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knelson
July 23rd, 2008, 10:22 AM
Greg Earhart at collegeswimming.com just posted a column that raises a troubling point about the new suits: http://collegeswimming.com/news/2008/jul/22/outside-lanelines-sack-suits/

What do you think?

aquageek
July 23rd, 2008, 10:44 AM
What do you think?

Bunk.

Dolphin 2
July 23rd, 2008, 10:51 AM
Greg Earhart at collegeswimming.com just posted a column that raises a troubling point about the new suits: http://collegeswimming.com/news/2008/jul/22/outside-lanelines-sack-suits/

What do you think?
Hi Knelson
This tech suit issue just keeps coming up over and over like a bad case of heart burn.

15 to 20 years ago, if you needed a swim suit (-IE- a pair of briefs), all you did was run down to Macys and pick up one for $12 and that was it. College and high school athletic departments could buy them wholesale for $9 each.

Back then, the suit was just a minor issue and no one paid any attention to the brand of suit the swimmers wore. However today, the suit has become the "whole show and the monkey too" promulgated by the suit manufacturers who are taking advantage of swimming events for "brand recognition", "product placement", and other forms of "infomercializing".

I (and many others) have strongly suggested that FINA "Tivo" back to when swimming was an athletic art of sheer simplicity instead of what it is today with the hi-tech suits and who can -and cannot afford them. That would end this controversy in a jiffy.

My :2cents:

Dolphin 2

aquageek
July 23rd, 2008, 11:58 AM
15 to 20 years ago, if you needed a swim suit (-IE- a pair of briefs), all you did was run down to Macys and pick up one for $12 and that was it. College and high school athletic departments could buy them wholesale for $9 each.

Actually, couldn't be further from the truth. Tech suits came along before 15 years ago. You have previously stated you have never been a competitive swimmer so your assertions here are not fact nor experienced based. Swimmers have always had meet suits as far back as I can remember.

knelson
July 23rd, 2008, 12:22 PM
Swimmers have always had meet suits as far back as I can remember.

That's true, but until recently these meet suits were not that expensive, and by expensive I mean actually making a serious impact on a program's budget.

aquageek
July 23rd, 2008, 12:25 PM
That's true, but until recently these meet suits were not that expensive, and by expensive I mean actually making a serious impact on a program's budget.

True as well.

elise526
July 23rd, 2008, 12:30 PM
True as well.

Swimming is starting to become more like doing triathlons - you have to shell out a bunch of money just to keep up. I think I'll go buy a racing wheel because I can get more mileage out of it than a racing suit. :mooning:

thewookiee
July 23rd, 2008, 12:35 PM
I hope reality hits people that it's the athetes doing well in the suits. I just don't believe these new suits really give people that much of an advantage(exeception...Blue seventy since it has neoprene in the material)

I think they give people a bigger mental advantage which is worth more than any suit.

knelson
July 23rd, 2008, 12:47 PM
I hope reality hits people that it's the athetes doing well in the suits. I just don't believe these new suits really give people that much of an advantage(exeception...Blue seventy since it has neoprene in the material)

The LZR also uses neoprene. The TYR Tracer Rise is coated with polyurethane according to TYR's website.

The Fortress
July 23rd, 2008, 12:50 PM
The LZR also uses neoprene. The TYR Tracer Rise is coated with polyurethane according to TYR's website.

Yeah, I don't think the B70 is faster than the LZR or TYR. I haven't quizzed a lot of people yet, but there still seems to be a LZR preference.

It's not the end of the world if college swimmers have to compete in Pros or whatever until prices come down. As Wookiee notes, they're good athletes and will do well either way.

So, yeah, what Geek said: bunk.

knelson
July 23rd, 2008, 01:02 PM
It's not the end of the world if college swimmers have to compete in Pros or whatever until prices come down. As Wookiee notes, they're good athletes and will do well either way.

True, but there is that mental aspect. Any team who uses a less technologically advanced suit is going to feel they're at a disadvantage.

thewookiee
July 23rd, 2008, 01:03 PM
The LZR also uses neoprene. The TYR Tracer Rise is coated with polyurethane according to TYR's website.

Where is this documented? I haven't been able to find it anywhere.

SLOmmafan
July 23rd, 2008, 01:10 PM
Ultimately the cat is out of the bag (swim bag)! Are we supposed to put the * next to every record set in a non-brief style speedo? What about Jammers vs briefs, or full leg suits vs. full body.

A single wood baseball bat can cost in the $50 - $70 range, with nice bats over $100. What about a football helmet (at least $100 x 50 players). Ultimately we get back to the economics of playing a sport. You will not find many inner-city kids playing polo becuase a horse is not exactly in the budget of the average parent.

Also, I have a general question. Do NCAA programs generally supply swim suits as it is, or do the athletes pay for them? In high school my parents had to fork out the dough when I purchased a Speedo Fast-skin leggings (around $110 at that time). You have student athletes paying $250-300 for a text book, so what is a nice suit worth to you?

knelson
July 23rd, 2008, 01:11 PM
Do NCAA programs generally supply swim suits as it is, or do the athletes pay for them?

Yes. The programs supply the suits.


Where is this documented? I haven't been able to find it anywhere.

Do a Google search for "LZR neoprene" and you'll get all kinds of hits.

Dolphin 2
July 23rd, 2008, 01:23 PM
Actually, couldn't be further from the truth. Tech suits came along before 15 years ago. You have previously stated you have never been a competitive swimmer so your assertions here are not fact nor experienced based. Swimmers have always had meet suits as far back as I can remember.

Hey Aquageek
Your memory must be affected by amnesia. The so called "Meet Suits" were nothing more than commercial off the shelf racing briefs that were sold at all sports stores.

As one other comment suggested, why not put an asterisk next to all the WRs set in tech suits to indicate that the swimmer was in fact "mechanically dopped"? :dedhorse:

Dolphin 2

aquageek
July 23rd, 2008, 01:49 PM
Hey Aquageek
Your memory must be affected by amnesia. The so called "Meet Suits" were nothing more than commercial off the shelf racing briefs that were sold at all sports stores.

By your own admission you've never actually been in a swim meet ever in your life so I don't think you can speak on this topic. I've been buying meet suits since the mid 70s, they weren't expensive but they were meet suits.

I think we should put an asterisk next to any of your posts since time and again you speak on topics that you are unqualified to speak on, most notably competitive swimming.

ViveBene
July 23rd, 2008, 02:26 PM
LOL... I got out of the choppy, heaving lake this a.m. in my Speedo Ultraback "aquatic fitness" suit (black with white piping, to set the picture) and saw my first Blue Seventy! It was a bit hard to miss, being blazoned across the back or rump, or maybe both. After it swaggered across the sand and into the water, an Orca pulled up and asked for help with one of its fins. Water temp and air both in the 70s, a brisk northeast wind blowing - what's not to like? Wetsuit or non may be more of an aesthetic, or mindset, for daily swims (1 to 1.5 miles).

I went about mid-distance; some wetsuits went farther, but many barely got out any distance at all. I began to wonder whether, in a bit of slop, a wetsuit could be a disadvantage for holding the swimmer too much on top, instead of allowing swimmer to get beneath the surface water movement.

Anyway, I am happy. :wave:


I hope reality hits people that it's the athetes doing well in the suits. I just don't believe these new suits really give people that much of an advantage(exeception...Blue seventy since it has neoprene in the material)

I think they give people a bigger mental advantage which is worth more than any suit.

thewookiee
July 23rd, 2008, 02:43 PM
As one other comment suggested, why not put an asterisk next to all the WRs set in tech suits to indicate that the swimmer was in fact "mechanically dopped"? :dedhorse:

[B]Dolphin 2

Then why don't we put an asterisk by all tour de france winners everytime they made a new bike. Why not put one next to all baseball records each time they raise or lower the pitching mound or change bats. Why not put one next to all track and field records each time they make a better running shoe?

Dolphin 2
July 23rd, 2008, 02:49 PM
I hope reality hits people that it's the athetes doing well in the suits. I just don't believe these new suits really give people that much of an advantage(exeception...Blue seventy since it has neoprene in the material)

I think they give people a bigger mental advantage which is worth more than any suit.

The advantage they give is really to the suit manufacturers who now can take credit for the swimmer's success by claiming that he/she won a Gold Medal while wearing their suit.

I remember when pro athletes (such as swimmer Mark Spitz) got their mugs pictured on the Cheerios and Wheaties boxes and they could take credit for their success as being the "Breakfast Of Champions".

As big a pain-in-the-behind as this suit technology thing has become, I've got to admit that it's turned out to be one of the most clever marketing gimmicks of all time and it's making the suit companies big $$$. :applaud:

The bad thing is that there are a lot of your Average Joe swimmers who are burning through their budget to buy one of these hyper-expensive suits. :shakeshead:

Dolphin 2

thewookiee
July 23rd, 2008, 02:55 PM
The LZR also uses neoprene. The TYR Tracer Rise is coated with polyurethane according to TYR's website.


Kirk, I think you may have misread the articles. From the one's I read, they used neoprene as an example of "non-woven" material that maybe used in suits with the new definiton of fabric.

Polyurethane is mentioned in the LZR several times but not neoprene.

aquageek
July 23rd, 2008, 02:55 PM
As big a pain-in-the-behind as this suit technology thing has become, I've got to admit that it's turned out to be one of the most clever marketing gimmicks of all time and it's making the suit companies big $$$.

WHAT???? It is neither new nor original.

Swimming is approximately 25 years behind most other sports. Remember Spike Lee's "It's gotta be the shoes, Money?" Remember Shaq pumping up his Reeboks before the All-Star game? What about Nike and Tiger, Lance and Trek, the list is endless.

Also, since I've actually been to swim meets, I can say that the vast majority of swimmers in tech suits aren't your Average Joe swimmers. If you commit to shelling out the big bucks for one of these you aren't a rec swimmer, nor average in your training or competitiveness. As proof, I offer the elite calibre forumites, who all have tech suits.

thewookiee
July 23rd, 2008, 02:57 PM
The advantage they give is really to the suit manufacturers who now can take credit for the swimmer's success by claiming that he/she won a Gold Medal while wearing their suit.

Dolphin 2


Ever see the swim suit ads in any tri/swimming magazine? Companies have been doing this for years, not a recent development.

knelson
July 23rd, 2008, 02:58 PM
I don't think an asterisk is required, but I do think an organization such as the NCAA should consider more strict rules on what types of suits are allowed for NCAA competition. I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that these suits are here to stay for high level FINA and USA Swimming competition, but that doesn't mean other governing bodies can't do something. Age group, high school and college competition should all be thinking about this.

hofffam
July 23rd, 2008, 03:14 PM
The advantage they give is really to the suit manufacturers who now can take credit for the swimmer's success by claiming that he/she won a Gold Medal while wearing their suit.

I remember when pro athletes (such as swimmer Mark Spitz) got their mugs pictured on the Cheerios and Wheaties boxes and they could take credit for their success as being the "Breakfast Of Champions".

As big a pain-in-the-behind as this suit technology thing has become, I've got to admit that it's turned out to be one of the most clever marketing gimmicks of all time and it's making the suit companies big $$$. :applaud:

The bad thing is that there are a lot of your Average Joe swimmers who are burning through their budget to buy one of these hyper-expensive suits. :shakeshead:

Dolphin 2

I'm quite sure that when they announce medal winners in Beijing they will say "Michael Phelps, USA" not "Michael Phelps and Speedo."

Because all the swimmers will have these suits the achievement is still credited to the athlete - as it should be.

Chris Stevenson
July 23rd, 2008, 03:15 PM
I hope reality hits people that it's the athetes doing well in the suits. I just don't believe these new suits really give people that much of an advantage(exeception...Blue seventy since it has neoprene in the material)

John, whatever it has, the B70 does not feel very buoyant to me. It isn't like wearing a wetsuit (I know Paul Smith feels differently). I have never tried the FS-Pro or LZR so I can't compare. I believe wearing the B70 helped me when I was unshaved/untapered but it wasn't like wearing a jetpack or anything. I think the advantage over shaved skin is small, not huge.

Galen, you can't have it both ways...on the one hand, you have argued that the suits don't help. On the other hand you want to put an asterisk next to the records with the suits.

The impact of the suits on college budgets could be significant if the prices don't fall. (That is one reason I like the B70 over the LZR: cheaper and more durable for roughly the same effect.) The U of Richmond coach voiced a similar concern to me a couple months ago. He isn't worried about losing the program, but conceivably he could lose a scholarship or two if he insisted on getting LZRs for everyone.

The NCAA might want to think about some restrictions, the potential risks of the suits to the sport are possibly greater than the benefits. Same thing at the age group level for USA-S.

hofffam
July 23rd, 2008, 03:17 PM
Kirk, I think you may have misread the articles. From the one's I read, they used neoprene as an example of "non-woven" material that maybe used in suits with the new definiton of fabric.

Polyurethane is mentioned in the LZR several times but not neoprene.

People keep saying neoprene. The Blue Seventy Nero Comp is a lycra suit coated with Yamamoto SCS, a slippery rubber-like substance. But it isn't neoprene. That coating appears to be widely used in competition wetsuits. Google and you shall see.

I don't think the LZR uses neoprene either.

The Fortress
July 23rd, 2008, 03:29 PM
The bad thing is that there are a lot of your Average Joe swimmers who are burning through their budget to buy one of these hyper-expensive suits. :shakeshead:Dolphin 2

How can you possibly know this?

I see no reason an Average Joe swimmer can't buy one if they wish. I have nice running shoes, and I am very slow.

Dolphin 2
July 23rd, 2008, 03:31 PM
The LZR sells for $550, but how much does it really cost to actually make one of these hyped-up tech suits?

When you can buy a sophisticated electronic device such as (an iPod or an iPhone) for at lot less than the price of an LZR, it's quite obvious that Speedo is making a HUGE profit off these suits.

I've seen the inside of a major U.S. garment factory (American Apparel Inc. in downtown Los Angeles) and an LZR couldn't cost more than $15 to make in an automated factory. At $550 retail, they are being marked up by a factor of 36.66. :doh:

Who is the parent company of Speedo? They've got a bigger mark up on their product than the oil companies (that people are always accused of "exploiting capitalism"). Since this tech suit craze has taken off, I'm thinking of buying stock in the company!!! :banana:

Dolphin 2

thewookiee
July 23rd, 2008, 03:32 PM
People keep saying neoprene. The Blue Seventy Nero Comp is a lycra suit coated with Yamamoto SCS, a slippery rubber-like substance. But it isn't neoprene. That coating appears to be widely used in competition wetsuits. Google and you shall see.

I don't think the LZR uses neoprene either.

Ok, I was wrong. The information I was looking at was referring to the PointZero suit. So, I screwed the pouch on this arguement.

Here is one question for the blueseventy fans...are all their waterskins legal for pool use or just the Nero Comp?

knelson
July 23rd, 2008, 03:48 PM
By the way, John, I think you may be correct about the LZR not having neoprene. I've seen lots of discussion saying it does, but nothing on Speedo's site indicates it does.

In fact, when I Googled "lzr neoprene" one of the things that came up was the Wikipedia entry for the LZR. I had to look in the history to find the neoprene refernece. At one time there was a mention that the suit had neoprene, but someone corrected the entry saying that neoprene was not used. Not to say Wikipedia is the definitive source, but I can't find anything reasonably 'official' saying the LZR contains neoprene.

The Fortress
July 23rd, 2008, 03:58 PM
Ok, I was wrong. The information I was looking at was referring to the PointZero suit. So, I screwed the pouch on this arguement.

Here is one question for the blueseventy fans...are all their waterskins legal for pool use or just the Nero Comp?

The Point Zero has been used in the pool by masters.

gull
July 23rd, 2008, 04:00 PM
I see no reason an Average Joe swimmer can't buy one if they wish.


I agree, especially if you consider the amount of time we invest in the sport (both in the pool and on this forum).

An Average Joe may spend several hundred dollars on a single golf club.

aquageek
July 23rd, 2008, 04:19 PM
Dolphin 2 - every time you show up and spout, you expose an increasingly impressive amount of ignorance.

The price of a product is determined by many factors other than the cost of the materials and labor. You have supply and demand, you have advertising costs, you have R & D.

Comparing the price of a garment to a commodity traded on international markets is ridiculous.

You keep saying the tech suit craze like it just happened. Do you know anything about swimming. IT ISN'T NEW. If you've been to a USMS meet in the past decade, you might actually know this. Have you watched the Olympics in your lifetime? You are roughly 20 years late on buying stock.

You have no idea how much profit or loss Speedo is making on these products. I would venture right now they are running a huge loss as they are giving many away and advertising like mad and you can't buy one retail, for the most part.

Lastly, niche market tech suits will never be the profit leader for a swimwear company. It's your run-of-the-mill suit that every single kid on every single team has that drives their profitability.

You really MUST STOP posting erroneous info. I beg of you.

Even if you spend $550 on one of these suits, I still put swimming way towards the bottom of the list of expensive habits.

Midas
July 23rd, 2008, 04:39 PM
Ok, I was wrong. The information I was looking at was referring to the PointZero suit. So, I screwed the pouch on this arguement.

Here is one question for the blueseventy fans...are all their waterskins legal for pool use or just the Nero Comp?

Based on blueseventy's website, it appears that the pointzero3 suits are also made of the Yamamoto SCS fabric (neoprene is not mentioned). And the FINA approval extends to the pointzero3 as well.

For what it's worth, I have one and wore it to Pacific Masters LCM Champs and I can tell you that I went no faster (on a yards conversion basis) in my 200 breaststroke than I did back in April. I did go faster (again, on a yards conversion basis) in my 100 and 50 breaststrokes, but I *think* I can chalk most of that improvement up to better training and the fact that I might be "faster" in a LCM pool (due to having slow turns). The suit didn't really feel heavy to me, though I did get an air/water bubble in the back of it (not that it appeared to slow me down). I did like the suit and will continue wearing it at big meets. I have no real interest in the LZR. I have FS Pro Jammers and can't imagine squeezing into a full body suit made of essentially the same material. The pointzero3 is much more stretchy.

Here's blueseventy's website: http://blueseventy.com/products/detail/pointzero3plus/

Here's an article on the suit from ironman.com (indicating that SCS is a "neoprene-like" material but is compressed so there is no buoyancy): http://ironman.com/events/ironman/worldchampionship/blue-seventys-fast-speed-suit-will-be-worn-by-many-competitors-here-in-kona

Jazz Hands
July 23rd, 2008, 05:15 PM
You have no idea how much profit or loss Speedo is making on these products. I would venture right now they are running a huge loss as they are giving many away and advertising like mad and you can't buy one retail, for the most part.

I think it's a loss leader for them. Notice all the publicity around the LZR. Speedo is getting their brand associated with high performance and technical excellence.

hofffam
July 23rd, 2008, 05:15 PM
Even if it were neoprene - no big deal. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber. It is used to make fabrics waterproof (like inflatable boats).

When used in wetsuits it is "foamed" so it traps air and creates thermal insulation (the primary purpose of a wetsuit). A by-product, not always desirable, is flotation.

On the profit issue. I bet Speedo's out the door manufacturing costs are not close to the retail price. High end sporting goods (tennis, golf, etc.) are commonly marked up 100% at retail. The LZR is new so Speedo probably is capitalizing on the publicity and may also be motivated to recover R&D costs. NASA ain't free.

I don't think the comparison to an iPhone is appropriate. It's true cost is far higher because AT&T subsidizes it (as they do with all phones). It is also mass produced in an overseas factory, priced to sell in 7 figure quantities. Apple hopes to sell 10M iPhones this year.

I happen to believe (with no proof) that the profit in a $550 suit must be significant. But if the B70 and Tracer are equivalent at $150 less, many people will buy the others. I can afford a LZR but won't buy one. I might buy a B70 next spring.

aquageek
July 23rd, 2008, 05:20 PM
I think it's a loss leader for them. Notice all the publicity around the LZR. Speedo is getting their brand associated with high performance and technical excellence.

Good point. I've wondered if some Speedo flunkie has trolled this thread and just marveled at all the free pub they get.

SwimStud
July 23rd, 2008, 05:43 PM
Good point. I've wondered if some Speedo flunkie has trolled this thread and just marveled at all the free pub they get.

If they haven't they've missed a great market segment: Yesteryears fading stars clutching to their former glory by shelling out a mortgage payment to go .001 faster, and look 30lbs thinner!

OK humour aside, I think they would have noticed. Many masters are good earners with the $ to spend on a recreation whether it's golf, bowling tennis or swimming. Why not get some money away from Joe/Josephine's iron and wood collection and make him/her spend it on a suit?

gobears
July 23rd, 2008, 07:40 PM
15 to 20 years ago, if you needed a swim suit (-IE- a pair of briefs), all you did was run down to Macys and pick up one for $12 and that was it. College and high school athletic departments could buy them wholesale for $9 each.

Back then, the suit was just a minor issue and no one paid any attention to the brand of suit the swimmers wore.

??? Really? In college ('84-'88) we wore nylon suits for practice and special paper suits for meets. Exclusively Speedo and provided for us. That was over 20 years ago. In high-school we wore Finals lycra team suits for meets and nylon training suits for practice ('80-'84). My USS team suit (nylon for practice and special lycra for meets) was Arena. They came out with some kind of special rubber type suit I wore to one CIF meet my Junior year of high-school. That was 25 years ago.

Lycra suits came out when I was swimming summer-league at about age 11 or 12. I never once went to Macy's to get one. We went to the sporting goods store to choose from the 2-3 major brands. Wearing a special kind of suit for meets has been a common practice in the swimming world for awhile now...