Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Longevity and quality issues with the 'Speedo LZR' documented in the press!

These five instances of 'wardrobe malfunctions' are what I culled from numerous articles about the LZR. Note each suit failure is in regards to quality, longevity, and fragility. In the photo on the left, the LZR material looks so thin that you can almost see Michael Phelps chest hairs through it when enough light is present. Also note that the failures below are the ones we are hearing about. I wonder how many we haven't heard:

Nicole Jeffrey of The Australin, quotes Leisel Jones regarding her Speedo LZR taking in water during a 200m breaststroke event at a short course meet in Canberra, Australia: "...They stretch after about three wears," she said. "I really wanted to swim fast and I prepared well. I felt quite good but the suit filling with water didn't help me much. It makes you pretty fatigued, dragging the water along."I was happy that I swam only a second off my best. And I've only had three weeks of training (since the Olympic trials) so fitness is an issue." [Link]

NPR Day to Day: Brent Rutemiller confirms that the Speedo LZR will only last a handful of races. His exact quote: "The suit itself only lasts for 6 to 12 wears. Michael Phelps could theoretically go through 3 or 4 swim suits at 500 a pop at the Olympics. ..." Here is a link to an audio of that NPR, Day to Day interview: [Link]

Amy Shipley of the Washington Post: "... Three times since the suit was released this year, the drawstring in the waistband has ripped, according to Phelps's coach Bob Bowman

The most inconvenient tear occurred Friday, throwing Phelps's pre-race preparation into arrears. Moments before filing out for his race, he was sprinting across the complex to the Speedo tent to get a new suit -- but not the LZR. He wanted nothing further to do with fragile drawstrings. (He grabbed an older model FS-Pro instead.)

"It was very upsetting to him," said Jon Urbanchek, the assistant coach at the University of Michigan's Team Wolverine, where Phelps trains. "He will have to learn to control that. It was a good learning experience. He will have to have a Plan B, Plan C . . . What if it happens at the Olympics?"

Said Bowman: "By the time he got [back with the new suit], he was absolutely fuming. At that point, I knew the swim was somewhat compromised. ..." [Link]

From the Daily Telegraph: "... [Eamon] Sullivan's girlfriend Stephanie Rice, meanwhile, learned a valuable lesson when the 200 and 400m individual medley world record holder suffered a costume malfunction in the change rooms before the start of the 100m butterfly heats. ...

Things didn't go so smoothly for Rice, who split her Speedo LZR suit and did not have a spare suit in her kit bag. The 19-year-old had to resort to her Speedo nylon suit and missed the final with a time of 1:01.47 to place fourth, having to settle for a swim in the night's B final. ..." [Link]

From Hansen Sports Media: "MONTE CARLO, June 8, 2008: Twenty-four hours after Stephanie Rice’s suit mishap in Rome, prospective Olympic breaststroke medalist Tarnee White suffered a similar fate in the opening Mare Nostrum Swim Meet in Monaco today – before joining Australia's latest list of international record breakers.

World ranked number two White, showed all the composure that makes her a seasoned veteran, to overcome a suit malfunction of her own before claiming gold and a meet record on the first of the two days of the Monaco meet.

White’s zipper split apart just before the start of the 50 metres breaststroke heats, a day after Rice split her Speedo LZR suit before the heats of the 100m butterfly. [Link]

Photo comes from the "I love Sports" blog: [Link]

14 comments:

JC said...

Sounds like there'll be at least a couple incidents in Beijing where a swimmer's performance is compromised by the suit.

JC said...

Sounds like there'll be at least a couple incidents in Beijing where a swimmer's performance is compromised by the suit.

JC said...

Sorry about that, I have this problem with stuttering....

John said...

This is nothing new with "high Performance Suits". If anyone remembers Paper Suits...they were good for 2 meets then they just fell apart. These are not suits to wear numerous times...Biggest races, biggest meets only.

Tony Austin said...

In my opinion it was an obvious fact that paper suits were disposable. (i.e. Paper/water effect.)

Consequently you would think that a $550 Speedo LZR swimsuit would last you more than 1 swim meet.

That is like $62.50 per usage.

Anonymous said...

the best suit...that ive heard of...is the blue seventy. its is supposed to last 25 races, and improves your time by 5% compared to the 2-3% of the LZR

Anonymous said...

Here are two scenes at the recent Omaha Swimvitational and the LZR affect ???

7:45 a.m. each morning and swimmers are lined up 30-40 deep waiting on the Speedo reps to arrive with their pile of LZR's. Some are nearly asleep, many are lying down, etc. Meet starts at 9:30 a.m. each morning. Why weren't the Speedo reps there much earlier so these athletes did not have to sit around. Ridiculous. I guess since prelims at Trials starts later they will sleep in even more. Bottom line on this issue... All the swimsuit companies should have their employees covering the warmup pool and venue whenever the pools are open to the athletes. Surely at $550 a suit these they can find some flunkie in a Speedo shirt find a way to crawl out of bed and be at the pool when the athletes hit the door.

Next issue, a very high profile national level swimmer was seen at the warmup pool wrestling with what appeared to be a broken zipper/seam on the back of their LZR about 10 minutes before their prelim swim. Multiple coaches and swimmers were helping try and figure out a solution. I could not hang around to see the resolution, however when that person swam the prelim their suit was WIDE OPEN down the back from the neck to their hips. This swimmer was to say the least, seriously ticked off.

Care to guess who that swimmer was...???

Here is the link to that swim courtesy of SwimNetwork.com To bad you can't see the look on their face after the swim. That tells the whole story. Look in Lane 4.

http://www.swimnetwork.com/videos/v/20080606/men_s_400m_free___heat_6-13249.html

Come on Speedo (and others0.... You gotta get your act together immediately.

Tony Austin said...

25 races is not that great either. I bet it lasts longer, DO you have a reference in regards to the 55 number?

Tony Austin said...

Anonymous, I am going to publish your post and the links to SwimNetwork since I think this is an outstanding observation and comment.

Kiler_Free said...

So it looks like i am the only one with a pair of eyes out there... or perhaps the only one that cares to share what they saw at JEI. I would like to point out that sure the LZR is now coming under lots of fire and everyone seems to be jumping on the BlueSeventy bandwagon. I will point out a couple of things here.

1)The thinness of the suit (LZR) as it appears in the Phelps picture is not necessarily a bad thing. The Arena suit is paper thin as well and was one of the biggest draws when compared to earlier generations of the FastSkin suits. Speedo took these comments into account when designing the Pro and have perhaps taken it one step further now with the LZR.

2)I can not read all of these posts and not point out what I saw at the meet a couple of weeks ago. I can not count the number of suits that i saw on girls and guys alike with seams that were stretched past structural integrity. I mean it was not every suit, and its not a sipper breaking or drawstring popping like we are seeing on the speedo suits, but a seam busting on a suit might not be key before a race either. Some guys also pointed out to me, a girl that walked away from her race with the seam on her behind had also exploded during her race, and another girl was now offering her spare suit to her so that she could warm down without any worries of exposure, and I don't mean to the cold.

3)And I promise this is the last one. I have a LZR too. I wore it for one meet through 4 races of freestyle. Then again for 4 races at JEI. Although it was easier to put on the second time at Mel Zajack I did not have any problems with it until my last wearing of the suit, and my times were not affected by any stretching in fact i went faster 2 weeks later with the same suit after doing more work during practices. The problem that i experienced was that the zipper popped open because for the first time i tried to get someone to zip me up alone. I was warned by the speedo rep to make sure that I had 2 people there to do me up... I didn't and guess what, wardrobe malfunction. Well I got the zipper back down and fixed up no problem its good to go for the next meet.

Again I'm not discounting the Blue 70 but I had to say something so that people knew more then just one side of the magic of the 5% suit.

Tony Austin said...

Kiler_free:

You are obviously an accomplished swimmer. You have raced in the LZR and know others personally that have as well. If I were at your level of performance, an accomplishment I will never experience, I would not wear the LZR due to the distractions that the suit could fail me during the race of my career.

The fact that you know other swimmers who have had suits fail speaks volumes.

I will be wearing a TYR Tracer Light.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with these suits is that they are not available to everyone. As a coach, I had 3 swimmers miss Olympic Trials cuts in Omaha by less than a tenth, and all were wearing TYR Tracer's or FS Pro's.

What would they have gone in the LZR? Myself, along with my swimmers, waited at the Speedo booth each day of the meet to get an LZR, and not once did they have their respective size at any time. One could easily make the claim that those that were wearing LZR's had an advantage over those did not get one.

Stu at Speedo told me they only brought 50 suits total to the Omaha meet. FINA has a rule that is very clear; the suit MUST be available to everyone upon it's release! Obviously, Speedo is in clear violation of this rule. The LZR is available to the very few who are fortunate enough to be sponsored by Speedo, or those who are lucky enough to be at the right place (ie the Speedo booth) at the right time.

Did I mention i hate Speedo?

Anonymous said...

watched the video. Hmmmmm I wonder if he ever regrets breaking that contract? Amazing guy though.
Also, is the Tracer Rise the same as the Tracer light? I think the rise was the suit Chloe Sutton wore in Beijing? Thanks

Tony Austin said...

I don't think he likes the idea that he is being sued by TYR nor do I think he likes being a non sponsored swimmer. I don't Speedo can touch him due to potential legal hassles.

I also suspect he has to wait in line for a suit rather than having Speedo send a couple dozen to him.

It's a shame because he is a great swimmer and has great work ethic. He is also going to beat Grant Hackett, Larsen Jensen and Park to win the gold medal in my opinion. However, come trials, he can't have a suit fail like that. It is to risky.

The TYR Rise has panels like the Speedo but was approved by FINA in January whereas the Speedo was approved in the Spring. Ironically enough, TYR was the first suit to utilize panels but the press implies that it was Speedo.