OK-you want pure athleticism? Well, then ban all swim suits and caps for men and women!
Alright, maybe some kind of "modesty" covers, but pretty soon there will be tricked out, low-drag covers as well. Nah, stick with no suits. Speaking as a chauvinist, think of the attendance and viewership for women's events. A side benefit is that some female hormone-tuned men (or maybe male hormone-tuned women) won't be able to easily masquerade as real women. Except for comments like Myron's a lunatic, watcha think?
I'm waiting for someone to surgically dimple their skin like a golf ball for an advantage in fluid or aerodynamics. What about putting an implant in the top of your head so you'll go through the water similiar to the old Saturday Night Live Conehead skit?
This reminds me of something that happened in the cycling world in the not to distant past with Graeme Obree, "The Flying Scotsman" (good movie, definitely worth watching) in his pursuit of the Individual Pursuit 1 Hour record. Often times when a governing body sees a competitors tools giving them an advantage (disc brakes in Cyclocross are a good example, which were banned but then allowed again recently) they ban them to "level the playing field". I have the feeling that we will start seeing disc brakes make their way into the professional road cycling world soon, it's just a matter of the rest of the bike catching up first. What ever happened to good ol' innovation?
The idea that we'd keep the high-tech suits and just distribute them to everyone is fundamentally flawed to the point of absurdity. These suits are expensive, and weren't even uniformly available to all elite athletes before they were banned.
Swimming records go back about 100 years and review of them reveals successively better atheletic preparation and to some extent improving equipment (e.g., they use to wear much heavier suits, didn't have wave mitigating buoys and "waveless" pool designs). However, it got out of control when suits that increased the swiimmer's buoyancy made it possible to break records even though, while being elite and superbly trained, these athletes would not otherwise have done so.
Speedo was smart in doing such advanced work in the high-end tech suits, they effectively humiliated Tyr, their main competitor. Speedo's motivation was great advertising, and they succeeded in that. It was sort of like what STP did with the turbo Indy cars in the 1960's. That is the only real analogy between swimming and motor sport. It is otherwise almost as far removed a sport from motoring as you can get. Human effort vs. time (and each other), that is the basis of it. If that weren't true, then why not give the swimmers fins, pacing devices, steroids, EPO, etc., etc.? So the rules committee very rightly brought sanity to this issue by banning those buoyant suits.
Swimmers will still use suits, so obviously there will be differences. But as long as reasonable rules are in place, there will be relative parity in the suits and generally the swimmers that win and break records will have done so due to talent and training, not technology. It is great to see that Speedo continues to pursue the technology within the new rule set.
My daughter is a swimmer and wants one of these suits for competitive swimming but at $500-$800.....NO WAY! Do you know when these suits will hit the general public? Tell Speedo to be gentle with the price....:)
I liked the Olympics better when it was about athletic ability instead of CFD simulation and materials technology. Come to think of it, I liked Formula 1 racing better too, before the Ground Effects era...... it felt more honest somehow....
@Musashi Rings: Actually, snorkellers wanting to stay afloat might like the suit. The LZR and similar ones that used polyurethane (Jaked, among others), have huge amounts of bouyancy that a snorkeller would not appreciate. Also, the effort to put a swimming suit on is HUGE (and I've only worn older-generation suits) compared to a normal wetsuit. I've seen guys dripping sweat in the changing rooms, trying to get a full suit on.
Finally, the comfort is non-existant. I could only bare a 400m swim, maybe I'd risk a longer swim if I were keen on a good result, but nowhere would I wear one for leisure. Even my open-water swims were in "pants"-only.
Full suits (legs and chest) are still allowed (afaik) in open-water swims, although the material restrictions still apply and no zippers are allowed.
As curiosity, for some time now, only 1 suit is allowed. Yes, some athletes wore 2 or even 3.
@Musashi Rings: I actually asked Speedo about that since they could corner the market on being the "Spanx" of swim suits for the rest of us. They said they were looking into applying the technology for more mainstream swimming applications, which translated from marketing speak, means I think they might introduce some sort of shapewear swimsuit line based on the technology. Only problem I see is that it's pricey! But then again, a small price to pay for not dreading beach time.
I agree, Beth. Just as in Indy, it's an ongoing battle. The rules committees outlaw a new technology, and the participants and their suppliers find a way around it. Then there's a new set of laws, and another new solution. At Indy, this has been going on for decades. In 1967, Parnelli Jones used his Turbocar, and Indy outlawed it to reign in the competitive advantage. The intersting thing about Jones' Turbocar, though, is it didn't win. It broke down with three laps to go.
I think this would appeal mostly to speed swimmers...and I've been to weekend swim meets with literally thousands of speed swimmers. The workout swimmers need the resistance and for recreational swimmers, I agree that simpler is better although the faster it drys is even better.
However, on thinking about it, it may be more useful for snorkelers and scuba divers in recreational areas because reduced resistance is important to travel longer distances faster for underwater sightseeing.
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