I wanted to take some time today to talk about a local store that services the Winnipeg swimming/triathlon community. First, Winnipeg does not have a multi-sport store. I read with envy about stores in the US that cater to the multi-sport community, one stop shops where you can buy everything from bikes to running shoes to wetsuits. Winnipeg has several bike shops, some running stores, and as far as I can tell, ONE swimming store. The good news? The swimming store is AWESOME.
Called Swimming Matters, the store is located close to the center of the city on Grant Avenue, just down the street from the Pam Am Pool (a logical place, as Pan Am houses most of the competitive swimming clubs in Winnipeg. I believe the University of Manitoba is the only other comparable pool in Winnipeg, although I could be wrong).
When we first started exploring the idea of triathlons, we researched local bike shops, dropped in to several, and finally settled on Alter Ego Sports, for the reasons I outlined in this post. When I first started running, I was introduced to the Running Room through The Arthritis Society’s Joints in Motion program who used the Running Room’s Online training programs. I know there are other running stores in Winnipeg, but there is a RR 5 minutes from my house, and the manager and most of the staff there are excellent.
So when we needed to buy wetsuits, I started Googling for stores in Winnipeg. Um… not a big success. I found a couple of places that sold jet ski type suits, but not triathlon ones. There were a few online stores, but without knowing anything about wetsuits, who wants to risk buying one online? I stumbled across information on Swimming Matters by accident – I was looking at the Riding Mountain Triathlon website, and they had a thank you listed for Swimming Matters (one of the RM Tri sponsors). There was a link to a website, and once I followed it – success!
So Bruce and I went down there one Saturday just to check out their selection and prices (their new website is much better than it was in the spring!), and to chat with staff. The woman we spoke to was super helpful, and their wetsuit selection seemed to be good. Their prices were a little more than we’d pay online, but they also provide warranty and repair service onsite, which is definitely worth a little extra!
A couple weeks later we went down and tried on wetsuits – which is a workout in itself! I posted about our wetsuit purchase here. Again, the staff was very knowledgeable and helpful. As well, we found they had a good assortment of tri suits, both one and two piece styles! This was a bonus, as none of the cycling shops in town really carried a lot of tri suits, and for comfort, we both wanted tri shorts as opposed to cycling shorts (the chamois dries so much faster in tri shorts – less like wearing a wet diaper after the swim!). For me, I wanted a tri top with a built in bra as opposed to wearing a heavy duty (wet!) running bra that could chafe.
We spent most of the summer training wearing our wetsuits and tri suits. A few days before the Riding Mountain Tri, Bruce decided he wanted another tri suit, so off we went to Swimming Matters, where we once again had a terrific experience finding multiple tri suits (I found two pairs of my favourite brand short on the clearance rack in my size – score!), and finding that the purchase of a huge reusable bag would entitle us to an additional 5% off (plus the bag was perfect for transporting our wetsuits, it’s HUGE!).
So I just wanted to send a shout out to the owners and staff at Swimming Matters – they’ve been terrific every time we go in there; they have no idea this is coming, and I’ve been given/promised nothing to do this – I just really wanted to celebrate a great local shop that provides excellent products and service.