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View Full Version : What's worse - the Suits or the Response ?



ehoch
June 25th, 2009, 01:34 PM
OK - the "Suits" started the whole thing, so you can say that FINA and the manufacturers are responsible for the entire mess. But, there are ways to handle a situation without creating this silly mess. If you ever read Swimnews, the author Craig Lord, basically makes the suits out to be the devil and he is the Spanish inquisition. Why can't they just voice their opinion and then move on for the good of the sport.

Most main stream journallists have no idea about suits, records and all of that - they take their stories from the coaches and swimmers. The more the coaches and swimmers complain the worse the public, non-swimming perception will be - it's that simple. How about just saying - "I would prefer for the suits to changed - but Worlds are swimmer against swimmer - everybody can wear whatever suit they want and they are all available. In the end it comes down to the swimmer not the suit."

Michael Phelps was not world athlete of the year in 2008, not just because of the suits, but because of all the talk about them !

L'Equipe is now banning any record note in their newspaper and I am sure the coverage of Worlds will be terrible. Well - they are French, but it's still a big blow to the sport.

I don't read speed skaters complaining about a new track being the fastest in the world - they can only set records in certain places. I don't see the track cyclists making a huge affair out of a new faster cycling track that allows athletes to blow away all the records. I did not see the outrage when they changed the backstroke turn rule - how much is that in a 200 back ? About a second ? How much faster is allowing a dolphin kick off the wall in Breast ? How much faster is allowing in regular Breaststroke to put your head underwater ??

I think there has to be a way to discuss it and not make it take over the sport -- by the way, I am actually against the suits, I would love for them to go back to regular suits. But at the same time, I also embrace new technology, I have a Blue 70 and a LZR.

knelson
June 25th, 2009, 01:43 PM
I did not see the outrage when they changed the backstroke turn rule

Yes, but every example you cited affected all swimmers equally. Not so with the suits--especially when you can't get your hands on a suit that others can. Heck, didn't this happen to you last summer with the LZR?

ehoch
June 25th, 2009, 02:05 PM
You are quite correct - but I am talking about the elite for Worlds and the press -- at Worlds I think we can assume that every medal contender will be able to wear any allowed suit. I also think the - different suits affect people in a different way is overblown. I am sure the backstroke rule affected some people more than others -- some people already did a version of the new turn before it was allowed.

Swimming is a small sport - you can not allow something like the suits to take over the sport -- ok, outlaw them through a Coaches resolution and all of that - but right now, everybody should be talking about Phelps going under 50 or trying to guess his events next month.

The Fortress
June 25th, 2009, 02:25 PM
OK - the "Suits" started the whole thing, so you can say that FINA and the manufacturers are responsible for the entire mess. But, there are ways to handle a situation without creating this silly mess. If you ever read Swimnews, the author Craig Lord, basically makes the suits out to be the devil and he is the Spanish inquisition. Why can't they just voice their opinion and then move on for the good of the sport.

Most main stream journallists have no idea about suits, records and all of that - they take their stories from the coaches and swimmers. The more the coaches and swimmers complain the worse the public, non-swimming perception will be - it's that simple. How about just saying - "I would prefer for the suits to changed - but Worlds are swimmer against swimmer - everybody can wear whatever suit they want and they are all available. In the end it comes down to the swimmer not the suit."

Michael Phelps was not world athlete of the year in 2008, not just because of the suits, but because of all the talk about them !

L'Equipe is now banning any record note in their newspaper and I am sure the coverage of Worlds will be terrible. Well - they are French, but it's still a big blow to the sport.

I don't read speed skaters complaining about a new track being the fastest in the world - they can only set records in certain places. I don't see the track cyclists making a huge affair out of a new faster cycling track that allows athletes to blow away all the records. I did not see the outrage when they changed the backstroke turn rule - how much is that in a 200 back ? About a second ? How much faster is allowing a dolphin kick off the wall in Breast ? How much faster is allowing in regular Breaststroke to put your head underwater ??

I think there has to be a way to discuss it and not make it take over the sport -- by the way, I am actually against the suits, I would love for them to go back to regular suits. But at the same time, I also embrace new technology, I have a Blue 70 and a LZR.

The French always take a pounding on this forum ...

The response is far worse. I'm inclined to think FINA should have drawn the line at LZR/B70 and not approved the Jaked, X-Glide and other uber combo suits ... at least not so hastily and in the absence of valid scientific analysis. The Jaked seemed to have really kicked off a furor.

I thought Phelps and those under Speedo contracts had to wear LZR at Worlds even though it's slower than these other suits? Not so? And didn't Mr. Lord-Savonarola assert that the uber suits would not be available to all because manufacturing may lag behind demand?

knelson
June 25th, 2009, 03:00 PM
I thought Phelps and those under Speedo contracts had to wear LZR at Worlds even though it's slower than these other suits? Not so?

I would assume this depends on the wording of their contracts. Yes, one would think they'd be required to wear Speedo suits in competition. Hard to really say "no fair" about this, though. Nobody's making them take the money from Speedo, TYR or whoever they're endorsing.

Chris Stevenson
June 25th, 2009, 03:02 PM
The response is far worse. I'm inclined to think FINA should have drawn the line at LZR/B70 and not approved the Jaked, X-Glide and other uber combo suits ... at least not so hastily and in the absence of valid scientific analysis. The Jaked seemed to have really kicked off a furor.

I agree that the response is terrible but I wonder if reasoning like this "line drawing" business is part of the reason. Here is my own guess at what happened.

FINA made up these thickness and buoyancy numbers and added some vague language about air trapping.

But some people -- possibly including the testers themselves? -- didn't like the fact that the "almost completely impermeable suits" like Jaked and B70 passed the thickness/buoyancy tests. So they decided to use the air trapping thing to eliminate them, somewhat subjectively.

Unfortunately it was an argument that probably couldn't hold water (pun intended) in court and so they backed off.

I have a strong intuition that material permeability is only very weakly related to the ability of a suit to trap air. Much more important is the cut of the suit. The reason: I believe that air diffusion through the suit itself is pretty slow even for "permeable" materials like lycra, compared to egress by other means. (Verify for yourself if you like...a crude experiment involves a volunteer and a bowl of beans...)

Generally, I believe trapped air will be displaced by water if it has an easy way to leave the suit...generally not through the material itself, however. Jammers (of any material) will trap the least air, followed by leggings, followed by body suits.

The long, probably expensive "pseudo-scientific" screening method has been farcical. What they need are a small number of simple tests following well-established and public guidelines. (Personally I like the idea of testing thickness & buoyancy.) Then limit the suit coverage (knees to navel for men, pelvis-neck for women works for me) and step back. Suit makers would have simple and predictable guidelines to follow.

The whole "permeability" thing is a red herring. Are they worried about buoyancy? Then test for that. Are they worried instead about some vague "contact with the water" thing? Go contemplate your navel and stop wasting our time.

The Fortress
June 25th, 2009, 03:18 PM
Generally, I believe trapped air will be displaced by water if it has an easy way to leave the suit...generally not through the material itself, however.

The whole "permeability" thing is a red herring. Are they worried about buoyancy? Then test for that. Are they worried instead about some vague "contact with the water" thing? Go contemplate your navel and stop wasting our time.

I'm against limiting suit coverage. I dislike tanks, and don't see why we should be forced to go back to them. I likewise see no reason why we as consumers should have to wear tech suits that rip easily and blow apart.

I do, however, agree that permeability and air trapping is a red herring and waste of time. Unfortunately, it appears that the manufacturers have now moved forward with designing, manufacturing and selling suits that attempt to meet the 2010 guidelines regarding permeability (e.g., Rocket Science Sprinter suit and new B70 suit). These suits will look increasingly LZR-ish with patchworks of permeable material and neoprene material and arrays of holes at key places. If FINA was under pressure to "move inventory" of the previous versions, won't it now be under pressure to permit these versions that were developed in response to their professed guidelines for 2010?

knelson
June 25th, 2009, 03:19 PM
What they need are a small number of simple tests following well-established and public guidelines. (Personally I like the idea of testing thickness & buoyancy.) Then limit the suit coverage (knees to navel for men, pelvis-neck for women works for me) and step back. Suit makers would have simple and predictable guidelines to follow.

Agree 100%. Every rule must be clearcut and testable. Otherwise they're open to interpretation and subjectivity kicks in. Tell the manufacturers exactly what the rules are and I don't think they will have a problem following them.

BillS
June 25th, 2009, 03:28 PM
You are quite correct - but I am talking about the elite for Worlds and the press -- at Worlds I think we can assume that every medal contender will be able to wear any allowed suit.

Not necessarily. Check out this excellent and eye opening interview with Brett Hawke.

http://www.floswimming.org/videos/coverage/view_video/235100-hawke-talk/188928-suit-stress

ehoch
June 25th, 2009, 05:32 PM
Not necessarily. Check out this excellent and eye opening interview with Brett Hawke.


It's a good point -- but how is this really different from many other sports out there ? Take cycling or triathlons -- are the suits are a bigger difference than the bikes, wheels, helmets, and what have you not ? It's a change - probably not a good change, but nothing that should take away from the athletes. I know they don't have world records in cross country skiing or alpine skiing, but I would say the material is a lot more important there than in swimming - I don't hear them crying. You deal with it and compete with what is available and what you feel good about.

I am guessing 100s of medals have been won and lost because of better equipment. The medal winners should wear and use the latest and greatest allowed in the sport --- FINA is wrong for allowing the stuff.

I want to see Freddy Bousquet, Michael Phelps, Leveuax, Bernard, and Sullivan duke it out in the 100 Free at Worlds -- could not care less what suit they wear.

I want to see Peirsol, Phelps, Lochte and the Japanese kid do battle in the 100 Back - I don't care if they wear leg skins, full bodies or what (By the way - anybody still wearing legskins only should watch Phelps in his last 100 Fly and the interview).

Who wants to see the rematch in the 100 Fly ?

Tim L
June 25th, 2009, 07:21 PM
Not necessarily. Check out this excellent and eye opening interview with Brett Hawke.


That interview explains Auburn's use of Jaked suits at NCAAs! Wear the fastest suit, take advantage of lack of availability to competitors when possible, and win. Kill or be killed.

I would love to go back to a more level playing field, but let's face the fact that the suits are here to stay and for all the short-term inequities the right swimmers usually end up winning and setting the records eventually.

Tim

Gdavis
June 25th, 2009, 08:33 PM
I like the suits because to wear them:
is like shaving down without shaving down
is like slimming down without slimming down
I guess that's why they are so popular with (us) fat, hairy old guys.
Maybe only fat, hairy old guys should be allowed to use them. Would that satisfy everyone?

orca1946
June 25th, 2009, 09:32 PM
How about only NON world meets & record breakers get to wear them !:applaud:

Allen Stark
June 25th, 2009, 10:14 PM
The more I think about it,the more not only is the current situation lousy but the 1/1/10 situation looks lousy too.FINA has hinted what they will allow,but not really said and manufacturers are going by that,which means they will pressure FINA to allow these suits.I'm sure FINA doesn't care about what I think,but I think they should allow all currently legal suits until 1/1/11.On 1/1/10 or before they should announce the rules for 1/1/11 so the manufacturers have plenty of time to comply and make the suits available to all.

knelson
June 26th, 2009, 12:33 AM
I would love to go back to a more level playing field, but let's face the fact that the suits are here to stay

I don't think this is necessarily true at all. FINA has given every indication that they would like to impose much more strict regulations on suit design. It isn't a forgone conclusion that they are here to stay. About all we know now is that they will be around till the end of this year.


How about only NON world meets & record breakers get to wear them

What are they going to do, make you sign a waiver before your swims where you must promise not to break any records? :)

Tim L
June 26th, 2009, 10:54 AM
I don't think this is necessarily true at all. FINA has given every indication that they would like to impose much more strict regulations on suit design. It isn't a forgone conclusion that they are here to stay. About all we know now is that they will be around till the end of this year.

I just can't imagine that they will completely ban the suits. I think they are just trying to put limits on them only. If they banned them, there might not be a world record set in swimming for several (many) years afterward and that probably wouldn't play too well at the 2012/2016 Olympics and wouldn't do much for the popularity of swimming.

I am all for a complete ban, but they probably should have done that in 2000. After almost a decade of tech suits, I think a complete ban is out of the question unless FINA is out of their minds. On second thought, FINA pretty much is out of their minds so it could be a possibility.

Tim

thewookiee
June 26th, 2009, 11:36 AM
I am all for a complete ban, but they probably should have done that in 2000. After almost a decade of tech suits, I think a complete ban is out of the question unless FINA is out of their minds. On second thought, FINA pretty much is out of their minds so it could be a possibility.

Tim

I don't think the suits between 2000-2007 are really that "tech" of a suit. Yes, they do provide more coverage,which I am a fan of, but they don't have the polyuerthane, rubber coating that the tech suits from 2008-present do.

Most of the 2000-2007 suits remind of me of the paper suits, just more material.

If the suits from 2008-present are banned, fine, just don't go back to pre-2000 standards. Some of us do like suits that provide more coverage, esp.those of that don't to have to shave down anymore.

jim clemmons
June 26th, 2009, 11:42 AM
The more I think about it,the more not only is the current situation lousy but the 1/1/10 situation looks lousy too.FINA has hinted what they will allow,but not really said and manufacturers are going by that,which means they will pressure FINA to allow these suits.I'm sure FINA doesn't care about what I think,but I think they should allow all currently legal suits until 1/1/11.On 1/1/10 or before they should announce the rules for 1/1/11 so the manufacturers have plenty of time to comply and make the suits available to all.

I like these dates as they allow me to "wear out" my inventory.

chaos
June 26th, 2009, 05:09 PM
I have a strong intuition that material permeability is only very weakly related to the ability of a suit to trap air. Much more important is the cut of the suit. The reason: I believe that air diffusion through the suit itself is pretty slow even for "permeable" materials like lycra, compared to egress by other means. (Verify for yourself if you like...a crude experiment involves a volunteer and a bowl of beans...)

Generally, I believe trapped air will be displaced by water if it has an easy way to leave the suit...generally not through the material itself, however. Jammers (of any material) will trap the least air, followed by leggings, followed by body suits.

The long, probably expensive "pseudo-scientific" screening method has been farcical. What they need are a small number of simple tests following well-established and public guidelines. (Personally I like the idea of testing thickness & buoyancy.) Then limit the suit coverage (knees to navel for men, pelvis-neck for women works for me) and step back. Suit makers would have simple and predictable guidelines to follow.

.

my 2 year old square leg endurance will hold "air" that is injected into it quite well, only to be released by a flipturn... i believe kimchi (with its anti viral properties) might be a better source of experimental "air" than beans.... but to each his own.

stillwater
June 26th, 2009, 08:22 PM
I likewise see no reason why we as consumers should have to wear tech suits that rip easily and blow apart.


No one is forcing you to wear the suits.

Backstrokers should stay on their backs.

Anything to speed up that horrible breaststroke is fine by me. Even tech suits.

The Fortress
June 26th, 2009, 08:57 PM
I've got the solution. FINA should throw out the "permeability" and "no air trapping" requirements. Everyone seems to agree that air trapping occurs in most suits and the permeability requirement is already subsumed by the "buoyancy" and "thickness" standards. Instead, FINA should mandate a "durability" requirement for tech suits. Yes, it's a bit amorphous, but I'm sure all the creative thinkers out there could come up with some standards and enforcement procedures (e.g., suits cannot have notoriously faulty zippers and must last more than 5 swims before stretching or ripping). Then, the escalating cost issues would be mitigated somewhat, the suit manufacturers wouldn't benefit from planned obsolescence, suits would be usable instead of disposable, and the sport could advance technologically without sending us back a century to tanks and briefs. I'd much rather see FINA wring its hands over enforcing durability than regress, give up entirely on suit regulation, or continue to dwell on permeability.

Gdavis
June 27th, 2009, 10:24 AM
The long, probably expensive "pseudo-scientific" screening method has been farcical. What they need are a small number of simple tests following well-established and public guidelines. (Personally I like the idea of testing thickness & buoyancy.) Then limit the suit coverage (knees to navel for men, pelvis-neck for women works for me) and step back. Suit makers would have simple and predictable guidelines to follow.

The whole "permeability" thing is a red herring. Are they worried about buoyancy? Then test for that. Are they worried instead about some vague "contact with the water" thing? Go contemplate your navel and stop wasting our time.

:applaud::applaud:This is spot on Chris. Like knelson I agree. FINA have created an approval minefield for themselves (no surprise there), an enforcement nightmare for officials and a suit choice/access conundrum for swimmers and coaches. As you say, we need (very) simple, objective criteria; (very) simple, robust testing method/process (that anyone can replicate in a high school lab); I would also add a clear timetable for new suit approval (preferably 12 months before each worlds/olympics). The battle against the suits is almost certainly lost, particularly as FINA's decision making is dominated by its commercial interests, but surely even they can follow good advice like yours. This is an opportunity for the prospective new leadership at FINA to restore some semblance of fairness and rationality, and perhaps even an interest in swimming! It will be good when (if?) the swim talk is again more about about technique, conditioning, etc - rather than the damn suit.

thewookiee
June 27th, 2009, 10:37 AM
I
The long, probably expensive "pseudo-scientific" screening method has been farcical. What they need are a small number of simple tests following well-established and public guidelines. (Personally I like the idea of testing thickness & buoyancy.) Then limit the suit coverage (knees to navel for men, pelvis-neck for women works for me) and step back. Suit makers would have simple and predictable guidelines to follow.

The whole "permeability" thing is a red herring. Are they worried about buoyancy? Then test for that. Are they worried instead about some vague "contact with the water" thing? Go contemplate your navel and stop wasting our time.

While I agree with you on the testing, esp. making the guidelines and results public, I don't think coverage should be limited to knees to navel. People didn't seem to have strong opposition to 2007 suits and before that covered shoulders to ankles and many variations in between.

If they will establish clear, precise guidelines and the testing protocal to test for their guidelines, then I see no reason why coverage can't be from shoulders-to-ankles and variations in between for both men and women.

Gdavis
June 27th, 2009, 10:48 AM
If they will establish clear, precise guidelines and the testing protocal to test for their guidelines, then I see no reason why coverage can't be from shoulders-to-ankles and variations in between for both men and women.

I'm with you on this wookie is I love the torso coverage to simulate shaving.....but I would accept jammer coverage if it ended this suit nightmare

psyncw
June 27th, 2009, 11:10 AM
i think jammers is the way to go- upper body coverage is just too constricting

thewookiee
June 27th, 2009, 11:24 AM
i think jammers is the way to go- upper body coverage is just too constricting

See, that's why we should have the range from ankle-to-knees and in between. Myself, along with others, don't find the torso coverage to be constricting. I find them to be comfortable.

Let those that want to wear briefs or jammers wear em. Let those of us that want to wear legskins or shoulders-to-ankles wear em. Just make clear, defined rules about suit material and testings, so that we know all suits and companies, regardless of cut and style are playing by the same rules.

Peter Cruise
June 27th, 2009, 01:38 PM
I only hope that all this suit testing, standard testing, expert employing, lawyering etc. is not detracting from from enforcement, education, developing of new tests for, re Performing Enhancing Drugs which still stand as the real threat to the legitimate conducting of world class swimming at the open, olympic level. Does anyone have any idea what kind of coin FINA is spending to sort out the whole suit mess? Where does the money come from and are other budgets such as PED detection affected?

chaos
June 27th, 2009, 10:26 PM
FINA should mandate a "durability" requirement for tech suits. Yes, it's a bit amorphous, but I'm sure all the creative thinkers out there could come up with some standards and enforcement procedures (e.g., suits cannot have notoriously faulty zippers and must last more than 5 swims before stretching or ripping).

i think you're joking about this. but if not.... who could possibly create any kind of standard here? when compression is a goal, there will always be those looking to compress more than they should.... and bodies being as varied as they are..... (maybe ralph nader should go to work for fina if the issue is now consumer protection)