The Zoggs Multiway one piece: The swimsuit inspired by our community
At Zoggs, we champion the joy of swimming for everybody and believe that everybody deserves to have accessibility to swimming and feel amazing in their swimwear.
Our designers have worked closely with our community to understand what our swimmers need, and the lack of accessibility to swimwear for mastectomy wearers was something we could not ignore.
This year, we brought out our newest style to date... The Multiway One Piece.
We wanted to make swimwear that could be worn by all types of bodies, which is why we created this cossie with secret bra pockets for swimmers to add in their Prosthesis.
Jules from Her Spirit shares her story on the importance of the creation of Prosthesis friendly swimsuits and how it has impacted her swimming.
In 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 45, living life at a 100 mph, juggling 3 children and a busy job. Life came to an abrupt halt as I began a rollercoaster of treatments and clinic appointments. A mastectomy without reconstruction was quickly followed by rounds of chemo then radiotherapy. By the following summer I had not only lost my breast but my fitness and my confidence. Most of my clothes had to be thrown out including my swimsuits. Navigating life back into the real world was daunting.
As I approach the 9th anniversary of my diagnosis - why share my story now?
Firstly, to show what an important role open water swimming has played in both my recovery and my life now. Secondly to raise awareness of the lack of quality swimwear for those who have had breast cancer surgery.
I’ve always loved to swim. Once treatment was over, I was back in the pool as soon as I could. I’ll never forget that first time- with a swim cap over my bald head, for once I didn’t look like a cancer patient. Front crawl was the perfect way to both rebuild my fitness as well as being great physio for stretching my scarred chest and helping my shoulder mobility.
This diagnosis gave me the push do something I had never got round to - an open water taster session. As I stepped into Rydal water in May 2016, I realised I’d found my happy place and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I bought a wetsuit and set myself the challenge of the Great North Swim mile the following summer. Since then, I’ve not looked back. But open water swimming is not just about fitness- it is about the community. Joining swim sessions at my local open water venue, Spring lakes, I found my open water tribe. My life is so much richer because of them. A bunch of friends who met through a love of swimming and now train together, enter events together, ‘encourage’ each other to swim over winter and join me on wild swim adventures. Crossing the finish line together at Coniston End to End this summer was the best feeling - who would have thought that was possible back in 2014?- I could barely do front crawl.
Whilst confident in a wetsuit, pool or skins swimming was quite another matter. I was so embarrassed by my swimsuits. I just wanted to get under the water as quickly as possible – fine in a pool, not so easy in a freezing cold lake in winter! The choice of post mastectomy swimsuits is really poor. I’d failed to find any that ticked all the boxes … sporty style, good coverage of my scars, a pocket for my breast prothesis to camouflage my flat chest and chlorine resistant. The leading swim wear manufacturers did not offer any. I ended up with ill fitting, frumpy designs. I never shared my embarrassment with my friends.
Things came to ahead when we were invited to do a photoshoot for the Zoggs new silver lined suits. I quickly declined the invite but bravely explained why. Where would I put my prosthesis? Would the suit show off my scars? The Zoggs team encouraged me to come anyway. At the side of the lake, I stitched a special pocket into the sample suit to hold my prosthesis … unbelievably it worked and I took part in the shoot. What a buzz!
This led to a collaboration with Zoggs swim wear designer to develop pocketed swimwear. The first is available on the Zoggs website.
I hope the next step will be a sporty back design. In the meantime, now know Zoggs suits fit well, I buy standard ones and get a bra shelf sewn in to hold the prosthesis. Thank you to Zoggs for listening to my story and looking at swim wear solutions for this unmet need in the breast cancer community. It has been a massive confidence boost for me and helped me feel like I belong at last.