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View Full Version : Coaches trying to get LEN and FINA to ban the Blue Seventy



thewookiee
December 1st, 2008, 04:03 PM
http://www.swimnews.com/News/view/6562

About time to ban this wetsuit.

Redbird Alum
December 1st, 2008, 04:24 PM
...and many complained about the LAZR prior to the Olympics, but history cannot be rewritten.

Since they have already (by the report) used this suit in competitions where swimmers have broken records, are they also suggesting that those records are now in question? I did not read anything about that in the article.

Doug Adamavich
December 1st, 2008, 04:31 PM
This all seems very strange to me. Blue Seventy has developed a superior product, all this from a relatively small company in New Zealand. Their suits are FINA-approved (mine had the FINA logo on it) within the rules set by it. I see this akin to what triathlon and other sports went through years ago. Look at the equipment those athletes have to purchase and the advances in materials over the years.

From the outside this is curious to observe, a small upstart starts taking it to the established players in the market. This upsets many and some walk-off in a huff, others hurry to get FINA to protect them. Not naming names but we can fill in the blanks. This is healthy and a product of innovation, which is something human beings are good at.

I can see where one could argue, from an economic standpoint, that limiting/banning/restricting performance suits in High School, Age Group, and College swimming is a wise move. That seems a reasonable approach given the fragile state of (primarily men's) collegiate swimming these days. But on an international level with top-notch athletes backed by their national swimming federations it seems unduly restrictive.

Plus, on a masters level, if you can afford to swim several months out of the year and travel to Nationals, you can put down $317 for a Blue Seventy Nero Comp. That's not even a set of tires for most cars...

Anyway, technological innovation with gear is a fact of life. We can enjoy the benefits of it, when appropriate as stated above, or not. So long as competition is open and access to equipment is not unduly restricted, I say let innovation continue.

In the end, you have to move your arms and kick you legs. The suit can't swim the race for you...

The Fortress
December 1st, 2008, 04:46 PM
What, you don't feel like you're sitting on a "knife's edge," Doug?

Completely agree with your sentiments. Maybe Speedo is underwriting the effort to ban the B70s ...

hofffam
December 1st, 2008, 04:50 PM
That article contains some silly statements.

Neoprene is a synthetic rubber. Only when it is used in a foamed form does it provide flotation. Neoprene used in wetsuits is foam. Whatever substance is used in the B70 is not foamed. It is a coating over lycra or lycra-like fabric.

I happen to believe the B70 DOES provide a small amount of flotation - but not because the suit itself floats. I think the suit's rubber coating traps a small amount of air in the lycra fabric. I think the LZR has a similar property - but the LZR doesn't coat all of the fabric - just specific sections.

(I have a B70 and used it for the first time two weeks ago)

ehoch
December 1st, 2008, 04:54 PM
OK - let's get this right. Coaches are trying to get LEN to ban the suit - NOT LEN trying to get FINA to ban.

This just seems very silly - so the LZR and whatever Arena now has are fine - but the Blue70 is the bad guy ? I have worn both and while they are different - they appear to be equally "fast".

This guy Craig Lord is really over the top on the entire issue - "The future of the sport and its survival as a serious player in international sport now depends on it."

pwb
December 1st, 2008, 05:44 PM
That article contains some silly statements.
I happen to believe the B70 DOES provide a small amount of flotation

Agreed. I certainly felt some float the first time I wore it, but it was also the first time I wore a full body suit so I have no basis for comparison.


This all seems very strange to me. Blue Seventy has developed a superior product, all this from a relatively small company in New Zealand ... From the outside this is curious to observe, a small upstart starts taking it to the established players in the market. This upsets many and some walk-off in a huff, others hurry to get FINA to protect them.

This sounds sooo similar to so many business stories out there. Big companies are always threatened by more nimble & more innovative competitors.


Anyway, technological innovation with gear is a fact of life.

Absolutely ... remember when we only had nylon suits and then came lycra and then those magical "paper suits?" How about fog-free goggles so you could actually see who you were racing at the end of the mile? How about even goggles in the first place?

Think also about the evolution of training gear that benefits our performance, but doesn't appear "in the pool" on competition day.

Innovation is the lifeblood of progress ...

quicksilver
December 1st, 2008, 05:54 PM
Maybe Speedo is underwriting the effort to ban the B70s ...

Speedo is the Microsoft of swimming.

ande
December 1st, 2008, 07:53 PM
what great advertising for blue seventy

right now nero comps are legal

Swimmers need to wear the suit that allows the to swim the best possible times

Allen Stark
December 1st, 2008, 09:21 PM
I have both a LZR and a Nero Comp.I definitely feel more flotation from the Nero.All the tech suits from the FS-I on provide flotation,B-70 just found a way to do it better.

Blackbeard's Peg
December 1st, 2008, 10:48 PM
I am, and will probably always be, skeptical about the suit. Clay Britt bought one and tested it out at a meet over the summer. I was with him as he took it out of the box for the first time and the thing smelled exactly like my Ironman Instinct wetsuit, which was the comment from every one of us who was with him. He then nearly broke the m45-49 50 back record and came pretty close to the 100 - not bad for having decided to swim the meet just that morning (this was a deck-enter only meet) and training ~1500 3-4x a month.

This goes for the LZR as well.

As long as there are plenty of stories like this, as well those who are dropping ridiculous amounts of time in a manner of weeks without shaving and/or tapering, I will continue my skepticism and support of both the b70s and LZRs being banned.

david.margrave
December 2nd, 2008, 01:23 AM
I have an fs2 legskin for meets and have kind of ignored all the hype about more advanced full body suits. I'm tempted by the B70 but I've heard stories about how hard it is to get into them, stories about them ripping apart on the starting block, etc. Seems like a pain. Also, I'm not in this to try to swim faster than anyone else, just to beat my old times. And I didn't have a B70 back in H.S.

As to the whole business about records, why stop with the suits if you're going to get into that argument? Without even considering the suits, various rule changes like turns, extra kicks, etc. are not fair to the prior record holders.

CreamPuff
December 2nd, 2008, 09:02 AM
Peg is on to something here.
In getting closer to records or even breaking them (like the regional records), it's really not very satisfying to me personally knowing that the old record was swum by someone who did NOT have a B70/ LZR. I'm sort of like, "eh." And so is my family! LOL

However, that being said, I can say that my favorite situation is swimming USS where we are all doing the same set, in the same manner, in poly suits. And that is about 95% of my swimming experience. My only major disadvantage is that I'm 16+ years older than my competition.

At least I have choice in this sport as to how I set up my racing situations! My greatest moments of satisfaction have taken place in practice and not in meets w/ the B70 - at least thus far!



I am, and will probably always be, skeptical about the suit. Clay Britt bought one and tested it out at a meet over the summer. I was with him as he took it out of the box for the first time and the thing smelled exactly like my Ironman Instinct wetsuit, which was the comment from every one of us who was with him. He then nearly broke the m45-49 50 back record and came pretty close to the 100 - not bad for having decided to swim the meet just that morning (this was a deck-enter only meet) and training ~1500 3-4x a month.

This goes for the LZR as well.

As long as there are plenty of stories like this, as well those who are dropping ridiculous amounts of time in a manner of weeks without shaving and/or tapering, I will continue my skepticism and support of both the b70s and LZRs being banned.

Chris Stevenson
December 2nd, 2008, 09:29 AM
Well, I don't see a fundamental difference between B70s or other high-tech suits.

I don't like the "arms race" and would be happy if they banned anything bigger than jammers for men. I don't know how they'd handle women's suits.

But I would be suprised if it ever happened.

Comparison to older times is skewed, but the same thing happens when they change rules; changing the backstroke flip-turn rules had a bigger effect IMO (I once estimated about 0.5 sec per turn, for me). Eventually almost everyone is wearing new suits and things settle down.

Redbird Alum
December 2nd, 2008, 10:49 AM
Comparison to older times is skewed, but the same thing happens when they change rules; changing the backstroke flip-turn rules had a bigger effect IMO (I once estimated about 0.5 sec per turn, for me). Eventually almost everyone is wearing new suits and things settle down.

I've said this elsewhere, but it's worth repeating...

Changing stroke mechanics (technique or turns) is far different than changing equipment.

That said, I agree that records comparisons are irrelevant when either mechanics or equipment changes substantially. My earlier reference in this thread to records was that since the B70 has already been used to set new records legally, it would be very difficult to get that horse back into the barn.

Chris Stevenson
December 2nd, 2008, 11:20 AM
I've said this elsewhere, but it's worth repeating...

Changing stroke mechanics (technique or turns) is far different than changing equipment.

My point was just that abrupt drops in times, for whatever reason, eventually get smoothed over.

I'm not a big fan of the suits and I see your point. But the change in backstroke turns was pretty dramatic, especially in the short courses (25y and 25m) and amounted to instant and "free" speed. I was a masters swimmer at the time and dropped 3 seconds in the 200 back between meets that were 1 month apart. (I remember how tiring that 7th backstroke turn could be with the old turns...I never get that now with the current turns.)

But it didn't cost anything and was accessible to all, and it is also a learned skill. (Of course, it also didn't make anyone any money...but that's my cynical side surfacing.)

On the other hand, I'll never forgive them for eliminating the stand-up starts, which I still miss.

pwb
December 2nd, 2008, 12:18 PM
On the other hand, I'll never forgive them for eliminating the stand-up starts, which I still miss.

I miss those so much!!

Redbird Alum
December 2nd, 2008, 12:56 PM
But it didn't cost anything and was accessible to all, and it is also a learned skill. (Of course, it also didn't make anyone any money...but that's my cynical side surfacing.)

On the other hand, I'll never forgive them for eliminating the stand-up starts, which I still miss.

I agree with your cynical side in this case... and I also miss the stand-ups for backstroke. That was a rare instance of allowing a technique change for a short period which was later rescinded.

ehoch
December 2nd, 2008, 05:38 PM
Something puzzles me in this discussion about the Blue 70 --

You are able to glide further / faster underwater with the suit -- I think Rich did a test and he got an extra 4 feet - I have done this as well and I got an extra 3 feet. Also - for some reason the Breaststroker seem to get more benefit (maybe because they are under water longer ?).

So it feels like you are floating higher and that is the argument by the coaches. Why would you be able to go further underwater if there is a flotation aid by the suit ?

I did some push-offs today - 3 of them with maximum lung capacity and 3 of them without 1/2 (the max makes you float much more) - I ended up within 1 foot on all of them.

imspoiled
December 3rd, 2008, 09:47 AM
Did anyone else pick up on this line in the letter (it was in all caps, so hard to miss), "THE BLUE SEVENTY SWIMSUIT IS USING NEOPRENE WHICH IS NOT ALLOWED IN OLYMPIC SWIMMING".

The Blueseventy WAS allowed in Olympic swimming. It was not seen as often as the LZR, but it was there.

Is the SCS fabric really so much different than the polyurathane that Speedo and Tyr are using the the LZR and the Tracer Rise?

TomP
December 3rd, 2008, 04:32 PM
Hi,

It looks like this noose is tightening a bit more.

Unfortunately it is in a very ambiguous way. (see below)

As posted at SwimNews dot com
"
Dutch Take Action On Suits
Dec 3, 2008
Craig Lord
http://view.atdmt.com/DEN/view/116883858/direct/01/ (http://clk.atdmt.com/DEN/go/116883858/direct/01/)
Jacco Verhaeren, Technical Director of the Royal Dutch Swimming Federation (KNZB), is to enforce swim suit checks at the upcoming Swim Cup, an event that serves as a qualification meet for Rome 2009 for the Dutch and also marks the swansong of a man soon to pass into legend and lore, Pieter van den Hoogenband.
In a notice posted on the Dutch federation website, Verhaeren says that he intends to impose suit checks in order to protect athletes at a time when debate about technology rages and in the face of the proliferation of "fast suits" that would not necessarily be recognised by officials. In the absence of any official list of approved suits for use by coaches and officials, the Dutch director's actions show the way forward for meets around the world at a time when FINA President Mustapha Larfaoui has presided over the biggest foul up of the decade.
Verhaeren, the man behind Hoogie's success and the resurgence of Dutch women as a winning world relay force, has added a "swimsuit
paragraph" to the meet conditions and swimmers have been informed that anyone who makes a time for Rome 2009 relays must submit themselves for suit inspection. A
photograph and a note will be made of the brand of suit used.
“Because of the possibility that swimming in one or another swimming suit
can make a difference, it’s possible that the qualification can
be dishonest," says Verhaeren on the website of the
Royal Dutch Swimming Federation. "The standards which have been set would normally guarantee selection for [world-class meets]. Arriving at the start of a race with significantly faster material possibly undermines this quality guarantee. It can also have an impact on the ranking of athletes, which is important
in the procedure.”
His words add yet another world-class coach and leading federation to the chorus of complaint being send loud and clear to FINA: stop the tech war now boiling in the pool and get back to a place where the suit does not change the result - as it most certainly is doing right now.
Verhaeren indicates that he has no way of knowing the extent to which one suit has the edge on another or to what extent wearing multiple suits is affecting the performance of individuals. He indicates that he may well take action on the wearing of types and numbers of suits at a later stage in the season, saying: “I regret having to take this action but it seems necessary for honest qualification at this moment. Judging by the international discussion and developments at this moment, it has not been ruled out that the measures we are taking will not have to be taken internationally at some stage in the future."
Bravo for Verhaeren and the Netherlands. What a mess for the sport of swimming. We trust that Mr Larfaoui is listening and preparing himself to take decisive action. We trust that he is sitting up late at night and contemplating the health and welfare of swimmers and the sport over which he supposedly governs. We trust that he is talking to a wide audience of people. We trust he is not simply waiting to hear what suit makers have to say (though some have some important things to tell him about ruined relationships and contracts that lie in tatters with strips of cloth on the factory floor). We trust that he is looking down from his VIP seat and resolving to end the crisis engulfing the sport of swimming. Anything short of that will surely make his position untenable by the time the Bureau meets in March."

My question is "what suit does one wear if one is a Dutch swimmer, to not be too fast?"

Dumb idea, at a time when everyone who matters has access to fast suits.

Tom

gull
December 4th, 2008, 03:11 PM
So the idea is to ban any suit faster than an LZR?

I believe that the improvements in suit design will begin to level off. Look, there were no real innovations in racing suits for decades. What we're seeing now is an application of technology which has been long overdue.

The Fortress
December 4th, 2008, 04:08 PM
I believe that the improvements in suit design will begin to level off. Look, there were no real innovations in racing suits for decades. What we're seeing now is an application of technology which has been long overdue.

This might be the single most intelligent thing that's been said on the tech suit issue.

Dolphin 2
December 4th, 2008, 04:23 PM
Since the suit makers seem to be intent on "pushing th envelope" on the purported capabilties of tech suits, just as a pre-emptive move, coaches should be looking to impose a ban on outboard engines as well. :bouncing:

Dolphin 2
December 4th, 2008, 04:29 PM
So the idea is to ban any suit faster than an LZR?

I believe that the improvements in suit design will begin to level off. Look, there were no real innovations in racing suits for decades. What we're seeing now is an application of technology which has been long overdue.

Any measurable advantage from tech suits is just from the "girdling" (body compression) effect. As for the "technology" I guess Playtex (long time maker of girdles and bras) could be considered a technology company too. :D

However, I don't see it (or Speedo, Nike, Adidas, etc.) listed on the NASDAQ Technology stock listing along with Intel, AMD, Apple, Microsoft, Boeing, etc.

Redbird Alum
December 4th, 2008, 05:03 PM
Any measurable advantage from tech suits is just from the "girdling" (body compression) effect...

I believe this is incorrect. There are issues with flotation and water resistance that are also making themselves apparent.

aquageek
December 4th, 2008, 05:14 PM
Any measurable advantage from tech suits is just from the "girdling" (body compression) effect. As for the "technology" I guess Playtex (long time maker of girdles and bras) could be considered a technology company too. :D

However, I don't see it (or Speedo, Nike, Adidas, etc.) listed on the NASDAQ Technology stock listing along with Intel, AMD, Apple, Microsoft, Boeing, etc.

I haven't seen such a public display of ignorance or humiliation since Geek 9:27.

TomP
December 4th, 2008, 08:40 PM
Hi,

Meanwhile over at SwimNews.com, Craig Lord is just in a tizzy over tech-suits. He turns out an article per week minimum proclaiming that they threaten the future of swimming itself as a sport..........ugh.

His latest is to essentially label the "old guard" of companies like Speedo, TYR and Nike as the good guys. He then loves to paint any company from triathlon (Blue Seventy, Rocket science Sports) as just this side of evil.

For his latest rant click here http://swimnews.com/News/view/6576

At least he's passionate, just a bit too over the top IMO.

Tom

Chris Stevenson
December 5th, 2008, 08:50 AM
Meanwhile over at SwimNews.com, Craig Lord is just in a tizzy over tech-suits. He turns out an article per week minimum proclaiming that they threaten the future of swimming itself as a sport..........ugh.

His latest is to essentially label the "old guard" of companies like Speedo, TYR and Nike as the good guys. He then loves to paint any company from triathlon (Blue Seventy, Rocket science Sports) as just this side of evil.

For his latest rant click here http://swimnews.com/News/view/6576

At least he's passionate, just a bit too over the top IMO.

He makes a few good points but definitely oversells it. I basically lost interest halfway through and skimmed the rest. "Less is more" is definitely a lesson he needs to learn.

I don't really like all of these suits and would be happy if they go away. But I disagree vehemantly with Lord about this distinction between "old guard" companies who deal with the swimming community in "good faith," and the triathlete-focused companies.

The goal of any of these body suits -- from legskins to the LZR and B70 to full-blown wetsuits -- is to increase speed. If B70s are becoming more popular than LZRs it is because they are a better product: comparable gains in speed at a lower price and with a longer lifetime. Speedo and its apologists just need to stop whining and do a better job.

To paint swimmers as somehow ethically superior to triathletes is just plain wrong. If you want to buy speed, that's fine, just be (wo)man enough to admit it.

I have hung out with enough triathletes to get a pretty good sense of their (sometimes obsessive) focus on gear, and I see the exact same attitude now among swimmers who are comparing the different equipment (suits) they can buy to go faster.

When you start talking about swimmers wearing TWO of these suits to go faster -- close to $1000 of short-lived equipment -- well, that EASILY matches anything I've ever heard from a triathlete. At least their equipment tends to last; my carbon-fiber bike is still doing just fine after 5 years.

Lord lambasts B70s for making many swimmers feel more buoyant...almost every swimmer I have spoken to who has worn a Speedo techsuit, from the FSI through the LZR, also reports feeling more buoyant. But Speedo are the good guys, so that's okay?

The Fortress
December 5th, 2008, 11:48 AM
Nice rant, Chris!

I love tech suits, but I am not thrilled with the 2 suit phenomenon. The rules say "swimsuit," and I wish it would be interpreted that way.

Saw B70s on sale for the first time at a USA meet. LZRs too of course, but I've seen those before. It'll be interesting to see what swimmers are wearing at finals tonight.

Ken Classen
December 5th, 2008, 12:42 PM
If it's currently legal why would a coach care what suit there swimmer wore especially if they just broke a couple of world records. Which does indeed suggests there is something else going on here. A good journalist would start calling coaches who support a ban on this specific product and a ask these questions; 1. Do you currently have contract with swim wear company? and if yes 2. Who is that company?