Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wool, Spandex, Lycra, Nylon, Fastskin. Whats it all about?




So what’s the best fabrics for me you ask?


Dad has told and retold the story of his childhood competition swimming in wool bathers where one particular competitor always beat him.

One day, Grandma bought dad some new swimmers. Next time Dad raced that boy, Dad whipped him.

It’s wonderful how far fabric engineering has come in a short 50 odd years. In recent years, we have even observed the, now banned from competitive swimming, hydrodynamic non-textile body suits used by Olympic swimmers.

So what’s the best fabrics for me you ask?

It really depends on what sort of aqua sport you do, and what you want out of your swimming costume.

For the beach or an occasional pool swimmer, there is a large array of fashionable swimwear available.

If you are a hot tub or chlorinated pool swimmer, you would be well advised to seek out some bathers that are chlorine resistant.

All swimwear used in highly chlorinated pools on a regular basis do not last more than a few months. Naturally the more often you have them in the chlorine the quicker they will deteriorate, so looking after them in this case becomes more important.

Chlorine destroys the lycra (sometimes known as spandex), which is the elastic part of the fabric, making the costume lose its nice firm fit. The costume needs some lycra for stretch.

Chlorine will also fade the fabric colours.

MMIFW 2012 Swim Wear Fashion Show at LMNTTo be chlorine resistant they need to be 20% or less of lycra and 80% or more of nylon or polyester. Ideally, keep the lycra in the bather to a minimum. The fabric make-up in chlorine resistant bathers means they will last longer.

We pay a lot of money for your swimmers so it pays to look after them. Try and avoid wrapping it in your already wet towel to deal with when you get home. Heat & time with chlorine contact on your bather is your enemy. The sooner after the swim they are rinsed the better.

This might mean between races if you do competition swimming.

After every use they need to be rinsed well in cool fresh water to remove the chlorine. Don’t wring it out stretching or even overstretching the lycra, rather lie it on a clean dry towel.

The costume is a buffer between our skin and other surfaces. It is very thin, and being a knit fabric and it catches easily on rough surfaces.

Some surfaces may feel smooth to our hands but to the delicate costume it will rub and over a number of times, it will ‘fluff’ the fabric making for drag in the water slowing us down, and we sure don’t want that in a competition.

Keep heat away from your swimwear. Heat will “melt” plastic and essentially that’s what your costume is.

If you have been in an indoor heated pool or spa, it is imperative that your bather be rinsed as soon as possible after, as a spa has not only hot water, but very high chlorine levels. Chemical reactions are sped up with increased temperature, so hot water will compound the chlorine degradation.

With careful choice of your fabric and correct care, you will be able enjoy maximum life from your swimwear and minimum damage to your hip pocket.

Written by Chlorine Resistant Swimwear from RAPID BAY

Enjoy
Richard

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