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View Full Version : IMO: all the tech suits hype



humanpunchingbag
June 10th, 2009, 03:18 PM
I know I am new here and, from reading the forum here I am obviously hopelessly out of date with regards to competitive swimming.Nearly thirty years away and I guess things really have changed. One point I really do have to make though: I really cannot believe that the whole "tech suit" issue is not just a lot of hype with a wee bit of truth at the bottom of the barrell.

While I have not been back into competition very long, I did the requisite ten years as a "swim parent" until my daughter came to the conclusion that too much chlorine makes a pretty girl very dull. I saw the "tech suits" come and I really did not see a huge benefit to the few age group swimmers that sprang for them. Mediocre swimmers merely became marginally better mediocre swimmers.

Rather than investing 2 to 300 dollars on a tech suit, they would have been far better off investing the same amount of money with a certified stroke coach and get 6 weeks of remedial stroke correction. Their strokes would have improved, dragging their times along with them and they would not have become dependant on an expensive piece of technology that could be stolen or tear at any time.

Just sit a watch an age group meet sometime: the great swimmers with beautiful stokes will dominate every swim regardless of what they are wearing, while the splash and hackers will still pull up the rear with their full body black beauty.

Swimming remains a technical sport with a moderate to substantial amount of cardio requirements. If we start giving credit to swim suits instead of skill, we cheapen the entire sport. I still remember the 1982 NAIA Nationals where one swimmer with absolutely perfect strokes (for the time) blew us all out of the water easily, doing personal bests for every event, without any shave down or much of a taper. His eyes were on NCAA Nationals two weeks later. He just was that much better than us and he did not need any enhancements to beat us.

I believe Mr. Phelps would still dominate nearly everyone with or without a tech suit. It seems to me that he does not race with a full body suit and I doubt that just leggings makes much of a difference.

lefty
June 10th, 2009, 05:07 PM
I am not sure what you are saying here, but if you are saying that great swimmers are great swimmers you are 100% right. If you are saying that tech suits do not make one faster you are 100% wrong.

orca1946
June 10th, 2009, 07:00 PM
I have been swimming since 14 in HS & at 63 still get the thrill @ the block & winning!! The tech suit I swim in at state was a help in the longer distances , but not the sprints. I am beaten by others who swam faster b4 tech suits & i am still beaten by them now??!!

Allen Stark
June 10th, 2009, 10:21 PM
The pre-FS Pro tech suits were possible better than shaved skin.The latest generation are definitely faster.It is hard to tell how much faster as that varies,but 1-2 sec/100 yd is not unreasonable to expect.I have seen some swimmers drop 2 sec/50.

humanpunchingbag
June 11th, 2009, 12:21 AM
The pre-FS Pro tech suits were possible better than shaved skin.The latest generation are definitely faster.It is hard to tell how much faster as that varies,but 1-2 sec/100 yd is not unreasonable to expect.I have seen some swimmers drop 2 sec/50.

And I guess that is how I know I am out of date: 1 to 2 seconds per 100 yards seems completely amazing to me. If that is true, then I would have to suggest that the hi-tech suits should be banned: I can guarantee you that improvements like that are easily better than a swimmer would get from cranking on steroids. If the suits represent that much of an advantage, then they are exactly comparable to fins and paddles.

To me, a guy who swam many of my first swim meets in home-made swim suits (big family on a budget), I find it sad that a rich kid with an unlimitted budget for high tech suits and mediocre swim skills should be able to beat out a poor kid with a nylon suit and tons of talent. Sounds to me like it has become Ok to buy a championship.

some_girl
June 11th, 2009, 09:42 AM
The pre-FS Pro tech suits were possible better than shaved skin.The latest generation are definitely faster.It is hard to tell how much faster as that varies,but 1-2 sec/100 yd is not unreasonable to expect.I have seen some swimmers drop 2 sec/50.

In circumstances where the suit is the only possible explanation? I know I dropped lots of time when I switched from an FS2 to a Pro, but then again, I got faster in practice too, so I am only giving the suit half the credit, if that.

The Fortress
June 11th, 2009, 10:33 AM
And I guess that is how I know I am out of date: 1 to 2 seconds per 100 yards seems completely amazing to me. If that is true, then I would have to suggest that the hi-tech suits should be banned: I can guarantee you that improvements like that are easily better than a swimmer would get from cranking on steroids. If the suits represent that much of an advantage, then they are exactly comparable to fins and paddles.

To me, a guy who swam many of my first swim meets in home-made swim suits (big family on a budget), I find it sad that a rich kid with an unlimitted budget for high tech suits and mediocre swim skills should be able to beat out a poor kid with a nylon suit and tons of talent. Sounds to me like it has become Ok to buy a championship.

What a flip flop. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between? The suits are faster, yes, but, as some girl points out, there are other factors involved in time drops. Read this: http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/21308.asp?q=Record%20Evolution:%20It%20May%20Not%2 0All%20Be%20In%20the%20Suit. Do we really need to go back in time 20 years?

And who says a "mediocre" swimmer can't own a tech suit? I find this constant harping on this point tiresome. Most age group swimmers are not going to nationals. We need to keep the non-elite swimmers motivated and happy as well -- whether it's USA-S or masters. Here's a comment from Dennis Baker, a tech suit fan (thought they don't appear to effect his times much), that I think is very true:

The [tech] suits have energized the lower and middle level swimmers to want to continue to swim harder and longer that is a fact. This has been a problem for USA swimming for many many years to keep these kids motivated and participate. Many of my non swimming friends and general public are watching swimming more that is a fact. More money for Swimming all the way around. If the Big Bertha driver helps me hit a 300 yard drive so be it I will play more, but I will never beat Tiger, same with a lot of tech stuff in sports. Energize the middle group, which is the biggest and you will thrive. The over reaction to the records being broken is too much. Hard work and genetics will always rule in sport no matter the tech. The records will level out."

pwolf66
June 11th, 2009, 11:02 AM
The pre-FS Pro tech suits were possible better than shaved skin.The latest generation are definitely faster.It is hard to tell how much faster as that varies,but 1-2 sec/100 yd is not unreasonable to expect.I have seen some swimmers drop 2 sec/50.

Again, if this was true (not saying it isn't but) then how come people aren't destroying distance records?

Allen Stark
June 11th, 2009, 11:25 AM
Again, if this was true (not saying it isn't but) then how come people aren't destroying distance records?

I am not sure.It maybe that they help some events more and some body types more.I think they also help more in mid-season meets than taper meets.

FindingMyInnerFish
June 11th, 2009, 11:27 AM
Tech suits are beyond my budget now, but I don't begrudge anyone using them for racing. When I run in races, some folks have much higher tech shoes than I do, and use Garmin Forerunners while I use a basic stopwatch. Some runners even invest in high altitude tents. Hey whatever gets you going!

I might well try out some of the higher-tech gear for swimming or running if I can afford it, but not having it doesn't diminish what I get out of either sport, and I don't feel deprived without it. I enjoy the competition mainly with my previous efforts, b/c I'm unlikely to be a serious contender for top places.

No worries. I'm in it for fun and getting a good workout and seeing what I can do. The rest is icing on the cake!

If you can afford the icing, have it and enjoy it! :)

ande
June 11th, 2009, 12:40 PM
Tech suits aren't hype, the effect isn't mental, they give swimmers

1) floatation,

2) compression, and

3) a firmer slicker surface than loose bare shaved skin.

When swimmers wear tech suits, they often move faster through the water.
Swimmers take fewer strokes per length.

Time improvements vary between swimmers and the type of suit they wear.

To me, improving my 100 by a second or two per is worth 1, 2, 3 or 4 hundred bucks. Not sure if I want to pay $550 for a fragile suit with a faulty zipper.

Tip 201 Which Suit Suits you? More info On Racing Suits

From my personal tests in practice and meets, I think
jammers are better than briefs,
legskins are better than jammers &
full body tech suits are better than legskins.

Heavier and older swimmers greatly benefit from suits that compress.
Breastrokers benefit from suits that float to help them glide further & faster so they can spend more time streamlined.

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Mens LegSkins (http://tinyurl.com/25hzh4)


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