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  • Aliya Drakes

Wetsuit Chronicles

We all got these new wetsuits that we'd chatted about for some time, but none of us had actually used it (apart from trying it on and feeling utterly claustraphobic!) I had tried mine on twice but only with swimwear underneath so was SUPER nervous to see how things would go months later with a trisuit under there. The time had come! Derek and I decided to swim with ours that morning. Riana was there ready with her phone to videotape the harrowing experience. That itself was a workout and a half!!!! Calf by calf, thigh by thigh, then pull little by little till it was on. Zipping up was the next hurdle! I had a much easier time of it than Derek, but when that zip reached the top there was an instant feeling of "oh my gosh, I can't breathe!" Don't talk about doing up the velcro strap at the neck!!! But still, it could have been worse! The walk down the stairs to the sea was constricted because it was hard to bend at the knees. But we made it! This was the first time we got into Macqueripe water and it felt ok!!! I mean, I couldn't feel anything, but at least it wasn't cold! My strap from the zip was still loose and I wasn't sure how to secure it, but figured I'd leave it. Bad idea!!! As soon as I started to swim I felt this thing touch me and panicked, so turned back immediately to shove the strap into the wetsuit! Overall the wetsuit felt more buoyant for sure...unfortunately breaststroke really sucks with it because my feet were coming out the water. There goes my back up plan in case for the race I get fed up or anxious! My main problem with the wetsuit was anxiety. Apart from having to talk myself out of feeling claustrophobic for the entire swim (and at times it felt a bit distressing), we had all recently watched a video that week of a shark attacking a fish close to shore and naturally anything I saw underwater I panicked! Fortunately or not the visibility wasn't great so I could barely see anything anyway! At times I felt like I forgot how to swim, forgot what I was supposed to be doing, and generally wanted to be done; so much so that on the last stretch I breaststroked my way back to shore to get there quicker. Once the wetsuit came off it felt like a weight off my shoulders - literally! Everything was breezy again, and life was good! Then it was time for a ride :) We decided that training in the wetsuit all the time was a must, to get used to it.

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