All good things come to an end, and unfortunately that included my original Huub Archimedes wetsuit. Well to be fair, I could have used it for another year or maybe even longer but it was Christmas and I thought "time to treat myself". My original Archimedes has been through half a dozen triathlons but mostly a fair amount of sea swimming. And to get to the sea where I live you need to squeeze through brambles. And brambles and neoprene are not friends.
Climbing through brambles is one way to shorten the life expectancy of your wetsuit.
Being an early adopter I treated myself to the original Archimedes when they were first out. Especially when I learnt I was going to be wearing the same size as the Brownlee brothers. But that is where the similarities between the Brownlees and myself end. Huub wetsuits come in all sorts of size variations so you can really get the best fit for your frame.
When I first put my leg into the suit I thought, "Uh oh, wrong size" but there is purposely a lot more size in the foot/ankle which is a big welcome. It is especially hard putting on a wetsuit when you are standing in the cold at the side of a lake balancing on one leg. I personally wear my wetsuit fairly high up the leg and so the extra space in the leg of this wetsuit is a definite improvement. I haven’t tested the time it takes to remove the wetsuit yet but I am sure this will help kick the wetsuit off when in a hurry. I have seen the Brownlee brothers removing the lower half of the wetsuit with just their legs, kicking it off at the end whiles simultaneously putting their helmet on. And I am sure that comes with plenty of practice. But when you are spending a big chunk of cash on a second skin kicking it off may not be for you. When I remove my wetsuit it is more of a slow peel rather than a big kick. But I have never won a triathlon and my T1 creeps close to 5 minutes.
Where I typically swim it is in the Thames Estuary. If you are lucky the water is as calm as a lake. Very strong current in one direction. But when it is nice and calm the jet skis are out and since last year when a jet ski towing a water skier almost took my head off I swim with a bright orange swim buoy. I couldn’t recommend one of these enough. You can put valuables inside. They will let people spot you when there is no chance of seeing you.
For example, the following photo I am about half a kilometre away. All you can see is the swim buoy. If it is wavy then there is even less chance of spotting a swimmer. Not to mention the swim buoy will actually keep you afloat if required.
Anyway, back to the Huub Review.
As I have only swum once in the new wetsuit I haven’t had the time to practice speedy exits out of the water making the most of the quick release zip. The zipper at the back if you didn’t know uses their breakaway technology. So you can pull up with the cord and the entire back opens. This is great for getting it off in a hurry. When it is not great is when you are solo putting on your wetsuit and you pull the cord up too hard and have to take everything off to re-thread the zip and start again. A bit of practice will teach you just how far you need to do things up.
My first swim in the Archimedes II was amazing. This truly is like a second skin in the water. Apart from a little hit of cold down my spine, the fit, comfort, and flexibility are perfect. It is not too tight around the shoulders which is very important for good swimming performance.
There is definitely an improvement in flexibility and reading on Huub there are reasons behind it. Some of the updates from the original Archimedes include:
The Archimedes // has a 25% reduction in the neoprene thickness of the panels around the side, the back and shoulders, utilising 1mm Chloroprene foam and the most flexible lining materials available delivering less effort for more stretch.
The X-O Skeleton delivers structure and control to reduce snaking, power loss and directional waste by gripping and holding the pelvis and hips.
Calf Release and Bicep Release
The Calf Release has been increased in volume by 25%, giving the calf more coverage of the lower modulus with non-restrictive super thin nylon. The thickness was reduced to below 1mm to ensure natural calf movement; this improves kick by lack of restriction and significantly reduces the risk of cramping during swim and transition.
The Bicep Release has an improved modulus to further enhance the panel’s ability to create a natural flexed recovery arm and efficient arm flex for the catch.
Low Neck Line
Changes in stitching patterns and the reduction in neoprene thickness of not only the back but the shoulder and side panels from 2mm to 1.5mm and a complete redesign in the underarm gusset.