The swimwear saga

A month or so ago, the bug in my head about trying to get back into swimming (see below blog) got really loud, so I began the arduous task of trying to find a swimsuit I’d feel comfortable in. I do have a simple Nike suit that I bought at least five years ago, but I have no idea where it is post-move (though said move was 2.5 years ago), and I was looking for a suit that would require less….maintenance (to put it nicely) on my part. I live close to this swimwear store in Northgate called Sylvia’s Swimwear; I was driving past one day when I noticed this cool “unitard” type outfit in their window — it was basically a tank top with shorts attached. I put in a call to Big 5 to see if they had anything in that style, and the woman said no and then suggested I try Sylvia’s. So…I tried Sylvia’s. They do indeed have a TON of stuff in there, but I only had eyes for the unitard. When I asked the saleswoman if the outfit in the window would be suitable for pool use, she immediately said “No,” and showed me where they had the only type of more mainstream unitards — they came in only navy or black (only black in my size), was lower in the front and back, and was by a brand I didn’t recognize (the unitard in the window was by TYR). So.. I tried on the black unitard. It looked fine, and though I gulped a bit at the price ($58!), I went ahead and bought it.

Over the next few days, though (and especially after each time I drove by that fabulous TYR suit), I started becoming a bit less excited about my black suit. I did some research online, and realized that the reason the lady dissuaded me from the TYR suit was because it was a triathlon suit — intended for all the stages of the event, and perhaps not suited to consistent use in a chlorinated pool. Soon after this revelation, I was thumbing through a recent REI catalog, and voila! They were advertising a triathlon suit they billed as being perfect for race day *and* training use. You know me, I’m nutso about REI, and I have such peace of mind buying anything there due to their 100%-satisfaction guarantee. The price on the REI suit — $100!! — made me gulp even more, but I bit the bullet and bused down there to check things out. I got confirmation from a salesdude that the suit would indeed be fine in chlorine (I have the guarantee to fall back on if it doesn’t), so I went ahead and took the plunge. The style is much more sporty than the simple black suit from Sylvia’s, so I feel less self-conscious in it in that I figure most people will just think I’m training for a triathlon (an idea my triathlon-minded swim buddies keep trying to impress on me :o)). To try and somewhat balance out the cost of the suit, I went to Target to get my cap and goggles.

Anyway, the real story here is that once I bought the second suit and decided to return the first (which I’d of course never worn), I couldn’t find the frickin’ receipt!! I vividly remembered putting it on top of my dresser, but though I turned my bedroom nearly upside down, it was nowhere to be found. I became so stressed over the thought of being out the $60-something, even if they gave me store credit (I really don’t need any more swimsuits!). Luckily, I did remember reading on the receipt that they had a 30-day return policy, so on day 30.. I slinked (slunk?) back into the store. I told the woman I hadn’t been able to find the receipt. She said “Well, are you in our computer system?” I had given them my info when I bought the suit, so I answered, “Yess..” with a slight glimmer of hope. Wonder of wonders, she was able to pull everything up on the computer, and then credit the money back to my credit card! Man, I tell you, I was so relieved! I immediately drove to Dick’s for a cheeseburger and fries to celebrate!!

Anyhow, I mainly wanted to write this to say that though I wasn’t too impressed with the “modest swimwear” options at Sylvia’s (as a caveat: looking back, I realize that even if the woman had said “Yes” on the TYR suit, I probably would’ve still gone with the REI one anyway), I highly recommend it for all your swimwear needs. The fact that they have computerized records — that they’re fine with hitting up when customers lose their receipts — is just mind-blowing to me. The only other place I know of that does that is REI (surprise). I doubt I’ll be shopping at Sylvia’s for another suit anytime soon, but I definitely will be periodically stopping through for various accessories — shampoo, suit cleaner, etc.

Oh, and here’s the suit from REI that I’ve now used twice and am really digging (photo courtesy of the REI Web site):

Whoa, that was a long blog about swimsuits. But it’s been some time since I posted a good story, so there you go!

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