My coach, Richie Caiazza invited me along with the entire team of Tri-Global, on a brick workout over the weekend. After talking with Bryan Krut of Open Water Swim LI, I realized I needed a wet suit and needed it now.

When I asked Bryan what happens when you’re in the water in trouble, he told me if you have a wetsuit, all you need to do is go on your back and float. Hmmm, I liked that. It made me feel more relaxed swimming in the open water. I haven’t swam in the open water since I was a kid at summer camp. I remember swimming in the lake. It was cold but it was really nice. Will this be the same experience?

I called my friend, Constance Korol for advice. “What do you think? Should I do it?” I asked her. “Of course you should,” she said. “But first thing, we need to get you a wet suit.” I agreed and we set a date.

That morning we met at the Runner’s Edge in Farmingdale, Long Island. A young woman asked what we were looking for. We told her and she came back with a Zoot Suit. I struggled and struggled to get it on. I worked up a total sweat. I did speed training around the track in the morning and I was sweating more putting on the Zoot Suit. It didn’t have the greatest fit.

“It will be fine for a rental,” the young woman told us.

“Oh no, you have it wrong,” said Constance. “We are looking to buy a wet suit.”

“Oh, in that case, let me bring out some things for you to try on,” the sales person said.

I looked at Constance. She knew what I was thinking.  She smiled and laughed.

The next suit was a TYR suit. “This is the less expensive version,” the salesperson said. I took the other one off quickly and proceeded to put on the first TYR suit. I got one leg in. I was breathing heavy. The sweat was dripping off my face. I got another leg in and proceeded to pull it up. I started to jump up and down to get the crotch to come up (it was drooping).

I started having visions of my mother and grandmother trying to get on a girdle back in the 1970’s. My mother would jump up and down to get it on. I was finding myself doing the same thing with this TYR wetsuit. After about 15 minutes or longer, I finally got it on. Constance helped me zip up and I noticed that the neck didn’t fit right. It was loose.

Another salesperson came by and tightened it up but it still didn’t fit right. At this point, the sweat was now dripping off my entire body as if it were 100 degree day.

“You should try on the other suit,” Constance said. I pulled the suit off so quickly. I couldn’t wait to get it off me! Now suit 3. I kept thinking I’m a ball of sweat, my heart is racing so fast, how am I ever going to get this on? The last suit felt like it took hours to get on but in reality it was probably around 15 minutes.

This TYR was a better version of the first and pretty expensive. I didn’t realize that wet suits were so expensive! Boy when Coach Richie said this sport was not for the “cheap at heart,” he was right. It’s an expensive sport!

I pulled up one leg at a time and again had issues with the crotch. I jumped and jumped and jumped. “It’s coming,” said Constance.

Now I was making a scene.  I felt as though the whole store was watching. One of the managers came over and helped me get it on. FINALLY!

One sleeve was longer than the other but he felt that the fit was perfect. I looked at Constance, she shook her head. I looked at the original salesperson, she shook her head. I guess this is the one I’m going to buy. I carried the wetsuit up to the front desk. The woman started to ring me up. I said, “now I just hope I can get this on.”

“Oh, here you go,” she said and handed me a Body Glide. “Use this around your neck, wrists and ankles and you’ll get it on. And, this is our gift to you.”

Hmmmm, why didn’t she give it to me earlier? Well, at least I had a brick for the day! Now, let’s see if I can get it on when I finally do go out for a swim in the open water…