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Greg M. Jung
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Breakthroughs
Greg M. Jung   6/21/2012 8:11:03 AM
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Great results.  Taking a swimsuit and achieving a 5% reduction in drag is huge considering that some races are decided by only tenths or hundredths of a second.  Amazing breakthrough.

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Application
Nancy Golden   6/21/2012 11:20:37 AM
While I agree, this is an amazing breakthrough - call me old-fashioned. I think everyone should just wear the same thing to equalize swimwear in the competition. Is it about the advances in technology or is it about the human physical endeavor? I bet there are some great applications for this technology, just not so sure that swimming competitions should be so caught up in external advantages that not everyone has access to...just my opinion though.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Application
Beth Stackpole   6/21/2012 3:09:26 PM
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I don't know, Nancy. Look at all the posts Design News runs on all the different tweaks and slight modifications to race cars, all at the same time when the industry is heavily policed to ensure there is a level playing "track." I think there are parallels to this example. The governing body that presides over swimming competitions sets the rules and then the swimsuit manufacturers and athletes all have to comply, but can still innovate to draw some sort of advantage.

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Re: Application
Nancy Golden   6/21/2012 4:20:59 PM
I see what you are saying Beth, but I think the analogy breaks down a little bit because it is the human body providing the energy to propel forward in swimming while in automotive racing it is the engine - so while it takes a skilled driver to win, it is the car that must be capable of achieving winning speeds. So to me, car racing is a combination of the car and the driver to succeed. A swimmer depends on their own physical ability. Slight nuance here but I think it exists...but then I always liked it when they added weights to saddles in horse racing so that every horse was carrying the same weight.

Amclaussen
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Re: Application
Amclaussen   6/22/2012 4:00:53 PM
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I fully sympatize with Nancy.  How can humans compare the performance of a traditional sports competence like the Olympics, is avery 4 years the conditions EXTERNAL to the competitos change?  It would be unfair to keep helping and helping newer competitors while older ones records are being surpassed not thanks to the newer ones becoming better, but because of the abuse of technology.

Nancy's comparison break down seems to me straightforward and true. I'm curious which times would achieve the famous swimmer when dressed with a, say, 1936 model swimsuit? Amclaussen.

RW-in-DC
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Re: Application
RW-in-DC   8/2/2012 9:16:55 AM
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Unfortunately, the weights in horse racing aren't equal.  They're handicaps to make the race more unpredictable/exciting:

'In a handicap horse race, varying amounts of weight are added to the horse saddles. This is an attempt to even out the competition, in case some horses are clearly more dominant than others. It makes the outcome more difficult to predict, which means the track makes more money.

As this excellent article by Laura Hillenbrand notes, Seabiscuit often raced in handicaps with an absurdly heavy load of 130 pounds. An extra weight of two to three pounds is usually enough to slow a horse by a length." (http://ask.yahoo.com/20030814.html)

Charles Murray
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Re: Application
Charles Murray   6/21/2012 7:55:25 PM
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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.

NadineJ
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Re: Application
NadineJ   6/22/2012 11:21:05 AM
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The NBA has also banned shoes from the court.  25 years ago Air Jordans were considered too flashy and distracting, giving the Bulls an advantage.  Today, Athletic Propulsion Labs shoes are banned because they're said to give an unfair advantage due to their vertical influencing technology.

I think new technology, like new training regimens are good for sports. Using creativity to gain a competitive edge is what it's about today.  And, the idea of what is fair changes through the years.

The purists who want an even playing field may want to go back to a more historic approach.  First Olympics=All male athletes, all nude, no women allowed to attend or view the games.

Cavey
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Iron
Re: Application
Cavey   6/28/2012 9:02:22 AM
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Nancy I totally agree! It should be who has the best athletes and not the best tech.

TommyH
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Silver
Re: high tech swim suits
TommyH   6/29/2012 11:07:54 AM
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I think that the swimmers should be naked. That makes it clearly the athletes performance and not some technical advantage.   Back when the Greeks started this competition, all the athletes were naked.  I wish we were more enlightened about these matters but ...........

 

warren@fourward.com
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Platinum
Re: high tech swim suits
warren@fourward.com   7/9/2012 6:16:55 PM
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Now, if they can only invent a suit that eliminates sag, pouch, and wrinkles, I will be their first customer!

Actually, I think all is fair in love and sports outfits.  The prize should go to the one who uses physics and engineering to their advantage.  Why have to live with what has gone on before, or they would be riding those silly big-wheel bicycles in the Olympics.

If a countries are going to keep going broke sponsoring these things, they might as well have a few world's records under their belts!

Rob Spiegel
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Re: high tech swim suits
Rob Spiegel   7/12/2012 2:20:08 PM
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Even if they were all naked, someone would develop a particular oil that would reduce the drag and friction from skin. People will always figure out some way to get an edge.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: high tech swim suits
Beth Stackpole   7/13/2012 9:26:25 AM
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That's funny, Rob, but so true. I have to cast a vote with the camp that clothing or equipment will continued to be designed to give player's an edge--it's just human nature and the pace of technology. Seems to be fair within reason, that is.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: high tech swim suits
Rob Spiegel   7/13/2012 2:06:34 PM
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Also, with all of the talk about the ancient Olympians competing naked, it's interesting to note the athletes did not like this feature. It was all men, and married women were not allowed to view the competition. Unmarried women, however, were encouraged to attend. Many young men were allowed to wear a leather thong.

The reason for the birthday suits is the same reason at the base of this discussion -- an attempt to make the competition fair.

Musashi Rings
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Iron
Swimsuit Design
Musashi Rings   6/21/2012 3:01:34 PM
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It's a shame that the record-breaking swimsuit was banned.  It would have been better to make it a standard so swimmers could still compete on an equal basis.

Just as improved running shoes have made it easier for everyone to run better, it would have made it easier for everyone to swim better.

It is not difficult to imagine people enjoying the water environment better and even swimming across oceans in faster and faster times.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Swimsuit Design
Rob Spiegel   6/21/2012 3:40:09 PM
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I'm with you Musashi. Instead of banning it, make it available to everyone. 

I have to wonder, though, what size market is there for these specially developed materials? Seems a small market for such R&D.

Musashi Rings
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Re: Swimsuit Design
Musashi Rings   6/21/2012 4:21:10 PM
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I'm sure there are people who would say that only full body swim suits with trunks should be used.

I suspect it is like the racing cars that used to be sponsored by the auto companies.  If you can show you support high speed vehicles, the customer may feel that you may be incorporating some of the features into your own cars...and what better than speed suits for Speedo?

Rob, it sounds like you are an innovator yourself.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Swimsuit Design
Rob Spiegel   6/21/2012 4:42:03 PM
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That makes perfect sense, Musashi. If Speedo is seen designing bleeding edge swimwear for elite swimmers, they raise their status with the mass market.

Musashi Rings
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Re: Swimsuit Design
Musashi Rings   6/21/2012 4:47:53 PM
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And I would hope they would produce the full body, squeeze down suit for the rest of us because the skimpy brief-type Speedo suit is denfinitely not suited for my older body shape.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Swimsuit Design
Rob Spiegel   6/21/2012 4:52:09 PM
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Nor my body shape, Musashi. Is this something that would appeal to recreational swimmers? Or even workout swimmers? I do a ton of recreational swimming with my kids, and my swimsuit view is the simpler the better.

Musashi Rings
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Re: Swimsuit Design
Musashi Rings   6/21/2012 5:08:44 PM
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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.

ruivaz
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Re: Swimsuit Design
ruivaz   6/22/2012 9:28:17 AM
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@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.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Swimsuit Design
Rob Spiegel   6/22/2012 1:31:30 PM
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That makes sense, Musashi. Workout swimmers do want the resistance. I wonder if these suits make it down to the level of high school and college competition. While they are expensive, I would imagine it might be worth the investment at the college level.

mrdon
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Re: Swimsuit Design
mrdon   6/23/2012 4:17:34 PM
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Musashi, The idea of having two sports competitions of traditional and technology assisted sounds intriguing. With 2 categories available, maybe sports organizations and manufacters can come to a mutual agreement on what products can be designed using technology to meet the overall goal of the target competition in question.

RedRockSA
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Re: Swimsuit Design
RedRockSA   6/23/2012 7:08:31 PM
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With regard to the fINA banning I must confess to being a bit flummoxed as to their reasoning & at the same time do not agree with a 2 stream system (one au natural the other tech enhanced).

Having being a serious swimmer myself I wonder at the banning simply because all records broken are done so via some form of 'enhancement' or 'break-through' either mentally or physically or even due to revised 'rules' (eg. when I swam breastsroke your head could not submerge - to do so would mean disqualification - today you may - an enormous advantage with less resistance).

Where do we place swim items such as nose-clip, goggles, swim cap, paper-lycra etc all of these accepted things were in their day a 'tech marvel' that gave some advantage - so why this advancement by speedo?

What about shaving/ We would do a complete body shave for the BIG comps - did that help for faster times - who knows but psychologically it did & I suspect that these swim-suits to some degree do assist but dont forget the power of the mind believing it works! The 4min mile was a no-go for many years - as soon as it was broken within a week or two many others also completed a sub 4min mile.

mrdon
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Re: Swimsuit Design
mrdon   6/23/2012 7:32:05 PM
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RedRockSA, I see your point. I do believe there should be some type, I hate to say it, regulation that will still allow sport's manufacturers to continue with their R&D initiatives but also but a limit on how far the tech can be used enhance the athelete's natural abilities. 

RedRockSA
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Re: Swimsuit Design
RedRockSA   6/26/2012 1:52:31 PM
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MrDon I hear what you're saying and I agree to a point.

Should the 'technology' be of the nature that for some or other reason it is not available to all or restricted to a select few then I also say that it may not be used until such time as the non-use thereof is due to one of personal choice & not inability to consider it as a choice.

Bearing in mind though that when I speak of technology in this regard my concept of such is along the lines of 'an improvement in an area that does not become unnatural but is a natural progression within that field' is acceptable - i.e. to come up with a better fabric construction & placement thereof is & should be acceptable - the swimmer is still doing the swimming BUT should this fabric morph into thousands of tiny scram-jet motors upon contact with water & assist in this manner then NO! certainly not.   

I say this with tongue slightly in cheek & my eye on all sports through the ages - the chalk dust gymnasts use on their hands, the black line under the eye of footballers, the spikes under a sprinters shoe, the carbon fibre in a pole vaulters pole ..........etc

mniesslein
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Silver
Re: Swimsuit Design
mniesslein   6/25/2012 12:17:15 PM
As a college swimmer, I can agree with FINA decision to level the playing field on these "special suits".  The problem was that they were in very short supply.  Many swimmers did not have access to them.  And if you were lucky you may get 4 swims out of them.  If you have a long meet or invitational you would be lucky to get a whole meet out of them.  $500 - 800 X 20 swimmers = $10000 - $16000.  Then you need more than one per swimmer.  That is more than a typical college pays for suits for the team for the entire season.  These suits are fragile and very tight and uncomfortable.  You have to be a contortionist to get into them.  Taking them on and off is where the suits become damaged.  THe seams rip and stretch.  On top of that they took a lot of time to make and were in short supply.  I don't remember exactly what type of bonding they had to do to the seams but it was very costly and time consuming.  So, only the elite of the elite had access to the suits because the companies wanted these suits to be on the top performers.  That is where the unfair advantage comes in.  If everyone can not have access to them and the companies hand pick who can get the suits then it becomes an unfair advantage.  I applaud FINA for their decision, but wish that this decision would have happened before the 2008 Olympics, which might have made them outlaw these suits before the times were tainted from these suits.

Some sort of limits need to be drawn when everyone can't have access to a suit.  Even though these suits were ridiculously expensive.  You could not buy them even if you had the money because of the long times of manufacturing the suit. 

I wonder how often this happens in sports.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Swimsuit Design
Beth Stackpole   6/22/2012 7:18:25 AM
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@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.

RICKZ28
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Re: Swimsuit Design
RICKZ28   6/22/2012 12:57:58 PM
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I think the high-tech swimsuit was banned since it was new and exotic (expensive) and not everyone had access to use the swimsuit (especially athletes from disadvantaged countries).  Whenever there is equipment used in sports, there are rules for the equipment.

Years ago when I was much younger, and an avid body boarder on the nice Southern California waves, I purchased a better body board (top-of-the-line Morey Boogie board).  I spent about $200 for the board, much more than the $20 boards from Target stores.  Besides having a carbon fiber insert within the board, it had a special fish scale texture low-friction material on the bottom side.  When taking a wave, I would pass others on their inexpensive body boards like they were standing still!  I was able to take any wave without regard to those less well equipped...absolutely no contest!  It was like driving a high-performance car around economy cars.  That said, I can fully understand why a high-tech swim suit would be an unfair advantage if all competitors did not have the same thing.

RICKZ28
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Re: Swimsuit Design
RICKZ28   6/22/2012 12:59:03 PM
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I think the high-tech swimsuit was banned since it was new and exotic (expensive) and not everyone had access to use the swimsuit (especially athletes from disadvantaged countries).  Whenever there is equipment used in sports, there are rules for the equipment.

Years ago when I was much younger, and an avid body boarder on the nice Southern California waves, I purchased a better body board (top-of-the-line Morey Boogie board).  I spent about $200 for the board, much more than the $20 boards from Target stores.  Besides having a carbon fiber insert within the board, it had a special fish scale texture low-friction material on the bottom side.  When taking a wave, I would pass others on their inexpensive body boards like they were standing still!  I was able to take any wave without regard to those less well equipped...absolutely no contest!  It was like driving a high-performance car around economy cars.  That said, I can fully understand why a high-tech swim suit would be an unfair advantage if all competitors did not have the same thing.

rick oleson
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Gold
Guess I'm old fashioned
rick oleson   6/22/2012 9:30:43 AM
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....

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Guess I'm old fashioned
Beth Stackpole   6/22/2012 11:34:48 AM
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I can definitely relate to the purist arguments, but what makes the high-tech suit any different than the high-tech skis or composite golf clubs or bats for that matter? Clearly technology and advanced materials is having a huge impact on sports and as long as the governing bodies do their part to ensure no one has an unfair advantage or that the technology isn't completely replacing human effort, that's I'm game.

Amclaussen
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Re: Guess I'm old fashioned
Amclaussen   6/22/2012 4:18:07 PM
What makes any external help different in an Olympics competition, is that allowing it invalidates any valid speed, time or performance record comparisons between previous competitions, thus nobody can know how good is a given athlete or team... previous records simply cannot be compared to newer, technology helped ones!  Olympics are a tradition per se. It is not easy to distinguish if the new record was due to the technology or the actual performance of the athlete.

We should divide competitions in two very different classes: those where humans stablish records by themselves period, and those where absolute better records are sought. It is interesting that even when technology is continuously evolving, some rare records still remain... that makes them extra-special.  Have you seen the movie called "The Fastest Indian in the world"? (Motorcycle under 1,000 cc).

Amclaussen.

mrdon
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Gold
Re: Guess I'm old fashioned
mrdon   6/23/2012 4:09:43 PM
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Beth, I agree with you. If other sports manufacturers are using technology to enhance an atheletes ability to increase their performance as well as break records, where's the problem? If there is a requirement in which the governing sport organization want's to restrict the amount of technology enhancement the manufacturer can incorporate into their product, then a  design specification should be written to be applied across the board. Hopefully, such a document will appease the governing body of the target sport organization.

Greg S
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Iron
I must hide this from my daughter!
Greg S   6/22/2012 9:41:52 AM
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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....:)

oldcabman
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Iron
Committee Did Right By Banning
oldcabman   6/22/2012 10:05:01 AM
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.

 

FrankieS
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So fast we forget... Cycling
FrankieS   6/22/2012 10:09:14 AM
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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?

PizzaEater
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Silver
How far will the technology take us?
PizzaEater   6/22/2012 10:28:50 AM
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?

MYRONB
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Re: How far will the technology take us?
MYRONB   6/22/2012 10:45:48 AM
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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?

MyronB

RICKZ28
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Platinum
Re: How far will the technology take us?
RICKZ28   6/22/2012 1:47:06 PM
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I've seen how those Olympic swimmers shave all the hair off thier bodies to reduce water drag (reduce friction).

ChasChas
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New class
ChasChas   6/22/2012 11:07:27 AM
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A natural body only class is good for competition, but they should also have an technically assisted body class with no holds barred - just no power assist.

This would make things very interesting.

For the public market, how about a "Charles Atlas" ensemble with tan through material. THAT should to keep the bully's sand out of your face.

Absalom
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Speedo suits
Absalom   6/22/2012 12:16:52 PM
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It seems to me that the simple answers are swim naked or allow anything. But this decision is political so the answer will have to be complicated and based on which point of view is backed by the people with the most money and influence. Then they'll think up some ridiculous rational to justify the decision.

Musashi Rings
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Record-Breaking Swimsuit
Musashi Rings   6/22/2012 2:18:18 PM
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Beth in her posts had extremely important points.  High-tech is appearing in almost all sports.  Also, Speedo is talking about migrating the technology into mainstream swimming.  These aspects tend to drive down costs.

Purists are right in their thinking and, for example, there are cars still made with self-starters for those who want "real" cars.  At one point, auto self-starters were only for wimps and the rich. But for others, the cost point moved down to the point where all mass produced cars have self-starters.

RichZ28's, I really liked your description of your surf boarding experience because it is one factor that drives the acceptance of technology. I can relate to your experience

Advancing technology has the advantage of making sure that records are broken so there is a continuing interest in a sport.  Usually, the records have an asterisk and not explaining why a new record is different from an old record where technology is an explanation of the difference.

Wouldn't it be a boring world if there were no new records being broken?

Amclaussen
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Re: Record-Breaking Swimsuit
Amclaussen   6/22/2012 4:31:15 PM
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1 saves
Boring?

I would imagine a situation where a record is NOT broken for many years, stablished by a truly extraordinary athlete...  Then, htat record is finally broken by another person years after, in EXACTLY the same conditions. Now, it then would be extraordinary!  The other way, there is absolutely no way to check if the new "record" REALLY IS a new record... or simply a very good technological help.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Record-Breaking Swimsuit
Beth Stackpole   6/26/2012 6:36:53 AM
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Breaking new records is important, but the idea that technology, which is so pervasive in all aspects of today's life, wouldn't be applied to competitive sports is short sighted and in some ways, naive. People (even in developing countries) buy state-of-the-art running shoes to compete in marathons, baseball players are using composite bats that hit it out of the park more easily than before, I mentioned golf in an earlier comment, and there are examples in nearly every sport. Yes, the playing field should be level so everyone has access to these technological advances, but I think we're naive to think technology won't have an influence on competitive sports.

Charles Murray
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Re: Record-Breaking Swimsuit
Charles Murray   6/26/2012 7:20:05 PM
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I agree, Beth. The effects of technology in swimming have to be miniscule compared to some other sports.

mniesslein
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Silver
Re: Record-Breaking Swimsuit
mniesslein   6/27/2012 2:40:56 PM
If a suit alone is resposible for 1.3 to 2.2% reduction in a race.  I would consider it an unfair advantage.  As a comparison in MLB all bats have specific requirements, the must be made of ash wood, etc, etc.  There are no metal bats used in MLB.  Using a suit where in the 100 Meter Freestyle, a 48 second race, where 2% is roughly a second.  A second can be the difference between 1st place and 20th place.  In a 200 Meter race that advantage just went up to 2 seconds.  That is a huge difference provided by a suit.  Same person, same race, same exact conditions, only a different suit.  Some swimmers even went against their contracts with other suit providers to wear their suits exclusively to wear the Speedo LZR "Lazer" suit.  FINA finally picked up on it and stopped it.  Just the same as if someone in the MLB having cork in their bat.  There is athletic training and an athletes ability and then there is the equipment that is used.  Some sports allow the use of any type of equipment with few restrictions and some sports do not. 

With the use of steroids and other "enhancements" to sports more rules and regulations need to be laid down for the use of such types of equipment.  There are multiple ways to look at it.  In auto racing the same gas is used, the same tires, there are regulations on downforce and wing angles, weight, etc...  In fact at most auto races the gas and tires must be purchased at the race track for a lot more than one would spend on them at their favorite tire store.  The tires have a special stamp on them that means they were inspected. 

As these new technologies evolve fast and faster the governing bodies of the sports need to be able to move equally as fast to regulate the use of equipment that gives an unfair advantage.

Charles Murray
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Re: Record-Breaking Swimsuit
Charles Murray   6/27/2012 9:44:56 PM
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Good points, mniesslein. So what can be done? The only solution I can see would be to force everyone to wear the exact same suit. Regarding baseball: I believe aluminum bats are allowed at the college level, although recent rules changes have decreased the size of the sweet spot. Major league baseball also uses maple bats, which are downright dangerous but nevertheless allowed. In a Chicago Cubs game in 2010, a player on third base was hit by a shard from a maple bat and it penetrated his chest, less than half an inch from his heart. The battle to keep everything on an even playing field is never-ending.

Charles Murray
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Technology dependent?
Charles Murray   6/22/2012 5:51:47 PM
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It's interesting that we're debating the effect of technology on swimmers here. Seems to me that swimming should be exposed to less technological "cheating" than any other sport. Think of the Olympics: sprinting, distance running, basketball and field events depend heavily on shoes; baseball depends on bat material and size, as well as glove design; archery, badminton, fencing, sailing; rowing, skiing and shooting depend on various types of equipment. In professional sports, you've got football, baseball and hockey, all of which use equipment. I can't imagine any sport that's less technology-dependent than a guy in a pool wearing a Speedo.

Musashi Rings
User Rank
Iron
Record-Breaking Swimsuit
Musashi Rings   6/22/2012 6:51:11 PM
Logically, there probably should be two categories of pure human and technology assisted records, but most people would probably just be interested in the records without distinguishing (except maybe as a footnote).  This is a reason why banned technologies often become accepted after time.  This also the reason that most sports do not have two categories of competition.

The use of technology is not considered "cheating" because people know about it and it is not hidden.  This is especially true where a company like Speedo claims credit for the technology.

I look forward to the day when a swim suit makes me look more presentable on a beach and allow me to swim like a porpoise.

bobjengr
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Platinum
RECORD-BREAKING SWIMSUIT
bobjengr   6/22/2012 8:22:35 PM
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 I don't want to be a wet blanket here (no pun intended) but to me the real story Beth is bringing is not the swimsuit but the use of CFD performed by engineering team(s) at Speedo.    This technology was obviously used to produce the necessary design, thus reducing drag and improving the basic "slip-stream" desired.   The 16.6 percent reduction in drag seems to be remarkable.  Beth, I do have one question—I'm not knowledgeable relative to the term "oxygen economy".    How does the suit improve oxygen economy?   I am assuming CFD would need to be performed on each swimmer in order to find that "perfect fit", taking into consideration body shape, length, etc etc.  of each swimmer.  Am I correct here?   I find it very interesting that FINA outlawed the  LZR design in order to reduce the number of world records.  This seems very "retro" to me and definitely counter-productive.   

Amclaussen
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Platinum
Re: RECORD-BREAKING SWIMSUIT
Amclaussen   6/25/2012 1:17:15 PM
I'm sorry, buti I don't concur: I checked some dictionary definitions that apply to the word "record", as related to sports, law and science. (I wanted to check it completely, since English is not my native language!):
  • An unsurpassed measurement
  • An account, as of information or facts, set down especially in writing as a means of preserving knowledge.
  • An account officially written and preserved as evidence or testimony.
  • Anything which is recorded in writing or otherwise for future reference...

Those definitions confirmed to me that the intention of registering such sporting events has, necessarily, the intention of keeping them for posterity. What is the purpose of keeping the measured record, if conditions change so drastically, that it is no longer comparable to new "records"?

Now, why is that record measurement is today as close to exact measurements as technically feasible, I mean, measuring swimming times to the 1/100 sec AND confirming who won by using high speed video analyzing frames shot 1/10,000th of a second apart...  Does it make sense if the drag reduction when using this type of suit is above 2%??? For me, it simply means that it was MOSTLY the suit and NOT the athlete; great as a technical/scientific advancement, but completely wrong for a Sport, specially at the Olympics.

Another recorded fact: 98% of all medals won at the Beijing Olympics were won by wimmers wearing the suit. Statistically filtering the recorded data shows the improvement was clearly due to technology, much more than pure, undisturbed athletes merit.

If anything, FINA (the International Federation ie.regulating body) could only be accused of hesitating too long, since "records" stablished between February 2008 and December 2009 before FINA banned the suits in January 1, 2010, are now NOT comparable to those of the past.  As engineers, we would be better reverse-calculating the true, un-aided performance in order to be able to better judge the real performance of the athletes.

The (ab)use of technology in sports has led to the creation of a new term: Technology Doping, which tells it all in only two words.

RedRockSA
User Rank
Iron
Re: RECORD-BREAKING SWIMSUIT
RedRockSA   6/26/2012 2:05:40 PM
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I've just read the other posts re. the cost, usage & select availability to a few which then makes me agree with the banning.

Though Amclaussen's post has made me wonder if the best is not to go back to the origin of the Olympics & leave technology completely behind ...namely with nothing on.... the behind! 

Of course we'd have to keep an eye out for those who would then still seek & use the technological advantage of ....body oil or shaving body hair.... speaking of which... should we not then have to consider a handicap system ...for those with an abundance of hair being at a disadvantage??

Charles Murray
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Re: RECORD-BREAKING SWIMSUIT
Charles Murray   6/25/2012 7:43:26 PM
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Seems like a perfect application for CFD, doesn't it, bobjengr?

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
SPEEDO
bobjengr   6/28/2012 7:18:56 PM
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Absolutely agree Charles.  I do some work with the SIM Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and this would fit right in with their expertise.    Their fluid mechanics / graphics capabilities are outstanding.  The coolest thing I have seen lately is fluid flow around an F- 22 Raptor.  They modeled laminar and turbulent flow in dynamic fashion and made everyone a true believer.  The margin of error is decreasing so accuracy is truly impressive.  As you state—great project for CFD relative to the Speedo.

honur
User Rank
Iron
performance enhancing swimsuits
honur   7/12/2012 11:53:53 AM
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I think that it is ridiculous that runners and divers wear less clothing than swimmers.  I believe that athletic wear should be just enough to keep the person decent no more. Clothes in no way should be used to enhance performance.  If they allow clothes to be used in such way then why prohibit drugs.  The idea is to give equal chance to all that participate not just those that can afford expensive performance enhancing equipment. The original Olympians were naked. 

bob from maine
User Rank
Platinum
Records will continue to be broken
bob from maine   8/2/2012 10:34:53 AM
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CFD analysis of swimsuit drag is one small aspect of computer assisted analysis of athlete performance. Runners movements are analysed in 1/1000 second intervals to determine the most efficient moment to apply motivating force. The same for gymnasts, swimmers, rowers, divers, all aspects of track and field. Initally the country that developes the programs will benefit most, but as the technology becomes more available, all countries will use it. Athletes today are performing at a level deemed impossible ten years ago. I really don't think we are physically or genetically superior to humans of ten or twenty years past; but we are significantly better trained and that training enhancement has come largely from improved computer assisted analysis of all aspects of human performance. Just imagine the records that will fall next year!

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Records will continue to be broken
Beth Stackpole   8/6/2012 9:32:40 AM
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Great point, Bob. Adherence to more rigid training programs and the effective use of technology, simulation in particular, to learn and analyze movements has definitely contributed to the record-setting contributions of today's athletes. Hope you are enjoying this phenomenon at work at the London Olympics.

bob from maine
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Records will continue to be broken
bob from maine   8/6/2012 10:21:56 AM
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Last night I watched a 9.63 100 meter race. I saw the top 4 break 9.9. How many years ago did they first break 10 seconds in the 100? Wonder what the 100 YARD time was? These are bittersweet numbers though. Gymnasts who won this olympics have been practicing since they were 7 or 8 years old or less and as they age the damage they did to their young bones will haunt them. Many olympic champion figure skaters are crippled, or nearly so, when they reach their late 30's because of damage caused by practicing triple jumps in their early teens. Hopefully computer assisted analysis will help train future young athletes so the price of being a champion isn't a lifetime of pain.



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