Why is the non-wetsuit category called "bioprene category"?

miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber
edited January 28 in Beginner Questions

This news article mentions "bioprene category" to mean non-wetsuit in the marathon swimming race last weekend.

http://dailynews.openwaterswimming.com/2019/01/julie-newton-wins-overall-cold-half.html

I feel this word is very offensive to me, as I think it implies everyone swimming non-wetsuit is fat. Is it really true that you have to be fat in order to do non-wetsuit marathon swimming in cold water? (although that race was not cold this year despite the name - 18°C)

Moreover, can anyone give me advice for me to reduce fat and weight, while training for marathon swimming in cold water (targeting 15 km in channel temperature)? I am 174 cm, 67 kg and 17% body fat as measured by a bathroom scale, and I want to get 5 kg off my weight to around 62 kg, which was my weight when I was the fittest in running 2.5 years ago (but it was a pity that I wasn't swimming well at that time). I want to have as little bioprene as possible when racing OW swimming / aquathon / running / orienteering!

P.S. The coldest water I have access depends on the weather - this year may only be 18°C, but in some years it may be 15°C.

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Comments

  • LouisMLouisM Dublin, IrelandMember
    edited January 28

    It's just tongue-in-cheek / a play on words. It's a combination of biological and neoprene. I think it's a great term and long may it continue.

    KatieBunIronMikeflystormsJustSwimSoloruthDanSimonelli
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited January 28

    I love the word, too. Mine fluctuates year on year, depending on the water temperature of the swims I've booked. I really don't care what percentage body fat I have..... or any body else, for that matter. I'm too busy swimming and enjoying the company of other swimmers. Please don't take it too seriously, @miklcct There is no "sizeism" (does that word exist?) in this sport.

    kejoyceflystormsthelittlemerwookieSoloDanSimonelliBridget
  • emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member

    Meh. I'm not a huge fan of the term either, less because of the stigma around weight, and more because it seems to suggest that all swimmers need some from of "prene" in order to be able to do anything. That subtly pushes neoprene swims forward as being closer to on par with skin swims.

    I've really only ever seen it used in DNOWS stories--I don't consider it a "standard" term or categorization.

    That said, sadly, I think I have to respectfully disagree with you @KatieBun about the presence of sizeism in marathon swimming. I've experienced it and it's not pleasant. There is certainly a very strong supportive thrust to this sport that truly is inclusive of all types of people, but there are a few outliers who bring their societally normative preconceptions (misconceptions?) with them to the water's edge. In my experience, they tend not to be shy about sharing their beliefs.

    thelittlemerwookieevmoKarl_KingeryKarenTjendutIronMikeSoloruth

    Stop me if you've heard this one...
    A grasshopper walks into a bar...
    https://elainekhowley.com/

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited January 28

    @emkhowley said:
    Meh. I'm not a huge fan of the term either, less because of the stigma around weight, and more because it seems to suggest that all swimmers need some from of "prene" in order to be able to do anything. That subtly pushes neoprene swims forward as being closer to on par with skin swims.

    I've really only ever seen it used in DNOWS stories--I don't consider it a "standard" term or categorization.

    That said, sadly, I think I have to respectfully disagree with you @KatieBun about the presence of sizeism in marathon swimming. I've experienced it and it's not pleasant. There is certainly a very strong supportive thrust to this sport that truly is inclusive of all types of people, but there are a few outliers who bring their societally normative preconceptions (misconceptions?) with them to the water's edge. In my experience, they tend not to be shy about sharing their beliefs.

    I'm really sorry and sad that you've experienced that, Elaine. They are indeed misconceptions. I should have said, there SHOULDN'T be any sizeism, rather than blithely assuming that there isn't.

    To be honest, it never occurred to me that the term implied the need for some equivalent of neoprene. It's just a term I've heard friends use in relation to themselves.

    emkhowleySoloBridget
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 28

    @emkhowley said: That subtly pushes neoprene swims forward as being closer to on par with skin swims.

    I've really only ever seen it used in DNOWS stories--I don't consider it a "standard" term or categorization.

    Agree with this sentiment. Beware of hidden agendas behind categories and the language used to describe them.

    I use the terms "Swimming" and "Wetsuit Swimming".

    :p

    miklcctSolorlm
  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    People can think whatever they want. The fact is that water is a great equalizer. That is why, in a race, you will see old dudes beating young dudes. You will see women beating men. You will see overweight people beating people with no body fat whatsoever. I've always thought that swimmers in general are pretty used to seeing just about every body shape imaginable and tend to not worry too much about it. After all, we basically are nearly naked, so there isn't much left to the imagination.

    Regarding wetsuits, I do have to admit that the effect of having a body corset really tends to make some of the competitors look pretty darn good. I think it would be really fun to have a flesh colored wetsuit. I bet that would turn some heads!

    SoloflystormsDanSimonelli
  • SoloSolo B.C. CanadaMember

    I like the term when used as humour, not so much if it were to be used more formally. As a side note, I swim better when I weigh 180, than when I weigh 160. I stay comfortable for many hours at the higher weight, less so when I am trimmed out for running. If your training involves a lot of hours of low zone 2 effort every week, you will find it difficult to not lose weight, in my experience.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    I love that you can't judge swimmers by how they look on the beach. The second you assume someone else is "too old" or "too fat" to possibly out-swim you, you will get humbled. Everyone in this community deserves to be treated with respect.

    KatieBunthelittlemerwookieMpolevmocurlyruthSoloPasqualeBridget

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • MpolMpol Toronto, Ontario, CanadaMember

    I agree with Wendy. The fact that stereotypes of athleticism do not easily apply to marathon swimming is wonderful!

    curlywendyv34KatieBunBridget
  • ruthruth New Jersey, USAMember

    My single greatest joy in the pool is trouncing a dude with visible abs.

    curlywendyv34KatieBunmiklcctflystormsevmoSoloPasqualeBridgetSydneD
  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    I learned at a very young age to not judge a swimmer by looks alone. Although there was a subtle tip off during my swim meet days. I never worried about the geared-up, athletic wear, major athletic looking stretch routine kind of swimmer. It was usually that slightly behind the scene, ratty t-shirt wearing unassuming individual that was going to be the real competition.

    One of my favorite swimmers on our team in college was a classic example of this. He looked like an accountant with his coke bottle lens glasses. (I think he was an accounting major if I remember correctly). He still had his baby fat and you couldn't see any suggestion of muscle on his decidedly unimposing frame. Yet he smoked the heck out of people in a race. No one could figure out how he could do this. And yes, he was a monster during the workouts too.

    Like I said earlier. Water is a great equalizer.

    KatieBunflystormsevmoDanSimonelliBridget
  • I think the term bioprene is preferable to one I just saw in reference to non-wetsuit swimmers: "The Lycra Mafia." :s

    evmowendyv34Soloemkhowley
  • stephenrouchstephenrouch Indianapolis, INMember

    As for training in cold water what has worked for me is a combination of acclimation, mental preparation, and just regular old practice.

    I recently had a Facebook notification of a 25 meter swim at 9C from three years ago! Now I can do 20+ minutes at 4C. Getting there has required me to get comfortable with being cold, and knowing how I will recover at 5, 10 or 15C. I try to swim outside if the water is still liquid no matter the season. I've lost about 5kg in the last few years and have not found the missing weight to be a negative in my training. But I train smarter, more feeds and hot feeds in the cold.

    At 15 to 18C I find myself in the 'annoyed' cold state. I don't like, but I can tolerate it. The more time you spend in that state the easier it is to know you can manage it. So practice!

    My only other advice is a kick a lot, and I think that helps keep me warmer, certainly part of the mental aspect of it.

    evmoFlowSwimmersSoloDanSimonelliBridgetwendyv34
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    @wendyv34 said:
    I love that you can't judge swimmers by how they look on the beach. The second you assume someone else is "too old" or "too fat" to possibly out-swim you, you will get humbled.

    Your comment reminded me of this funny old commercial.

    wendyv34

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • BridgetBridget New York StateMember

    @ruth said:
    My single greatest joy in the pool is trouncing a dude with visible abs.

    How about finishing an open water swim ahead of a guy half your age in a wetsuit? :smiley:

    wendyv34flystormsruthKatieBun
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    Prefer the terms “bareback” or “skins”

    miklcctrlm

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • ruthruth New Jersey, USAMember

    @Bridget, that's not in the pool ;)

    Bridget
  • BridgetBridget New York StateMember

    @ruth said:
    @Bridget, that's not in the pool ;)

    Right. :smile: That's why I specified. :D Just trying to share the joy-- I thought it was close enough, as feelings of accomplishments go. :smiley:

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