Dr. Jim Taylor The Psychology of Sports Technology: Wetsuits

When triathletes think about technology, they typically think about HR monitors, bike computers, power meters, GPS, and the like. Yet, sports technology has been around long before the invention of the silicon chip and the internet. In fact, every advancement that has enabled triathletes to swim (e.g., goggles), bike (e.g., aerobars), and run (e.g., carbon plates) faster is a valuable form of technology. Which brings me to a new piece of swimming technology that is having an immense impact on me as a triathlete, both in terms of gains in swimming speed and the psychology behind my swimming experience.

First, a bit of backstory. I didn’t grow up swimming. As a child, I was firmly in the “non-drowning” category when I entered the water. I didn’t do side breathing or swim a lap until well into adulthood. One thing I learned was that there was little chance of catching up to people who grew up swimming and, even more so, who competed in the sport when they were young. These early swimmers developed a relationship with and a feel for the water that is so evident by how they flow so naturally and smoothly through the water.

Given that short-course triathlon (which I now focus on) can come down to seconds or even tenths of seconds (I won the bronze medal in the Super-sprint at the World Championships in Spain last September by less than a second, but lost out on the silver medal in the Sprint at USAT National in Milwaukee in August by seven seconds), I have been looking for every margin gain to pick up those precious seconds that I have learned can make a big difference in where I stand against the best in the world in my age group.

This exploration led me to wetsuits, a fairly obvious area, given my lack of swimming history, in which I might pick up some time (yes, I’m still trying to improve my technique, which will be a topic for a future article in this series). The last few years, I’ve been swimming in.... Continue reading HERE