Written by Sarah Piampiano, 2x Ironman Champion
Over the last few weeks I tested out Zone3’s Buoyancy Shorts. It was perfect timing for me, as I had been preparing for Ironman Cairns on June 11th, which was a wetsuit swim. When preparing for a wetsuit-legal swim, one of the best training uses of the buoyancy short is to mimic body position in the water and create more stroke efficiency in a wetsuit-swim scenario.
Comfort and Construction
When I first put the shorts on, the first thing I noticed was the neoprene was more pliable and the shorts were less stiff than others I have used. It gave me a more consistent feel in terms of buoyancy and overall movement in the water relative to wearing a full wetsuit. I also appreciated having the drawstring to be able to tighten the shorts as needed and create a comfortable and snug fit.
Function and Performance
Once swimming, I felt as though the shorts gave me the ideal amount of “lift” in the water that was, again, consistent with how I feel wearing a full wetsuit. With pull buoys, sometimes you have too much or too little lift relative to a wetsuit. Pull buoys don’t necessarily provide the optimal set-up for body position imitation. For me, this allowed me to feel most confident that the using the buoyancy shorts as a training tool would carry over to benefit my stroke directly in a race-setting.
Adding to the Training Arsenal
The buoyancy shorts are extremely beneficial as a training tool and a great replacement to the pull buoy. Because of the quality of neoprene used, it also allowed for a more natural feeling to swimming in a full wetsuit.
About the Author: Professional Triathlete Sarah Piampiano has accumulated four 70.3 wins, two Ironman victories, and 16 podium performances, plus a 7th place finish at the 2015 and 2016 Ironman World Championships. With a solid collegiate career in cross-country and downhill skiing, Piampiano discovered triathlon after college over a bar-bet and without much knowledge of what a triathlon even entailed. Visit Sarah’s website to learn more.