Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mark Shubert claims the 'Speedo LZR' would give a swimmer a 2% advantage over any other suit.

In the TYR lawsuit brief mentioned in the previous post, Mark Shubert is categorically quoted on page 8 - Line 6, stating that the Speedo LZR would give a swimmer a "2% advantage" over any other suit.

What does a "2% advantage" mean and how was that number quantified?

Will you finish all your races in a time that is 2% faster than ever before?

Does it mean that a Speedo Lzr is simply 2% more "slippery" or more hydrodynamic than any other suit on the market?

The math doesn't support it and there is no way that Mark Shubert was able to test a Tracer Light, Tracer Rise, blueseventy pointzero3, or an Arena Powerskin R-Evolution in a plume or wind tunnel.

Pieter van den Hoogenband's set a world record in the 100 LCM free at the Sydney games in a time of 47.84. If you then compare it to Alain Bernard's world record set at the European LCM Championships last month in a time of 47.50, that is not even a single percentage point faster but rather a 0.07% reduction. It's impressive but it is not 2%.

In the 50 free the time differential between Popov-2000 and Bernard-2008, we see a .98% reduction. Again, this is not a 2% differential. Michael Phelps dropped his 200 back time by the same percentage in just 4 years without a Speedo Lzr.

Shubert's 2% claim is an extraordinary one and it demands extraordinary proof.


Anonymous said...

Yes, but what if alain bernard is actually 1.3 percent slower?

Tony Austin said...

That is a very good argument but Alain bernard in this You Tube swam a 48.81 in Feb 2007 well before the LZR and that is less than a 1% difference. In other words, swimmers improve. How much was it the suit versus his coaching in the past year?

Tony Austin said...

I am going to go look at swimmer like Phelps and Libby Lenton-Trickett and compare their improvements

Scott said...

If you want some definitive proof then I doubt you'll get much better than Craig Lord's analysis of the improvements shown by swimmers racing in the new suit at April's FINA Short Course World Championships. Analyzing more than 450 performances he comes up with improvements clustered in the range of 1.6% to 2.3% (over 400 of them). You can read his article here. What's interesting is Coach Schubert came out with the 2% improvement weeks in advance - it seems only reasonable it came from seeing the data obtained from the extensive testing of the LZR Racer prototype carried out by USA Swimming Olympic hopefuls under his tutelage. I think there's little doubt the suit does improve performance by an average of 2%. Imagine what it would do for an over-the-hill master. Watch our master records roll!

Tony Austin said...

I read that article and just reviewed it again. Craig Lord does not provide his math or process whatsoever.

He does not take into account the growth of a swimmer such as Michael Phelps who has improved his 200 back time a percentage point or more before the LZR was introduced and since the introduction of the Lzr he has not swam 1.6% - 2.3% faster.

When we see him swim the 200 back this weekend or in BeiJing, Craig's logic would state he would improve another percentage point plus just by wearing the suit.

Craig never mentions the professor's name that he submitted his findings to as well and he doesn't provide a list of athletes either. His claim is extraordinary and to make a statement like that he has to back to up.

This is the process I suggest. Take Speedo athletes, and quantify their improvements pre-introduction of the LZR with specific events and times and then quantify their gains post the the introduction of the Lzr.

Also, I should comb through the Speedo promo and see what percentages they are willing to state.

In fact we have a stats ninja here at work. I may commission a study and I will post the process. Want to help?

Anonymous said...

One thing that has not been mentioned is that all data collected is comparing performances of athletes wearing FS Pro or the LZR. The comparison is not between different brands of suits, thus it is false to claim that the LZR is 2% faster than "any other suit". It may be 2% faster than FS pro.

Tony Austin said...

Mark Shubert, according to the legal brief, said the Lzr gave a 2% advantage over any suit of the competitors.(Pg 8, Line 6)

But you raise a good point. If it provides a 2% advantage over the FSII Pro, how much faster is that?

The crux here is not if he is mistaken in his assessment, it's that he was a paid rep for Speedo and that he, by using his position as coach, asserted a claim that may not only be false but apparently would enrich himself by asserting undue influence to encourage swimmers to switch brands and lose sponsorships.

These are my opinions/interpretations regarding what the legal brief states.

Scott said...

I've actually considered asking Mr. Lord for his raw data so I could do my own analysis and better understand what his results really do say. But having said that I must agree with his friend's off-the-cuff assessment of his findings: that they're so obvious there's little likelihood something overlooked would change his conclusion. For example I assume his improvements have been measured against the swimmers' times as provided in the Championship's 'psych' sheets, and that these would be pre-LZR Racer best times. Reasonably there's little more one can do to qualify the data as statistically valid. I'm more interested in the distribution of the improvements, which I feel would bolster my argument the suit is illegal. But who has the time? I haven't posted on my own blog for over a month!