Today there is much confusion concerning what swimsuits one should wear when it comes to the last meet of the season. The recent introduction of full-body suits greatly contrasts to the miniscule swim briefs of years past. The main company producing these suits is Speedo. For actual time differences between the two brands, there is little statistical evidence, and therefore the choosing of one over the other is mostly a question of personal taste. The style of the suit is obviously the most important decision one makes when one picks a competition swimsuit. For men, there are briefs, jammers (waist to knees), hi-neck kneeskins, legskins (waist to ankles), hi-neck bodyskins, and full bodyskins. Concerning competition swimwear, the style of the suit is the most important factor in the effectiveness of the suit.
Breaststroke is the most different of the four recognized strokes, and therefore those competing in the breaststroke and individual medley should probably purchase one of the following suits. Briefs are the standard swimsuit, only the competition briefs are instead made of an extremely hydrodynamic material, as are all of the other suits discussed here. Briefs are often chosen by breaststrokers to allow for maximum range of motion for the wide breaststroke kick. Jammers are extremely comparable to briefs, only they cover the thigh and some people believe that this reduces drag in the water, however this also restricts leg movement for breaststrokers, although many opt to cover the thighs hoping that the benefits will outweigh the burden. The hi-neck kneeskin is a jammer with a torso attached at the top. This torso is two straps that pull over the shoulders and is then zipped up in the back. This added torso covering reduces yet more drag than the brief or the jammer, however when a swimmer opts for the hi-neck kneeskin it is usually because the swimmer is competing in the breaststroke or individual medley, which includes breaststroke. As a rule, breaststrokers should never have their calves covered because of the sideward motion of the kick, so the reduced drag actually eliminates efficiency. When cost is not taken into effect anything not covering the calves is generally considered to be designed for breaststrokers.
For events other than the breaststroke, it is very common for a swimmer in high-level competition to wear a swimsuit that covers his calves. The most basic of these is the legskin, which is a jammer elongated yet again to reach the ankles. The legskin is preferable for those swimmers who prefer to have no motion restriction on their shoulders at all while maintaining low drag. The hi-neck bodyskin is the same as a hi-neck kneeskin, only the inseam of the suit continues to the ankle of the swimmer. The extreme variation of this is the full bodyskin, which covers the entire body of the swimmer, from neck to wrist to ankle. Many swimmers shy from this suit because they fear that having the sleeve will create more resistance that they must pull through during their stroke. Speedo recently responded to this in the design of the Fastskin II and now there is a patch of extremely flexible material along the side of the sleeve and the underarm, called Flexskin, which allows for almost uninhibited range of motion as well as a great feel for the water, which is a main concern for many swimmers.
When buying one of these swimsuits it is essential to remember that they are extremely pricey and only will last for between four and six uses. Care is essential. As soon as possible after use, rinse the suit in cold clean water and lay it flat to dry. These suits are also not essential to a successful swim, unless the competition is on an extremely high level, and even at these competitions, it is those few extra laps a swimmer swims that will give him or her the edge, not some fancy swimsuit.