Print 57 comment(s) - last by aguilpa1.. on Jul 9 at 11:10 AM

Some swimmers are contractually banned from wearing the suits, leading to a competitive disadvantage

Speedo's technologically advanced Fastskin LZR Racer swimsuit generated a lot of controversy when it was first introduced in February of 2008. Michael Phelps wore the suit when he broke seven world records at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Dozens of other athletes sponsored by Speedo have worn the suit as well, leading to 182 world records broken by swimmers wearing a LZR Racer as of June 2009.

The LZR (pronounced laser) swimsuit claims its hydrodynamic success by replicating biological skin characteristics of various marine animals such as sharks and dolphins. It allows for higher oxygen flow to the muscles and holds the body in a more hydronomic position. The ultra-thin suit itself is composed of woven elastane-nylon and polyurethane panels which repel water, reduce muscle oscillations, and lower hydrodynamic drag by up to 10%. The seams of the suit are also bonded together ultrasonically to further reduce drag.

Speedo also received support from NASA and used computational fluid dynamics software from ANSYS for fluid flow analysis.

The supremacy of swimsuits from Speedo has led to a spate of development from rival firms. Two of the most interesting are the Jaked 01 and the Arena Powerskin X-Glide. Both were disqualified in May from the approved list of swimsuits by FINA, the sports federation for swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo and open water swimming. A FINA statement said that the 10 swimsuits were rejected "for not passing the tests of buoyancy and/or thickness".

However, French sprinters Alain Bernard and Frederic Bousquet had already used the new suits to set new world records earlier before the ruling.

Bernard was denied the world record title in 100m freestyle swimming after FINA decided his world record time of 46.94 seconds would not hold up because he was wearing the Arena Powerskin X-Glide.
Bousquet wore the Jaked 01 in May at the Charlotte UltraSwim, beating out Michael Phelps in the 100m final. His world record time of 20.94 seconds in the 50m freestyle was allowed, even though the Jaked 01 was not approved.

Adding to the controversy is the fact that FINA reversed its decision to disqualify the swimsuits on June 19, citing that "it would require considerable time to create and implement comprehensive control mechanisms and test methods which would permit to establish the effect with absolute certainty in connection with particular swimsuits".

Since they could not test individual suits reliably for the air-trapping effects, they would allow the use of the suits on a temporary basis. Such a large reversal meant that many athletes were making last minute decisions on swimsuits.

Many swimming athletes earn most of their income through sponsorship deals with swimsuit companies. This makes it a difficult choice when a new, more technologically advanced and higher performing suit becomes available. They can choose to wear the new suits and possibly post their best ever times, but at the loss of sponsorship money and possibly severe financial penalties.

Michael Phelps was awarded a $1 million bonus from Speedo for beating Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals. He has decided to stick with Speedo.

"It does take away from some things," Phelps said. "A lot of swimmers are going to put up a lot of great times this summer, and a lot of it is going to be headlined by the suits. I just think it's not fair to other athletes and the athletes out there performing."

The US National Swim Championships will be held next week, from July 7 to July 11. The FINA World Championships will be held in Rome, Italy from July 18 to August 2.

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Money money money!
By WoWCow on 7/2/2009 12:13:10 PM , Rating: 4
Seriously, all that money aside, we should really just have swimmers do it old fashioned Greek style, in nude.

Of course, all the politicians and children associations will scream aloud at how perverted it will be to watch sports then.

Hell, I think in the future, if they want a record time, just attach a rocket on the swimmers and watch it go boom!

Nice pic btw, guy looks like a super hero.

RE: Money money money!
By HostileEffect on 7/2/2009 12:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't the manhood cause drag?

RE: Money money money!
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2009 3:01:49 PM , Rating: 5
Yes and I was banned from international waters just for swimming because of the problems it caused.

RE: Money money money!
By erikejw on 7/4/2009 6:02:39 PM , Rating: 2
"Wouldn't the manhood cause drag? "

This might be the sporting event that women will overtake men then.

RE: Money money money!
By mezman on 7/6/2009 3:53:28 PM , Rating: 3
Poorly endowed men would surely have a competitive advantage.

RE: Money money money!
By PAPutzback on 7/2/2009 12:19:27 PM , Rating: 3
I'm thinking it's a chic.

RE: Money money money!
By PAPutzback on 7/2/2009 12:23:44 PM , Rating: 3
RE: Money money money!
By jconan on 7/2/2009 9:51:57 PM , Rating: 2
other than her fingers she looks very masculine, and her top seems 2 be mooby like than vice versa...

RE: Money money money!
By Brandon Hill on 7/2/2009 12:20:54 PM , Rating: 5
Dude looks like lady

RE: Money money money!
By jconan on 7/2/2009 9:36:19 PM , Rating: 2
that is one masculine lady...

RE: Money money money!
By mkruer on 7/2/2009 12:35:34 PM , Rating: 3
Greek style Olympics would certainly attract more viewers.

RE: Money money money!
By nafhan on 7/2/2009 12:45:12 PM , Rating: 2
It seems like it would be pretty easy to set a standard for swimsuits. This isn't auto racing with 100's of different components that can be tweaked and upgraded.
Standardize suit shape and material (100% nylon or lycra, maybe), and BAM it becomes a purely physical rather technological sport, again.
Of course, there would also be the political fallout with regards to sponsorship, and recent world records. I think it's the only fair way to do it.
Nude would also work from a fairness perspective, but there are some people that might have a problem with it...

RE: Money money money!
By Entropy42 on 7/2/2009 1:14:24 PM , Rating: 5
Nude would also work from a fairness perspective, but there are some people that might have a problem with it...

Attendance at the 500m Men's Backstroke would certainly be at an all time low.

RE: Money money money!
By Lexda on 7/2/2009 1:18:09 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, but you couldn't sell tickets fast enough to the Women's Backstroke. I imagine diving would also see an attendance spike.

For the record, though, nude doesn't work so well. Way too much drag. I'm not trying to be perverted, or assert my wang size; not only would that have too many flopping parts (both guys and girls), but srsly, that would be somewhat painful as you dove into the water...

RE: Money money money!
By Lastfreethinker on 7/2/2009 2:02:19 PM , Rating: 2
The idea isn't that it would cause less drag but that is would be a far more even playing field as well as records getting broken based on skill not the latest swim wear.

RE: Money money money!
By Ender42 on 7/3/2009 10:06:30 AM , Rating: 2
Till the sport is dominated by those less endowed..

RE: Money money money!
By Lexda on 7/2/2009 1:15:31 PM , Rating: 5
Here's an idea: Speedos. Not the brand, but the style. Nice, simple, small, and uniform. You've the most skin in contact with the water possible (without going Greek), and it's easy to regulate.

RE: Money money money!
By xRyanCat on 7/7/2009 3:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
And what will women wear?

The more of their body the suit covers, the faster they can go, so women would automatically be at a competitive advantage. (Even though women and men don't compete directly.)

RE: Money money money!
By Souka on 7/2/2009 1:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
even if only %100 nylon was allowed, it can be sewn and shapped to trap air...increase bouancy....which is what FINA is having a hard time to define limits and test for.

Good idea though...

Who knows...maybe just limit to 1oz of natural, hand spun cotton (by the swimmer).


RE: Money money money!
By dali71 on 7/2/2009 4:34:08 PM , Rating: 3
Nude would also work from a fairness perspective, but there are some people that might have a problem with it...

Fair for women, but not for men. Switch to nude swimming, then watch the Asian men dominate.

RE: Money money money!
By surt on 7/2/2009 7:49:24 PM , Rating: 2
Not fair for women either, though in the other direction, due to the buoyancy disparity.

RE: Money money money!
By Koder on 7/2/2009 2:05:17 PM , Rating: 5
Frozone: Honey?

Honey: What?

Frozone: Where's my super suit?

Honey: What?

Frozone: Where is my super suit?

Honey: I uh - put it away.

Frozone: Where?

Honey: Why do you need to know?

Frozone: I need it!

Honey: Nuh uh! Don't you think about leaving to do some derrin' do! We've been planning this dinner for two months!

Frozone: The public is in danger!

Honey: My evening's in danger!

Frozone: You tell me where my suit is woman! This is for the greater good!

Honey: I am your wife! I am the greatest 'good' you are ever gonna get!

RE: Money money money!
By PlasmaBomb on 7/3/2009 7:51:53 AM , Rating: 1

RE: Money money money!
By MaestroCaldwell on 7/2/2009 2:52:58 PM , Rating: 3
Okay, slap one of those swimsuits on me and you're not going to see me contending with the big boys. The VAST majority of what makes these Olympians so great is their strength, stamina, technique, and physique (like Phelps' paddle-like hands).

When I want to win a foot race, I pick out the lightest, best-fitting shoes I can, rather than Lugz or Dr. Martens. There are no bans on light-weight running shoes that I know of, and they increase my speed noticeably too. (Okay, so maybe it's not the best comparison, but you get what I mean.)

RE: Money money money!
By surt on 7/2/2009 7:50:45 PM , Rating: 2
And the drugs. Don't forget about the drugs they do to build muscle, and paddle-like hands.

RE: Money money money!
By Keeir on 7/2/2009 5:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously, all that money aside, we should really just have swimmers do it old fashioned Greek style, in nude.

Although far less entertaining, I think it would be fairly easy to just set a standard swimsuit for a particular contest (announced 6 months ahead of time). They could rotate the choice or FINA sells to the highest bidder and distrubutes the sponsership money.

RE: Money money money!
By GeorgeOu on 7/3/2009 5:43:20 AM , Rating: 2
That's a woman in the photo.

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