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hofffam
July 17th, 2008, 03:50 PM
I picked "supersuits" because that is what Mr. Freeze called his suit in the movie The Incredibles.....:D

Rather than add this to one of the Dara Torres threads (!), I decided to post here some analysis I did of several races at Olympic Trials. At least one person here asserts the super suits are worth 2-5% of improvement. I don't believe there is any data to show that - regardless of what swimmers said about their experience in the suits. Note that I do not doubt the suits are faster - I just don't believe they alone can produce a 2-5% improvement in performance.

I looked at six events at OTs: men's 100 free, 200 free, and 200 fly; women's 100 free, 200 free, and 200 back. The swimmers in these races were likely to wear a bodysuit. We all saw that Phelps and several others wore legskins in their IM, back, and breaststroke races.

For these races I tracked the swims of all swimmers that qualified for semi-finals because they had at least two swims at OTs. I picked races shorter than 400s because 400s didn't have semis. I assume the swimmers that make it to semis are "elite" swimmers. They should have easily attained trials cuts and there are reasonable odds they didn't have to taper to get their cuts. These swimmers are likely to be more experienced and less likely to have a shockingly good swim coming from nowhere. I picked their best swim (prelims, semis, and finals), compared to their qualifying time, and calculated the % improvement (or not) for each swimmer, then the field.

Of course I assume all of these swimmers wore a LZR, Tracer, or B70. I watched every OT finals and I only remember one swimmer in a FS-Pro.

What I found:

The average drop in time was:
Men's 100 free: 1.0%
Men's 200 free: 0.97%
Men's 200 fly: 0.90%
Women's 100 free: 0.21%
Women's 200 free: 0.53%
Women's 200 back: 1.51%

The best % improvement in time was Morgan Scroggy: -3.62% in 200 back.
The worst % performance was Amanda Weir: +2.30% in 100 free.

The best male % improvement was Scott Robison: -3.43% in 200 free
The worst male % performance was Eddie Erazo: +1.46% in 200 fly

78% of these swimmers swam at least one time faster than their qualifying time.
21% of these swimmer swam slower than their qualifying time.
1 swimmer's best time (Klete Keller) was exactly his qualifying time (200 free).
15% of the swimmers improved > 2% in one of these events. These swims were:

Alex Righi -100 free, 2.38%
Scot Robison - 200 free, 3.43% (came out of heat 3)
Larsen Jensen - 200 free, 2.57%
Danny Beal - 200 free, 2.11%
Ricky Berens - 200 free, 2.00%
Andrew Callahan - 200 fly, 2.82%
Curtis Dauw - 200 fly, 2.74%
Gil Stovall - 200 fly, 2.33%
Matt Patton - 200 fly, 2.10%
Morgan Scroggy - 200 back, 3.62%
Elizabeth Beisel - 200 back, 3.06%
Bonnie Brandon - 200 back, 2.58%
Erica Meissner - 200 back, 2.44%
Caitlin Iverson - 200 back, 2.10%

I didn't compare to the 2004 Olympic Trials because that would take more work and I don't know if the data is readily available. We do know that the 2004 trials were swum outdoors in a shallower pool. No LZRs. 6 WRs vs. 9 WRs in 2008. The USA-S site says: "According to USA Swimming statistics, almost half the swimmers competing at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials – or 44 percent – swam lifetime bests at this meet. That number breaks down to 39 percent of women swimming lifetime bests, and 49 percent of men swimming lifetime bests throughout the course of the meet." I expect the elite swimmers to perform better than the field as a whole - mainly because they didn't have to scramble to make their cuts.

You guys/gals can form your own opinions. My guess is that these improvements are in the general range of typical USA OT swims. The 2008 Trials weren't incredibly fast compared to past trials. The big stars (Phelps, Coughlin, Hoff, Lochte) generally didn't improve much from their best times - probably because they didn't taper fully for trials.

http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q132/hofffam/Misc%20pics/OTM100Free.jpg
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q132/hofffam/Misc%20pics/OTM200Free.jpg
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q132/hofffam/Misc%20pics/OTM200Fly.jpg
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q132/hofffam/Misc%20pics/OTW100Free.jpg
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q132/hofffam/Misc%20pics/OTW200Free.jpg
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q132/hofffam/Misc%20pics/OTW200Back.jpg

tjburk
July 17th, 2008, 03:55 PM
What about Lochte's 400 IM
4:09.74 coming in
4:06.08 Finals

hofffam
July 17th, 2008, 04:02 PM
What about Lochte's 400 IM
4:09.74 coming in
4:06.08 Finals

That was a good swim, no doubt. 1.47% improvement.

Sam Perry
July 17th, 2008, 04:19 PM
Well I guess that means Speedo should quit marketing the suit then. Waste of time, back to the old briefs. Good luck selling that to competitors.

KeithM
July 17th, 2008, 04:45 PM
On Qualifying times ... many swimmers seeded entries were swum in a LZR earlier this year. So in many instances you're not comparing Pre-"supersuit" times. It might be better to compare with their best times through last year.

hofffam
July 17th, 2008, 05:10 PM
On Qualifying times ... many swimmers seeded entries were swum in a LZR earlier this year. So in many instances you're not comparing Pre-"supersuit" times. It might be better to compare with their best times through last year.

I considered this. But for just these six events - there are 96 swimmers (some are duplicated). I would have to go to the USA-S times database and I just don't have time to do that right now. I do know that most of the QTs are lifetime bests, swum some time ago. Phelps and Coughlin's times are not that recent (except her 200IM which I didn't look at). I should probably pick times in 2007 or earlier to be sure someone wasn't wearing a supersuit.

For Sam Perry - I know you didn't like my answer to another post of yours. Sorry about that - but as far as I'm concerned there is no published scientific proof that these suits are 2% (or more) faster. Speedo (or Mark Shubert) claims they are. They tout their research with NASA. All the WRs this year are evidence of improvement - but the impact of the suit(s) is not isolated. It is mixed in with tapers and training timed to peak for Australian, French, etc. Olympic trials. I haven't looked at the recent WRs to see how much of an improvement they were. Except for the explosion of WRs in men's 50 free I don't think they were 2% improvements. Speedo has zero motivation to tone down their marketing. They will continue to tout the WRs in the LZR. They will conveniently ignore that they have 80% market share so it is reasonable to expect that 80% of the WRs might be set by swimmers wearing Speedo.

I have no problem BTW with Speedo per se. I wear Speedo to race, my favorite goggles are Speedo, and I have a Speedo backback. But they are laughing all the way to the bank with the publicity the media bestowed on them for free because of the LZR hype. I agree with Paul Smith that Mark Schubert probably abused his USOC position by so strongly recommending Speedo when he is also paid by Speedo.

LindsayNB
July 17th, 2008, 05:13 PM
Did the poster who specified 2-5% improvement specify relative to what or when? Since you mention Dara were they comparing her times with her Sydney times or earlier times?

hofffam
July 17th, 2008, 05:25 PM
Did the poster who specified 2-5% improvement specify relative to what or when? Since you mention Dara were they comparing her times with her Sydney times or earlier times?

That was Paul Smith.....and the Dara threads are so long that I don't even remember how the suit issue go into the thread. Nothing specific about Dara and supersuits.

Paul Smith
July 17th, 2008, 05:28 PM
I quoted 2-5% based on claims made by Speedo about the LZR & B70 for its Nero...and i stand by it because the comparison Hoff made (thanks that was interesting and validats what several coaches and simmers have told me of how slow the pool was) is apples to oranges...the claims of improvements are based on times in the last generation of suits to this generation.

And if you have not seen, touched or swam in this "rubber" generation of suits I look forward to coming back and chatting with all of us about it after you do.

By the way, in spekaing with a coach this afternoon about this his positon was that swimmers who had exceptional body position saw the least amount of improvement (Phelps) while those who were no doubt excellant before found much larger drops (Weber-Gale).

Now for the next tech debate/controverssy...the new caps claing to reduce drap from an old latex/silicone cap by as much as 5%. Seemed to me the vast majority of the swimmers were wearing them.

KeithM
July 17th, 2008, 06:11 PM
I considered this. But for just these six events - there are 96 swimmers (some are duplicated). I would have to go to the USA-S times database and I just don't have time to do that right now. That's fine if you don't have the time. Nor do I. But it does have a large impact on your data and therefore reduces the usefulness of your analysis. SwimNews rankings are generally accurate and it's an easy site to work off if you do get the time. All these swimmers raced LC tapered some time last year.

Take the women's 200 free for instance, Allison Schmitt dropping to a 1:55 from a 1:59 rather than her 1:57 in a LZR from this year. Hoff dropping to a 1:55 from a 1:57 low instead of from a 1:56 low. Julia Smit from a 2:00+ down to a 1:56, instead of from a 1:57 to a 1:56. Your data does not account for the improvements the suits made only the swimmers improvements during the year wearing the same suit. You also only analyze the top swimmers which is fine but these are the athletes that are most likely to have already worn the suit at previous Grand Prix meets and sectionals this year.

hofffam
July 17th, 2008, 06:14 PM
I quoted 2-5% based on claims made by Speedo about the LZR & B70 for its Nero...and i stand by it because the comparison Hoff made (thanks that was interesting and validats what several coaches and simmers have told me of how slow the pool was) is apples to oranges...the claims of improvements are based on times in the last generation of suits to this generation.

And if you have not seen, touched or swam in this "rubber" generation of suits I look forward to coming back and chatting with all of us about it after you do.

By the way, in spekaing with a coach this afternoon about this his positon was that swimmers who had exceptional body position saw the least amount of improvement (Phelps) while those who were no doubt excellant before found much larger drops (Weber-Gale).

Now for the next tech debate/controverssy...the new caps claing to reduce drap from an old latex/silicone cap by as much as 5%. Seemed to me the vast majority of the swimmers were wearing them.

Paul - what is the last generation of suits? FS2 or FSPro? If so - I still don't see a 2% improvement. I just compared Stephanie Rice's 400 IM WR (4:31.46) vs. not Hoff's but Yana Klochkova's 2000 WR (4:33.59). That's just a .78% improvement. Yana was surely wearing something old (Arena? Aquablade?). How about Bernard or Phelps vs. Peter Van Den Hoogenbond in the 100 and 200 in 2000? PVDH probably wore a brief. Bernard's WR is just .72% faster - Phelps 1.43% faster. Peirsol vs. Krazelburg in the 100 - 1.17%That's just a few I looked at that HAVE TO span multiple generations of swimsuits.

BTW - Shubert said "2% advantage over any other suit."

The WR progression for men is easily viewed at:

http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=87&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en

As for the cap - if the cap is 5% faster than previous caps, but the cap is only 5% of the drag, then it should produce a .25% improvement. But we don't know how much drag the cap causes overall - and it surely varies by stroke because of head position. The caps definitely LOOKED fast....:D

Paul Smith
July 17th, 2008, 06:30 PM
Paul - what is the last generation of suits? FS2 or FSPro? If so - I still don't see a 2% improvement. I just compared Stephanie Rice's 400 IM WR (4:31.46) vs. not Hoff's but Yana Klochkova's 2000 WR (4:33.59). That's just a .78% improvement. Yana was surely wearing something old (Arena? Aquablade?). How about Bernard or Phelps vs. Peter Van Den Hoogenbond in the 100 and 200 in 2000? PVDH probably wore a brief. Bernard's WR is just .72% faster - Phelps 1.43% faster. Peirsol vs. Krazelburg in the 100 - 1.17%That's just a few I looked at that HAVE TO span multiple generations of swimsuits.

BTW - Shubert said "2% advantage over any other suit."

The WR progression for men is easily viewed at:

http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=87&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en

As for the cap - if the cap is 5% faster than previous caps, but the cap is only 5% of the drag, then it should produce a .25% improvement. But we don't know how much drag the cap causes overall - and it surely varies by stroke because of head position. The caps definitely LOOKED fast....:D

I'm not looking at WR progression, I'm looking at what a swimmer wearing anything before the LZR dropped THEIR personal time after putting one on.

Hopefully you'll see first hand at some point....its hard to believe how much it changes things till you dive in and feel it then see the clock.

hofffam
July 17th, 2008, 06:33 PM
That's fine if you don't have the time. Nor do I. But it does have a large impact on your data and therefore reduces the usefulness of your analysis. SwimNews rankings are generally accurate and it's an easy site to work off if you do get the time. All these swimmers raced LC tapered some time last year.

Take the women's 200 free for instance, Allison Schmitt dropping to a 1:55 from a 1:59 rather than her 1:57 in a LZR from this year. Hoff dropping to a 1:55 from a 1:57 low instead of from a 1:56 low. Julia Smit from a 2:00+ down to a 1:56, instead of from a 1:57 to a 1:56. Your data does not account for the improvements the suits made only the swimmers improvements during the year wearing the same suit. You also only analyze the top swimmers which is fine but these are the athletes that are most likely to have already worn the suit at previous Grand Prix meets and sectionals this year.

No argument with your comments. One of the problems is knowing who wore a supersuit earlier this year. I didn't think they were widely available to elites until spring of this year. The other is that comparing times - no matter what - is comparing a human racing in a pool. Who really knows how rested a swimmer is? Until someone runs a controlled test of a swimmer in a LZR vs. a non-LZR suit - it is impossible to isolate the suit's effect. Oh and that swimmer can't be someone sponsored by Speedo.

hofffam
July 17th, 2008, 06:37 PM
Paul - when are you racing again tapered? What suit did you wear at SC Nats? You can be a test case.

We should also get Ande to test with varying fingernail length. :-)

ehoch
July 17th, 2008, 08:46 PM
Hofffam - this is about as BAD a way to compare times as you can get.

US swimming has all the data in the world - but that may not support your argument ? The trials data for 2004 is just as available as 2008.

How about this - wait till the end of the year - and pick 10 events. We can compare top 10 / 20 / 30 or 50 in the US since 1997. I bet you anything that the drop this year was by far the largest in any of the years - I will say at least double of any previous year.
Of course it's not 5% - but it's in the 2% range

hofffam
July 17th, 2008, 09:03 PM
Hofffam - this is about as BAD a way to compare times as you can get.

US swimming has all the data in the world - but that may not support your argument ? The trials data for 2004 is just as available as 2008.

How about this - wait till the end of the year - and pick 10 events. We can compare top 10 / 20 / 30 or 50 in the US since 1997. I bet you anything that the drop this year was by far the largest in any of the years - I will say at least double of any previous year.
Of course it's not 5% - but it's in the 2% range


My comparison isn't a piece of scientific research. It was simply an effort to see if the supersuits produced time drops like some say they would. I don't claim it is perfect. I'd like to determine if the suits ALONE can produce a 2% or more improvement in performance. I don't believe that if an elite swimmer races a 50 free in a FSPro they will be 2% faster if they put on a LZR.

You might be right about this year producing the biggest drop in some time. But how much of it is the Olympic effect? How much is advances in training? How much is swimmers competing longer? Maybe after the Olympics are finished this would be fun to study....

Paul Smith
July 17th, 2008, 09:04 PM
Paul - when are you racing again tapered? What suit did you wear at SC Nats? You can be a test case.

We should also get Ande to test with varying fingernail length. :-)

I wore a TYR suit at worlds two years ago and went:

50 fly 25.90
100 fly 59.04

last weeked unrested wearing a B70:

50 fly 25.96
100 fly 59.00

i don't expect as bif of drops as when wasn't using the new wetsuits but we'll see.

Chris Stevenson
July 17th, 2008, 09:31 PM
I wore a TYR suit at worlds two years ago and went:

50 fly 25.90
100 fly 59.04

last weeked unrested wearing a B70:

50 fly 25.96
100 fly 59.00

i don't expect as bif of drops as when wasn't using the new wetsuits but we'll see.

To achieve such an effect, your body position must really suck then... :)

Jazz Hands
July 17th, 2008, 09:33 PM
To achieve such an effect, your body position must really suck then... :)

It might be a body shape issue.

Chris Stevenson
July 17th, 2008, 09:39 PM
It might be a body shape issue.

I was just joking, based on his earlier post.

I agree that body shape is a major issue, though -- for that particular aspect -- I don't see how the later generation suits really improve over the earlier suits.

The Fortress
July 17th, 2008, 10:05 PM
To achieve such an effect, your body position must really suck then... :)

I think the effect of the suit varies by person somewhat. I'm betting the Clydesdales benefit more. 5% seems high to me. But I'm willing to buy up to 2%. Although I'm only a masters swimmer, I'm going to compare my LC zones times from last year (Pro) to this year (B70) and assess, although unfortunately I was in better shape last year and other factors effect the analysis.

ande
July 17th, 2008, 10:50 PM
nice swimming paul
I have a feeling you're going to swim very fast
how much do you tend to drop when you taper?

swimmers improve for many reasons

the suit the swimmer wears can be one of them
but there are many factors swimmers can play with to improve performance

1) mind stuff: IPS, psych, goals, reasons, daily actions, beliefs, acting as if
2) technique
3) training / conditioning
4) equipment suit / pool
5) strength
6) proper weight
7) proper swimming


elite swimmers need to experiment
do a lot of testing to figure out which suit they swim the fastest in
then they need to get used to that suit

LZR is the best marketed suit
so of course they have the most world records
they have the most signed swimmers

I don't know which suit is fastest
What I do know is
B70's are available now
they are more affordable than LZR's

many masters records are going to get rewritten
as elite masters compete in these new generation suits

records are also going to drop as the faster younger swimmers age up

one other interesting thing is
when swimmers wear the full body tech suits
shaving doesn't matter as much
swimmers should still shave exposed areas
hairs won't poke through the rubber suits
shaving doesn't matter as much

ehoch
July 18th, 2008, 01:05 AM
Swimmer: Ok Suits – here is the deal, I am totally confused on what to wear at the meet this Sunday, so I am going to ask you to help me. Give me your best shot.
Speedo Fastskin Pro (SFP): Come on, this is simple. You used me at the Masters Nationals and at your last big meet. You swam fast both times – I am proven, I am reliable and you know you can actually fit into me in less than 20 minutes.
Blue Seventy (B70): Not so fast you Speedo scum. You may have the name recognition, but I am the new kid on the block. You should go with the newest fastest suit that is actually available.
SPEEDO and TYR suits: Who let the wetsuit into this. He looks and feels like a freaking seal. Go back to your triathlons geeks and help them swim a 1500 in less than 30 minutes. Don’t start confusing OUR swimmers.
B70: New kid ? I was the one that started the entire trend. You guys are the new ones – your new suits are not even available yet. I started all this in 2006 at the Ironman. We brought the first of these suits at that Ironman and then you guys started copying us last year. And those triathlon “geeks” can kick your swimmers behind any time.
TYR: That is just a bunch of bull – I am going to sue you now.
B70: I went a 21.1 in practice with you – I think that speaks for itself.
LZR: I don’t even know why we are having this discussion.
B70: you are not even available yet – come back in July, no September, oh no they changed the date again – it’s now October.
TYR: Yeah – and by that time I am going to own Speedo, because I am going to sue everybody.
Nike: Can I play too – you got me from one of the Nike swimmers, but nobody wants to swim with me.
Everybody: That is because you STINK – even people sponsored by Nike don’t want to wear you. This is not golf or basketball and Cullen Jones is not Tiger or Michael. So sit over there and shut up.
LZR: I have one more word to say.
B70: what’s that ? Ripping
TYR: oh no – it’s “not before 2009”
SFP: let me guess “2%”
EVERYBODY: Just be quiet LZR, you may be the badest suit out there, but nobody in Masters can get one of you .
LZR: EBAY EBAY EBAY EBAY EBAY
TYR: Swimmer, if you are wearing an LZR, I am going to sue you.
B70: Think about what you are doing, a USED suit ? I hope somebody peed in it.

tjburk
July 18th, 2008, 09:29 AM
Swimmer: Ok Suits – here is the deal, I am totally confused on what to wear at the meet this Sunday, so I am going to ask you to help me. Give me your best shot.
Speedo Fastskin Pro (SFP): Come on, this is simple. You used me at the Masters Nationals and at your last big meet. You swam fast both times – I am proven, I am reliable and you know you can actually fit into me in less than 20 minutes.
Blue Seventy (B70): Not so fast you Speedo scum. You may have the name recognition, but I am the new kid on the block. You should go with the newest fastest suit that is actually available.
SPEEDO and TYR suits: Who let the wetsuit into this. He looks and feels like a freaking seal. Go back to your triathlons geeks and help them swim a 1500 in less than 30 minutes. Don’t start confusing OUR swimmers.
B70: New kid ? I was the one that started the entire trend. You guys are the new ones – your new suits are not even available yet. I started all this in 2006 at the Ironman. We brought the first of these suits at that Ironman and then you guys started copying us last year. And those triathlon “geeks” can kick your swimmers behind any time.
TYR: That is just a bunch of bull – I am going to sue you now.
B70: I went a 21.1 in practice with you – I think that speaks for itself.
LZR: I don’t even know why we are having this discussion.
B70: you are not even available yet – come back in July, no September, oh no they changed the date again – it’s now October.
TYR: Yeah – and by that time I am going to own Speedo, because I am going to sue everybody.
Nike: Can I play too – you got me from one of the Nike swimmers, but nobody wants to swim with me.
Everybody: That is because you STINK – even people sponsored by Nike don’t want to wear you. This is not golf or basketball and Cullen Jones is not Tiger or Michael. So sit over there and shut up.
LZR: I have one more word to say.
B70: what’s that ? Ripping
TYR: oh no – it’s “not before 2009”
SFP: let me guess “2%”
EVERYBODY: Just be quiet LZR, you may be the badest suit out there, but nobody in Masters can get one of you .
LZR: EBAY EBAY EBAY EBAY EBAY
TYR: Swimmer, if you are wearing an LZR, I am going to sue you.
B70: Think about what you are doing, a USED suit ? I hope somebody peed in it.

That's hilarious.....too much time on your hands? Or always this creative?

hofffam
July 18th, 2008, 09:53 AM
Ehoch - good!

Paul Smith
July 18th, 2008, 10:06 AM
To achieve such an effect, your body position must really suck then... :)

No doubt about it Chris...in season unrested I swim slow...always have being a big guy. So to not have the "punishment" I'm accustomed to the last 15m of a race was a strangely pleasant suprise!

Ande...typically about 1 second in the 50, 2-2.5 in the 100, 4-6 in the 200 & as much as 15 seconds in the 500. I'm not expecting these kinds of drops because the suit is such a factor....but we'll see.

Hoch...do you write for Letterman?!