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FINA votes to return to textile swimming suits


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Not sure how many people will be interested in this, but as a former swimmer and current coach, it's got my attention.

http://swimnews.com/News/view/7071

Bravo! FINA Congress Backs Textile In 2010

Craig Lord

Jul 24, 2009

FINA Congress in Rome - 168 nations for and 7 against - has backed the USA proposals to return to textile suits in 2010 and to cut back on the profile of suits that will lead to a ban on the bodysuit. Swimming is to be revived, provided that the new FINA Bureau now gets the detail right in the days and weeks ahead.

...

Records set in the plastic based suits will stand.

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So why is the suit a big issue? Would it be something that can be compared to the coolbase jersey? Does it really improve performance or does it just feel better?

From what I understand, the fabric is incredibly water-resistant, maybe even slick, thus making more of the body aerodynamic in the water. Aside from Michael Phelps being superhuman in the swimming world, I have read that the average speed of the competitive swimmers is faster in the new fabric than without.

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So why is the suit a big issue? Would it be something that can be compared to the coolbase jersey? Does it really improve performance or does it just feel better?

From what I understand, the fabric is incredibly water-resistant, maybe even slick, thus making more of the body aerodynamic in the water. Aside from Michael Phelps being superhuman in the swimming world, I have read that the average speed of the competitive swimmers is faster in the new fabric than without.

That's it. Coolbase doesn't make you hit the ball better or run faster. This helps you swim faster.

And yes, it's not like Phelps was the only one wearing it. Everyone had it.

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So why is the suit a big issue? Would it be something that can be compared to the coolbase jersey? Does it really improve performance or does it just feel better?

From what I understand, the fabric is incredibly water-resistant, maybe even slick, thus making more of the body aerodynamic in the water. Aside from Michael Phelps being superhuman in the swimming world, I have read that the average speed of the competitive swimmers is faster in the new fabric than without.

From my understanding, this is correct. It's expected that you'll see swimmers return to jammers (suits just below the knees) and speedos now, because with textile the skin is likely the faster surface.

I've actually heard from some that the full body and leggings were made illegal, but I'm not sure that's actually the case. I think it just has to do with them more becoming ineffective.

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So why is the suit a big issue? Would it be something that can be compared to the coolbase jersey? Does it really improve performance or does it just feel better?

From what I understand, the fabric is incredibly water-resistant, maybe even slick, thus making more of the body aerodynamic in the water. Aside from Michael Phelps being superhuman in the swimming world, I have read that the average speed of the competitive swimmers is faster in the new fabric than without.

That's it. Coolbase doesn't make you hit the ball better or run faster. This helps you swim faster.

And yes, it's not like Phelps was the only one wearing it. Everyone had it.

Why does this sound like Barry Bonds and steroids in baseball to me?

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The problem is with completely non-textile suits, which are waterproof and trap air between the suit and the skin. This increases buoyancy as well as reducing drag. Other older suits are often porous textile with strategically placed non-textile panels.

Over here we've had Rebbeca Adlington claim the new suits are as bad as doping, and she will continue to wear her old suit regardless of it's effect on her performance.

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That's it. Coolbase doesn't make you hit the ball better or run faster. This helps you swim faster.

So it's actually more akin to (North American) football players greasing up their jerseys to make them harder to tackle, or receivers using "stickum" on their hands to help them catch the ball (both once fairly common practices that have since been outlawed).

Why does this sound like Barry Bonds and steroids in baseball to me?

At least with these suits it's pretty easy for officials to tell when someone's using them in competition.

Over here we've had Rebbeca Adlington claim the new suits are as bad as doping, and she will continue to wear her old suit regardless of it's effect on her performance.

Didn't Amanda Beard also wear a regular suit at the 2004 Games even while most of her competitors and teammates had switched? (Then she broke down and switched herself in 2008.) Although IIRC she claimed to prefer the old suit for aesthetic reasons, not because she thought the new suits were a cheat. Let's just say... she was far from alone in that sentiment. ;)

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So why is the suit a big issue? Would it be something that can be compared to the coolbase jersey? Does it really improve performance or does it just feel better?

From what I understand, the fabric is incredibly water-resistant, maybe even slick, thus making more of the body aerodynamic in the water. Aside from Michael Phelps being superhuman in the swimming world, I have read that the average speed of the competitive swimmers is faster in the new fabric than without.

That's it. Coolbase doesn't make you hit the ball better or run faster. This helps you swim faster.

And yes, it's not like Phelps was the only one wearing it. Everyone had it.

Why does this sound like Barry Bonds and steroids in baseball to me?

There are most definitely some basic similarities between baseball's steroid era and the non-textile suit era, but there are ultimately two, ULTRA-KEY differences.

1. These suits were absolutely 100% legal.

2. In major competitions, probably 95% of the field wore these suits and it was open and obvious to everyone who was and was not using them.

With steroids, they were most importantly illegal. And while there is certainly some legitimacy to the "he faced tons of competition that was using, too," you don't really know how many and who were using. It certainly wasn't "everybody."

It's just a simpler issues in swimmer and one where nobody is accused of illegal activity. In baseball the issue is complex with claims of cheating.

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I smell collusion as P&G's Braun unit just launched the bodygroomer. :P

Braun/Gillette BodyGroomer

Seriously, this is good for the sport. The next time there is an equipment innovation, the star athletes get it first, before all others, this the advantage is with those who are signed by company "x" or the first world nations. From soccer boots, to swim suits,, technoliogy trickles down thus is unfair competition.

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