Huub Archimedes Wetsuit
My first triathlon specific wetsuit was a BlueSeventy Helix that I got at the time when we at Suka Sport were contemplating in stocking Blueseventy for the upcoming season.
The Helix is a fantastic wetsuit, top of its class, and although I used it well and we would have stocked Blueseventy the following season, I always struggled with the flexibility in the shoulder/arm area as I m not that skinny.
Subsequently I have been at the lookout for a new wetsuit that would offer me more flexibility in the shoulder area, and I settled on Huub Design, a company with a different approach to their wetsuit models. I settled on their Archimedes 3:5 model their top of the range model, of whose reviews and feedback have been generally positive. The Archimedes comes in 3:5 and 4:5 versions; the 3:5 is for those with sinking legs, people who generally come from a non-swimming background and whose form suffers generally. The 4:4 is for those with good body alignment or better stated as for those who can keep their backside and feet closer to the water surface throughout their swim. In simple terms the Archimedes is like no other suit on the market to aid your stroke, kick and body position.
Huub Design German Distributor’s Maddex-Sport were running a try-it-before-you buy incentive, so a size ML was shipped out to me and arrived with two days. I was advised that I should try a size smaller, but I went for ML, as Huub Design sizing guide showed that an ML would fit, and my Blue Seventy was an ML, albeit a bit tight. My first impression whilst trying on the suit, was that it was very easy to get into, maybe a little to easy. The shoulder and bicep area fitted well, and the Archimedes Bicep release areas, which are the red areas in the images above, made sure that I had all the flexibility that I needed. In addition the wetsuits breakaway zipper, which ensure a speedy removal of the suit, was initially a bit complicated, but after practicing with it a few times, it was a relative simple procedure. This zipper system also had the added bonus, that you can close your wetsuit on your own.
My first attempt at swimming in an Huub Archimedes 3:5 was an abject failure. But please note that this was not the suits fault, but an issue with the sizing with me shipping enough water to ensure a great resistance based workout of 200m. Lesson was that I should have tried a size smaller, an MT, as recommended. My second attempt followed 2 weeks later with a size MT. The wetsuit did fit noticeably tighter and a simple 1500m test swim would follow to see how it would compare to my Blue Seventy Helix. My total times were similar across both wetsuits, yet I was more consistent in my 100m Average times in the Huub Archimedes than in my Blue Seventy. Part of this could be down the Archimedes X-O Skeleton that is a core stabilizer to ensure that your swim form stays constant throughout, and that your bad swim habits stay at home.
But there was one problem; I was still shipping in water around my lower back and my legs, which became noticeable at the 800m mark. This of course could be a bit of an issue in a longer Ironman Distance. I believe that there is still a sizing issue with me being a 184cm and 86kilos, with a size MT being recommended for 181-88cm Height and 73-86kilos. One size smaller is recommended for 171-184cm and 72-85kilos, which will be my then my third attempt.
Lets hope my third attempt will work, as my overall impression of the Huub Archimedes 3:5 is that it is a first class suit with the bicep release and flexibility it encourages truly working for me. Just need to get the sizing issue sorted, and I have a wetsuit that I believe will carry me through an Ironman Distance event, and a few open water swims in 2014.