Updated: Jul 27, 2019
As we get deeper into race season here in North America and the temperature continues to increase - the wetsuit question comes up more and more. Sleeveless or sleeved? Each wetsuit has its own advantages.
Full sleeve suits are more buoyant with the addition of fabric covering the underarm all of the way to the wrist. With advancements in wetsuit technology including fabric and sewing a properly fit wetsuit provides very little shoulder resistance at all. On colder race days and training days a sleeved wetsuit also provides less heat loss as the underarm is one of the body's cooling points.
Sleeveless wetsuits can have their own advantages as well. They can be better for body temperature regulation when swimming near the upper wetsuit legal temperature in races. In addition swimmers with larger shoulders and lats often find them to be more comfortable.
Coach Tyler and Carly have personal preferences as well. Carly grew up swimming competitively and prefers the feeling of “free” shoulders while Tyler prefers the buoyancy of the sleeve as he feels his glide is smoother. Sleeved wetsuits in general provide more advantages, but is not necessarily the right choice for everyone. You must make the right choice for you!