence of the water. If swimming in a pool with others, the surface of the water gets choppy which itself can slow you down a little as you plow through the chop.

Swimmers have been trying to reduce this drag for many years. Some of the things done are shaving body hair to reduce drag. Wearing swim caps and shaving the head are also popular. New style full-body suits are now used to reduce drag. The fabric has a pattern that is supposed to crate pressure differences which in turn help you slide through the water easier.

Tests have shown that these suits give the best benefit when doing a glide such as pushing off the wall after a turn. The suit seems to loose its benefits while actively swimming because of the water surface turbulence. There is lots of information out there about the effects of drag on the body while swimming, and reducing this drag to get an edge has been something that all swimmers have been thinking about.

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