I went for a swim workout with a local (Toronto) triathlon group.
Sidebar: If you're in the Toronto area, it's a nice group, and a great chance to get out there. It's run by the EnduroSport store in the Beach area (on Queen), details are here. Free to participate, $10 to rent a wetsuit if you need one. It's fairly unstructured, one group went out far and swam between some buoys, others stayed near the shore.
My Wetsuit Experience
Getting the wetsuit on took me a few minutes. They're very tight, and they don't just pull on easily, there's a lot of tugging, unrolling, shifting, squatting... and I needed help to zip up the back.
Once it was on I looked at myself in the mirror. One word: BATMAN! :) It's actually pretty flattering, tight but it also smooths everything out. I looked fast!
We waddled down to the water, which I'm sure was an amusing sight for anyone driving by. Think March of the Penguins.
The water was COLD. I don't just mean cold, I mean COOOOLD.
I started by getting some water into my suit, which was what I'd been told to do. It allows the suit to shift around a bit and get comfortable.
When I finally got to floating, the added buoyancy from the suit was immediately apparent. Without moving a muscle, I was floating! As I started swimming, my legs simply floated at the surface behind me, even without kicking. All that practicing my form to get those feet to the surface and here they were doing it without my help. :)
I swam for a bit, but the cold water was a lot to take... I had a cold going too, so my breathing was really wheezy. All in all, though, swimming in the wetsuit was completely fine.
I trudged back up to the store, and then came the next challenge - getting out of the wetsuit. I see a very long first transition in my future... it didn't want to come off easily! Kind of like peeling a banana without tearing the peel.
Really looking forward to the race next week! I just hope the water isn't as cold - that was terrible, really impacted my ability to swim.