Sunday, November 30, 2008

Craig Lord writes an article for the 'Times Online' regarding 'Adidas' threatening to leave the swimsuit market.

Update, I jumped on the Craig to hard but to his credit the article has been amended.

Congratulations to Craig Lord! but his over-simplification of the TYR versus USA Swimming lawsuit is simply biased.

He writes: "...TYR, which spent three years and several million dollars developing its Tracer Rise suit, filed an antitrust lawsuit in California in May, accusing Speedo, USA Swimming and its national team head coach Mark Schubert (who said in support of the LZR that swimmers had a “black-and-white decision: the money or the medal”) of conspiring to block competition...." [Link]

He does not mention that Stu Isaac*, the director of marketing for Speedo, has confirmed that Schubert is paid to endorse Speedo. Hence the legal challenge, in my opinion, is legitimate amog other evidence not mentioned int he article. [*reference: June 28th, In the New York Times Blog: RINGS 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, Karen Crouse]

FINA will meet in February with sales representatives and swim industry leaders to discuss a solution out of this speedsuit mess. I am sure they will "split the baby" and walk a fine line between the swimsuit business and national governing bodies.

Now that Nike has left the speedsuit market and Adidas is threatening, there is a potential to see the swimmers themselves hurt the most since fewer swimsuits means fewer sponsors and what sponsors are left will have no incentive to pay more.

FINA has a lot of political work to do in February: Adidas has to be pacified, Nike has to be addressed and I hope they send a rep. Then, national governing bodies have to be convinced to allow speedsuit makers a market to sell to or there will be less incentives, or even manufacturers left to sponsor both athletes and meets.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Global warming message or swanky or pool art?

So, how many of you think I posted this as a global warming public service announcement versus me just posting it as cool pool art?

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai, India, ... glued an areal view of a city to the base of a swimming pool. Consequently, shocked swimmers and onlookers witnessed how global warming could destroy our world someday. received 300% more hits in the subsequent days of the activity.

Found originally at, but the credit should go to for the find: [Link]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Phillip Hersh of the 'L.A. Times' calls speedsuits a farce after reading the blog: 'Sports'

The L.A. Times, after reading the blog, Sports Science, comes out and calls speedsuits a farce: "...Australia and the United States, the sport's major powers, have realized what a farce this is and have called for bans on the suits that utterly transformed the sport.

If that happens, swimming will be left with a mess like the one track and field has with the dozen world records that still exist from 20 years ago, when most fans feel that state-sponsored Soviet Bloc doping (and catch-us-if-you-can doping in the United States) were significant factors in the setting of nearly all those records.

Ban the suits now, and swimming's 2008 records may stand for decades.

That would be no more preposterous than the current situation, when swimming's records stand for nothing. ..." L.A. Times article: [Link]

Snippet from Sports Swimming, on the other hand, has leapt forward, and I do believe that this is an indication that doping is far less significant to swimming performance, which is the statement I began this analysis with. The reason for this, I believe, is that swimming is such an "inefficient" activity (even the world's best swimmers are only 7 to 9% efficient, I'm reliably informed), that any technology that reduces drag in the water has an enormous effect on performance. On the other hand, drugs which improve strength and power (as the drugs of the 1980s would have done) may have a far smaller effect, with so much of the gains being lost to the inefficient swimming stroke.

This is an oversimplification, and the obvious argument is that doping may be very effective, but is "masked" by the added introduction of technology. If they've been doping for years, technology would still move the event forward when it is introduced. I'd be keen (as always) to hear your views and opinions on that statement. ..." [Link]

Cycling has moved forward in regards to addressing friction drag. Skiing has too. Other sports from track and field, cross country and the marathon have accepted technology and swimming should as well.

BTW, I am loving that start dive from our most courageous, Speedo LZR, wearing swimmer who somehow squeezed into a LZR and got to swim in the Omaha Olympic trials pool.

The photo of above is from photographer: Ben Vankat's photostream at

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stephanie Rice leapfrogs Dara Torres, Natalie Coughlin, to become 'Swimming World's best female competitor of the year!'

From The Australian: "... Michael Phelps was the predictable male swimmer of the year after winning a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, which also gave him a record career tally of 14.

Clearly, Rice was the best female swimmer of the Games after winning the 200m and 400m individual medley in world record times, and combining with team-mates Kylie Palmer, Bronte Barratt and Linda MacKenzie to take an extraordinary 5sec from the 4x200m freestyle world record.

In her Olympic debut, Rice, 20, finished with a perfect record. ..." [Link]

Photo from the Sydney Morning Herald after Stephanie Rice set a WR in the 200 IM at the 2008 Beijing Games: "...Rice's time slashed 0.80 seconds off the previous world record and 2.5 seconds off her own previous best time set at last year's world championships

The 200m medley record had stood for 11 years prior to Rice's dominant performance tonight.

The Queenslander was 1.4 seconds under world record pace at the halfway mark and was stunned with her ability to lower her own time by such a remarkable margin. ..." [Link]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

USA Swimming proposes new swimsuit regulations to FINA!

I am posting this late because I figured you all saw it and also I couldn't formulate anything lucid to say without spitting at my computer monitor first.

From Lane 9 News: "...GR 5.3 USA Fed. In swimming competitions the competitor must wear only one swimsuit in one or two pieces which shall not extend beyond the ankles, the wrists and the neck cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor past the knee. No additional items, like arm bands or leg bands shall be regarded as parts of a swimsuit. [Link]

My first upset: Imagine your a Swimsuit start-up company like Rocket Science Sports and you design a speed suit with innovative materials at great expense. Finally, when it is completed you submit your product to FINA for approval; who probably charges tens-of-thousands-of-dollars to do so, and FINA approves it.

Suddenly, USA Swimming, who is SOOOOO in bed with Speedo, decides to outlaw speed suit innovation with their silly rule as soon as they can thus wiping out a company or companies in the process. (Note that the Speedo LZR does not violate "GR 5.3" rule but Ian Thorpe's Addias suit and the RocketScience rocketSKIN certainly would.)

Long sleeve speedsuits have been around since Ian Thorpe in 2004. Where was USA Swimming then with their "GR 5.3" rule? Why now with a long sleeve rule? Why now?

Note how all of this occurs once several manufacturers bring products to market.

My second upset:
Is that when USA Swimming' President said: "...I would also like to applaud FINA for sitting down with all involved in February. Hopefully, they will be having an open discussion with everyone regarding the steps of the approval process. ..." I read that comment as a big, fat, euphemism for "The fix is in" and I suspect USA Swimming will get what USA Swimming wants which of course includes includes a loooong approval process.

New Omega starting blocks expected to dip WRs even further!

From AFP: "...Developed by Omega, the Swiss watchmaker responsible for time-keeping at world competitions, the innovation won the backing earlier this year of FINA, global swimming's governing body.

The "adjustable slanted footrest allows swimmers to use a crouch start with the rear-positioned leg at a 90-degree angle at the knee, generating an optimal starting profile," the company said at the time...." [Link]

FINA is allowing all sorts of "swim aids" as some swim purists would call them from speedsuits to starting blocks. There is obviously a motive in here somewhere. Perhaps it is to make swimming more popular?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gold Medal Mel talks up the obvious potential of a pro-circuit much like the 'FINA World Cup!'

From Gold Medal "...Coming off of Golden Goggles less than a week ago, I'm left with one nagging topic: US World-Class swimmers want a fall pro-circuit, one like FINA's World Cup. It was talked about a lot, or was the subtext of most conversations. It makes sense. Once an Olympics is over and swimmers face 4 long years before another big show, they wonder what they really have to look forward to...

Interestingly, I've been trading emails with Peter Marshall. Peter didn't make the 2008 US Olympic Swim Team, but this fall at the FINA WORLD CUP he broke two world records in the 50 and 100 short course meters backstroke. Later this week I'll interview him about some related subjects; pro-swimming, a US fall pro-circuit, not retiring because there's more to swimming than making the Olympic Team... Peter, who had planned to retire after this fall, may have changed his mind after his blisteringly fast backstroke swims abroad... I'm sure if Peter continues swimming, his sights will be set on the next Olympics. However, what does it mean to him, to be successful, a world record holder, a world swimming star, beyond the Olympics????..." [Link]

To pay for such a circuit, they should allow people to bet on it like they do with cycling or Keirin racing in Japan!

National Australian butterfly champion, Nick D'Arcy, plead guilty to assault charges today in the beating of triathlete, Simon Cowley!

From the Sydney Morning Herald: "...Swimmer Nick D'Arcy has pleaded guilty to assaulting former Olympian Simon Cowley, an attack that led to him being axed from the Australian swimming team for the Beijing Games.

D'Arcy's lawyer, Jack Leitner, said a deal had been struck with prosecutors and his client had pleaded guilty to recklessly causing grievous bodily harm...."

Simon Cowley, 27, had five titanium plates fitted after suffering fractures to his jaw, eye socket, hard palate, cheek bone and nose in the attack in March, which occurred while D'Arcy was celebrating his selection for the [2008] Olympics. ..." [Link]

Instead he chose a bar and now perhaps jail or probation and it was all his choice!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The 'Times Online' prints a horribly biased and hyperbolic article about speedsuits!

The Times Online presents a poorly researched speedsuit article that is full of speculation, exaggeration and hyperbole. On face value if you don't believe the Times Online could write a biased article, check out this paragraph:
"...That, says the whisper filtering out from the scientific community, is just the start. Fabric engineering already used in the military field will soon make headlines for all the right reasons: it can cure the sick, relieve pain for the terminally ill, provide speedy rehabilitation for crash victims, improve the lives of millions. But how long before the technology reaches the world of sport?..."
And this paragraph too:
"... As one leading light in the sport put it: “If we don’t stop the suits now, our sport will be destroyed by this and future developments. The last thing we need is to become the ‘testing ground’ for companies that want to do medical experiments on humans to promote their new products. The Roman Circus is here. ...” [Link]
If you step back and do a Google search with the text string: 'smart fabrics' or 'MIT Military Fabrics' to see if these grandiose predictions are valid, the materials suggested are a bit more involved then the Times Online presents.

For instance, the fabrics that can "heal you" according to MedicalNewsToday will work something like this:
"...Intelligent use of microelectronics allows scientists and engineers to extract useful data from very simple inputs. For example, the WEALTHY project integrated temperature sensors in the armpit and shoulder of their garment to register core and skin temperature. ..." [Link]
Note the word 'sensors' and realize that a electrical current would be running through the fabric and connected to a computer to collect the data. The material does not magically "heal you." However, the military wanted something that would.

As for the super human stuff the Times Online suggested: In 2002 The military gave the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 50-million dollars for a five-year contract to create a uniform that would make soldiers invisible, be able to jump over 20-foot walls, and deflect bullets too. If the Iraq war is any indication, I don't think they delivered! It was suppose to be a 5-year plan and here we are six-and-a-half years later and we have witnessed horribly wounded soldiers who barely had effective armor on their vehicles let alone a fabric that could heal them or make them bullet proof. From 2002 CNET article:
"...Researchers also hope to develop a kind of molecular chain mail that can deflect bullets.

In addition to protecting soldiers, these radically different materials will have uses in offensive tactics, at least psychologically.

"Imagine the psychological impact upon a foe when encountering squads of seemingly invincible warriors protected by armor and endowed with superhuman capabilities, such as the ability to leap over 20-foot walls," ISN director Ned Thomas said in a release. ..." [Link]

Speedsuits are not hurting swimming in any way. They are making it more fun especially for masters swimmers and overweight swimmers.

I smell manufactured consent on the part of USA Swimming's PR department in conjunction with the media to move public opinion towards their point of view. It's a sloppy article and presents no counter opinion.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Craig Lord posted an anti-speedsuit editorial over at 'Swim News!'

A snippet from Craig's editorial over at SwimNews: "...If FINA fails in its role as guardian of the sport, then the doping suit will be at a pool near you all too soon; the doping suit will be on your child’s skin all too soon. Ridiculous? Tell that to the scientists who know not only that it can be done but know too that they can make oodles of from it and that the rules of the sport cannot prevent them from doing so. ..." [Link]

For all your "purists" out there, you all have my permission to go swim in your wool suits and no goggles but allow that guy in the photo above to go swim in his CH2-CC1-CH_CH2 "Batman" suit!

Seriously, if speed suits make you more buoyant, then they should be banned across the board from age group swimming to the Olympics. However, if they don't and the material is solely about coefficient drag flow or how "slippery" the suit handles within the water, then suit companies should be unfettered and let loose to create suits that allow any swimmer reach their maximum potential.

The photo above comes from Ben Vankat's photostream

Here is a direct link to the photo: [Link]

I am probably the only swimmer here who thinks that this pool design is a really bad idea!

From the Guests bathe in a pool of red wine to celebrate this year's release of Beaujolais Nouveau at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort in Japan.

A Chardonnay would make it so much easier to see the the 'T" don't you think?

Picture: EPA

'Robaquatics' has entered the building!

I was at the UCLA short course meters race a month or so ago and I noticed a swimmer there wearing a pork-pie-hat. I also noticed that he wasn't sitting with anybody. Then I thought to myself, who is that be-bop hipster swimmer over there and who does he swim with? Turns out he belongs to an aquatics club so exclusive that he is the only member! The club is called "RobAquatics" but it is pronounced "unattached."

Rob is having a blast attending masters swimming meets all over creation and he's got a camera and laptop too. I am adding him to my link list because I like reading about the exuberance he has for masters swimming. Check him out here: [Link]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

'Go Swim Straight-Arm Freestyle with Scott Tucker' trailer

[UPDATE: This post is being bombarded by spammers, hence I have had to disable commentsjust for this post. Feel free to comment on other posts within this blog.]

I was helping someone with their freestyle one night and their arms were crossing over so badly that it was painful on my shoulders to watch.

Each of their hands would enter the water directly in front of their opposing shoulder and then catch water directly under their opposite side of their body in very asymmetrical, wiggly, way. Consequently their rotation was as wobbly as a worm on a hook and there was an amazing amount of wasted effort and oxygen.

When I would tell the person they were crossing over, they were surprised and tried to correct it but there was no change during the next few hundred yards this person swam.

I then told this individual to swim "straight arm catch-up" making sure their hands entered the water thumb first and directly in front of their shoulders. The ensuing results were both quick and astonishing. There was an immediate speed improvement and a well defined rotation which rendered the swimmer with less fatigue and fewer strokes per lap. They could feel it immediately and this person just wanted to go swim lap-after-lap enjoying the ride.

As for me, though there was terrific improvement in their stroke, I felt guilty because I was in "violation" of the "higher elbow" maxim that Eddie Reese, David Marsh and others evangelize. I ended up telling myself that at least this particular swimmer only has one problem now with their stroke rather than half-a-dozen.

Now, after seeing this trailer, I am reminded that swimming is just as much as art as it is a science and that stroke styles are about what your own particular body and mind can accomplish and nothing more. Also note that this particular person is a bit uncoordinated and over simplifying the stroke with a set of directions that they could follow made swimming really fun for them.

I am buying this DVD for this person for the Holidays [Link]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Timed situps for Texas Longhorn swimmers!

You Tube
description: "...Texas Longhorn men's swimming, training and conditioning coach Trey Zepeda teaches timed sit-ups. ""Everything that they do in the water, is based on time. It's not how strong, how big, its how quick, fast, and efficient you can be. So in that same respect, we also ask the guys to incorporate that mental focus in their abdominal exercises. So when we do sit ups, we ask the guys to do one minute of constant sit-ups. With your hands on your shoulders, knees bent to 90 degrees, feet on the floor, and somebody anchoring the end of your feet." ..."

I think that timing sit ups is crazy for anybody over 26-years-old. Nonetheless I figured I would set a low benchmark for you all so you can compare your sit up numbers with mine. I did 25-27 without a rest but we will just say that I was pacing myself.

It you were late to the 'FINA World Cup' - 'Universal Sports' has a wrap-up and videos of each event!

To the right is Tara Kirk storming it in the breaststroke. Tara did quite well proving that she she so deserved to go to the Olympics.

Here is a snippet from Universal Sports: "... The FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup 2008 got under way Oct. 10 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Over the next six weeks, drama in the pool unfolded in the form of world records, close finishes, renewed rivalries and comebacks.

The seven-meet series, which came to a climactic finish in Berlin on Nov. 16, provided swimming fans an opportunity to see some of their favorite athletes post-Beijing. Americans Tara Kirk, Randall Bal and Peter Marshall performed well, while international stars such as Oussama Mellouli, Christian Sprenger, Therese Alshammar and Katheryn Meaklim cemented their reputations as some of the world's top swimmers. ..." [Link]

'AM Lawyer Daily' - 'Speedo LZR' claims by Mark Shubert, challenged in a TYR lawsuit deposition!

Summary: The TYR lawsuit against USA Swimming et al. is moving forward and Kevin Youkilis of the American Lawyer Daily writes that in "... the deposition of Genadijus Sokolovas, USA Swimming's former director of physiology, ... Sokolovas said that Schubert's [Speedo LZR] comments; were "pure speculation" without any science to back them up...."

For some background on the TYR lawsuit itself, here is some info from an L.A. Times article by Lisa Dillman posted on May 15 2008:
"...In documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, TYR alleges that Speedo, USA Swimming and Schubert “combined to engage in a campaign of falsely disparaging the products of Speedo’s competitors, including TYR, for the purpose of inducing competitive swimmers to refrain from doing business with Speedo’s competitors” and that it was done in an “especially insidious and deceptive manner.”

TYR attorney Lawrence J. Hilton said the company made several efforts to settle the matter and that TYR’s founder, former U.S. Olympic swimmer and medalist Steve Furniss, took this step with “great reluctance.” ..."


Mark Schubert, USA Swimming Olympic Team Coach, is also quoted here in the on April 9, 2008 as saying the following :

“My advice to athletes is, ‘You have a black-and-white decision - the money or the gold medal.' And it's going to be a real test of character.

“There is no doubt the suit makes a difference and there is no doubt that there is one manufacturer that's put millions into research while the other manufacturers are more into fashion. Nobody at this level [world-class athletes] can afford to give up 2 per cent. It is not rocket science. ...” -- Mark Schubert


On June 28th, In the New York Times Blog: RINGS 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, Karen Crouse wrote this about Mark Schubert's realtionship with Speedo
"...What he did not mention is that the defendants, in asking for a continuance, provided sworn testimony from Stu Isaac, the director of marketing for Speedo, confirming that Schubert is paid to endorse Speedo and that one of Isaac’s jobs is to manage Speedo’s relationship with USA Swimming. ..."

Kevin Youkilis, of the American Lawyer Daily is following it and this is what he wrote:

"... TYR, the industry's number two company, sued USA Swimming and Speedo for conspiring to squelch competition by promoting Speedo's $500, NASA-engineered full-body suit over TYR's similar product. (The suit centered around USA Swimming head coach Mark Schubert's public and private comments that Speedo's suit made swimmers 2 percent faster than rival swimwear.)
Last Tuesday, TYR's legal team at Hewitt & O'Neil filed a huge batch of papers, including the deposition of Genadijus Sokolovas, USA Swimming's former director of physiology, in which Sokolovas said that Schubert's comments were "pure speculation" without any science to back them up...."


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Katie Hoff changes coaches - Will train with Bob Bowman!

Mike Freshley told me at the Santa Clarita Masters Meet a couple of weeks ago that, "you learn how to win when you lose!"

Katie Hoff is switching coaches. From the Washington Post:
Swimmer Katie Hoff has changed coaches after a disappointing Olympics in which the six-time world champion failed to win a gold medal in a half dozen events.
Hoff is working with Michael Phelps's coach, Bob Bowman, who has returned to her North Baltimore Aquatic Club after four years at the University of Michigan. Hoff trained with Paul Yetter since before she qualified for the 2004 Olympics as a 15-year-old.


Monday, November 17, 2008

More information on the 'Rocket Science Sports' speedsuit 'test-drove' the Rocket Science speedsuit and this is a translation of what they had to say:

1) Doing long, concentrated, strokes we experienced the following:
  • With normal swim pants: about 16-17 strokes per 25 meter
  • With speedsuit (short legs & arms): about 14-15 strokes per 25 meter
  • With rocket skin speedsuit: about 13-14 strokes per 25 meter
  • With neoprene: about 11,5-13 strokes per 25 meter
  • Long arms and legs seem to really make a difference that you can feel compared to short alternatives.
2) flexible and not too warm
  • In 26 °C warm water and with a swimming time around 45 minutes with only short little breaks we could swim through without any problem with the rocket skin, without overheating and a feeling of tightness. If the NO-H2O-Drainage system works we could not really test. But we did not have any problem with water in the suit. The suit is so flexible that you did hardly notice any resistance in arms or legs at all."
Here is a direct link to the article: [Link]

Here is a direct link to close-up images of the suit: [Link]

I wrote Rocket Science asking for more info about the tailoring of the suit and this paragraph really stood out:

"... The advantage of the full body suit: The material itself has a coefficient drag of CD=0.032; the surface of the suit does not absorb any water because of its coating.

Regarding covering the arms:

"...Arms are the only part of the swimmer that regularly exit; (turbulent flow), and re-enter; (during the laminar portion of the flow), into the water. Arms are also the only part of the body that acutely move faster then any other part of the swimmer relative to the water. The effective velocity of the arms is much higher then any other part of the swimmers body creating larger effective gains that can be achieved when it comes to drag reduction. ..."

After looking at the close-up images of the suit, I am impressed with the craftsmanship of the sewing and the little nuances such as putting a small pocket over the zipper. The material looks a lot like Chloroprene but I am not really sure what it is. I was told that it cost $50 to $60 a yard so it may not be Chloroprene.

Will all this said and with an independent review of the suit, on face value, the rocket Skin; (lower case "r" for rocket Skin), looks extraordinarily credible.

Here is a link to the Rocket Science Sports 'Rocket Skin' swimsuit page: [Link]

Dara Torres is motivated and will swim at the '2009 World Championships' if healthy

From AP News: The 41-year-old, who won three silver medals at the Olympics in August, wouldn't commit to competing again when the Beijing Games ended. But Torres said Monday at USA Swimming's annual Golden Goggle Awards banquet that if she can stay healthy, she hopes to race at the world championships next summer. [Link]

TYR, blueseventy, Speedo, and Arena set WRs at the FINA/Arena World Cup!

If you were to buy a speedsuit, would WRs effect your purchasing decision? They are effecting mine in many ways: I am looking a what style of suits are setting the most WRs, such as leggings, full body or long johns and in which events.

The brand names matter too and I am taking note of suit failures and technology. Personal experience with brand itself and acknowledging the fact that I will have to buy one or two a year if I swim lots of events is also a consideration.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

FINA to study and confront 'speedsuit rage' in February 2009!

Times Online: "...FINA, the world governing body for swimming, revealed yesterday that it is to hold a forum to discuss the use of high-tech bodysuits. The news came on the day when a German swimmer, Paul Biedermann, raced inside one of the last two world records held by Ian Thorpe, of Australia, and the 89th world record of the year brought to a close the 2008 World Cup season. ..." [Link]

From Swim News: Cornel Marculescu, Executive Director of FINA ... told SwimNews that it had been a "busy year". It was now "time to breathe, to review all issues with the suits in the sport". There could be "no doubt", he noted, that the latest generation of bodysuits enhance performance to one degree or another. "Now we know there is something there, for sure - we need to know what and where is the limit," he said. His is the first official acceptance given without hesitation or fear that it was not only the surface image of the sport that had changed. It was not good for swimming, he acknowledged, that a player such as Nike had decided to walk away from the pool.

Was that the definition of "under statement" or what? [Link]

The Canberra Times: The world governing body, FINA, faces elections next year, with long-standing president Mustapha Larfaoui of Algeria likely to be challenged by the FINA treasurer Julio Maglione of Uruguay. Both men are under increasing pressure to state their views about the future of the revolutionary swimsuits, which use compression and low-drag material more akin to plastics than fabrics to improve times, and have polarised the swimming community. ..." [Link]

My Unqualified Opinion:
When Johnny Weissmuller broke a minute in the 100-meter free, he wore a short-john, swimsuit made of wool. The swimsuit must have weighed 5-kilos as soon as it got wet and I am sure that the last 15-meters of the race were overly difficult.

The evolution of swimsuit material from circa 1922 to the Nylon swimsuits of 1964 led to roughly a 10% faster WR in the 100 meter free.

Now the leap from the Nylon suit circa 1964, throughout the 1970s when caps, Lycra swimsuits and goggles were accepted, all the way through to 2008, the technology again has led to roughly 10% faster WRs in the 100-meter free. In other words, the speed gains from 1922 to 1964 have been just as symmetrical as the speed gains from 1964 to 2008.

So, is this modern day argument to repeal bodysuits about buoyancy, coefficient drag, or both?

In my opinion, coefficient drag reduction should be off the table and should be fair game for suit manufacturers. They should be allowed to make their suits as form fitting and as slippery as they want to.

However, the issue of buoyancy is important. FINA needs to define what neutral buoyancy is and come up with an obvious test to measure it. A mannequin made out of ballistics gel or live models weighed underwater while wearing the product as a de facto measure of buoyancy seems horribly obvious.


1. 100 meter free WR progression from Wikipedia: [Link]
2. German Olympic team Speedo from 1964 made out of Nylon material from the PowerHouse Museum: [Link]

The photo above is of a swimmer wearing a Nike Hydra swimsuit.

The 'FINA Arena World Cup' featured great performances and big payouts!

This FINA Arena World Cup was a great meet and you can get a PDF of the results at Lane 9 News. [Link]

For instance: Randall Bal "leapfrogged" three of Peter Marshall's WRs in the 50scm backstroke to claim the title.

Tara Kirk really did well finishing first in both the 50scm, and the 100scm breaststroke with little training.

Kara Lynn Joyce stands out too finishing 3rd in the 50scm free and 6th in the 400scm free which is pretty impressive considering that she is a sprinter.

Then there were the WRs set by Alshammar but then eclipsed by Guehrer Marieke in the last heat of the 50scm fly.

We need more of these international races.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Peter Marshall's things to do list: Thursday: Set world record - Friday: Set world record - Saturday: Set world record!

Originally spotted in an email alert from Lane 9 News, I zipped over to Universal Sports to go see Peter Marshall's WR; It is indeed a spectacular swim and worth a look. Then I noticed that they posted it on YouTube an hour ago and with permission I am able to post it here. Here is the YouTube description: "...2008, Berlin, Germany, FINA, Swimming World Cup, American Peter Marshall smashes his five day old record in the mens 100m backstroke, by .31 seconds. With a new time of 49.63 seconds, he chasing down Cameron Van Der Burgh for the world cup...." [Link]

So, where was this guy in Beijing? From AP News:
"...Marshall, an Atlanta native who starred on the Stanford swim team, set a world record in the same event in 2004 but was denied a spot on the Athens Olympic team by a mere four-hundredths of a second ...

Believing that would be his final meet, Marshall didn't train at all for the next two months. He went camping at Yosemite National Park. He visited family in Georgia. He hung out with old friends and did a little surfing.

"I didn't even touch the water unless I was on a surfboard," he said.

After the layoff, Marshall made a slight revision in the rest-of-his-life schedule. He decided to swim a handful of World Cup events in the fall before retiring. [Link]

Peter Marshall swims for TYR.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sky Patterson paints swimmers!




I bumped into this page after typing in a random Google search string for something else.

Here is a link to Sky Patterson's My Space page with more paintings of swimmers therein: [Link]

Alshammar's walls, underwater work and her finish should be carefully filmed!

I was hoping Therese Alshammar would have had a better Olympics than she did but apparently short course meters pools are her forté.

In this video Alshammar almost nails a WR in the butterfly after coming from behind with a quick thrust towards the wall: [Link]

Here she does set a WR in the butterfly after trailing once again for at least 95% of the race but then snathcing victory at the wall with a great finish: [Link]

She is a very technical swimmer. I wish Glenn Mills or somebody would do a video with her so her work could be studied.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The 'FINA/Arena World Cup' is filling my mailbox with WR alerts! - Here is a link to some video!

bullet VIDEO: Peter Marshall swims two world records

bullet VIDEO: Watch day 2 from Stockholm

bullet VDEO: Marshall's golden day in Stockholm

Also, Therese Alshammar has really done well. I have been rooting for her every since her blue eyes did me in! From Universal Sports: "... In the final event of the day, Swede Therese Alshammar delighted the home crowd by setting a world record in the women's 50m butterfly. Her time of 25.31 bested the old mark of 25.32 set by Australian Felicity Galvez last April. It was the fourth world record to fall at the two-day meet. ..."

Oh, Kim F. sent me a note that the world record in the backstroke was set in a TYR Tracer Rise. Berlin is going to be the final stop and it is going to totally rage! You can watch it for free at Universal Sports: [Link]

Australian butterfly champion, Geoff Huegill, is coming out of retirement and he has lost a lot of weight!

One year ago I did a post on Australian butterfly champion, Geoff Huegill, who was ridiculed in the swim press for gaining weight post his 2004 retirement. The Australian press posted a before/after photo of him seen here, and overall treated him severely.

Now he is back in the pool and he looks 5-years younger. From SMH.Com: "... Huegill won a 2000 Olympic bronze medal in the 100m butterfly and retired after a disappointing showing at the 2004 Games. However, he said his motivation was back and he will train alongside stars Eamon Sullivan, Libby Trickett and Andrew Lauterstein at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre in inner Sydney.

"I am excited to announce that after my move to Sydney to focus on my swimming and media career, and talking with my partner, my family and my close friends, I have decided to return to professional swimming - I have unfinished business in the pool," Huegill said. ..." [Link]

Photo by Andy Zakeli for the Sydney Morning Herald

'Speed Blocks': the new tech dope?

UPDATE: From the "D'oh! Files:" - "...Love the blog, but that picture is another story. Thats Peter Marshall after breaking Lochte's WR in the 100 back witha time of 49.94 ..."

I caught this in USA Today this morning regarding the World Cup Swim Meet in Stockholm: "... New starting blocks, with an extra elevated part on the back, were introduced at the meet and Van der Burgh partly credited them for the new record.

"It helped me to come under 26 seconds. It feels incredible to be the first to have managed 26 seconds," he told Swedish television. ..." [Link]

From Yahoo/Eurosprot: "...The South African managed a time of 25.94sec seconds to shatter the previous best of 26.08 sec that he had set in Moscow on Saturday...." [Link]

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why are sharks able to swim so fast?

They create drag to reduce drag much like the tripwires on the TYR Aquashift were created to do. From ABC News: "...Shortfin mako sharks can shoot through the ocean at up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometres an hour). Now a trick that helps them to reach such speeds has been discovered – the sharks can raise their scales to create tiny wells across the surface of their skin, reducing drag like the dimples on a golf ball. ..." [Link]

Wiki on TYR Aquashift tripwires: "... The tripwires or "turbulators" are placed at several spots along the length of the suit including the chest, where a set of four tripwires runs across the whole chest, the buttocks (where a single tripwire is placed), the shoulders, and, if a swimmer has an Aquashift swim cap there is a trip wire on his or her head. Normally water hits the head and shoulders and immediately breaks, creating turbulence. However, with the addition of the tripwire, the water is forced to keep its flow consistent along the entire surface of the swimmer. The water flow is disrupted strategically so that it will break and reassemble, thereby keeping the flow stable across the entire body. The tripwires are made to be exactly congruent in height around the entire body, in an attempt to make them as effective as possible at disrupting the water flow. A patent is currently pending on the tripwires used in this suit. The suit was the co-invention of University at Buffalo professors Dr. David Pendergast, Dr. Joe Mollendorf, and Head Swimming Coach Budd Termin. The subjects for the study consisted of the men's and women's swimming team members at the University at Buffalo. ..." [Link]

I think this research validates the technology on TYR's part and I find it amusing that FINA ruled tripwire technology illegal but the LZR and it's analogs are okay?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Washington Post: For Amateur Swimmers, the Cost Of Success Doesn't Suit Everyone!

Dan sent us this and I suspect it was something we all knew inside but never said out loud.

Amy Shipley of the Washington Post breaks down the economic hardships of speedsuit costs for families, high schools and colleges: "...The suits even are appearing at the youth and high school levels, coaches and parents say. Many of the top competitors at the recent state high school championships in Arizona wore Speedo's LZR Racer, the model worn by Phelps during the Olympics. Jon Rogers, the aquatics director for Georgetown Prep and owner of the Aqua Hoya Swim Club, speculated that about half of the region's high school swimmers would show up to end-of-season championships in January and February wearing some version of the LZR, which retails for as much as $550.

"Financially, some families can't afford it," Rogers said. "It's going to become a big issue. ..." [Link]

FINA is approving suits while the NCAA and USA Swimming have major economic class considerations. I am sure national governing bodies in Europe, Australia, the Americas and Asia have similar complaints too. It seems like FINA is so far removed from these national governing bodies at large that it appears that they simply do not talk to each other whatsoever regarding the problems they face regionally.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I wrote 'Rocket Science Sports' for more information and here is a portion of the 'Rocket Skin' press release

Austin, Texas, November 7, 2008 – FINA Approves First Long Sleeve Swim Skin

"...The Rocket Skin™ is the newest and most advanced product in a succession of specially coated, low drag swim skins made by various companies which have chalked up numerous performance records in the past year including the Beijing Olympics.

Marcin Sochacki, founder of Rocket Science Sports and aerospace engineer/designer explains “What sets our swim skin apart from anything seen before are several unique features to solve the issues that plagued other designs. The first is the material thickness. We are using the thinnest and most stretchy 0.3mm fabric on the market which is coated with super low drag Yamamoto SCS coating and allows for better fit, less heat buildup and the freedom of movement expected by pure swimmers.

Because we now have the stretch and most freedom of movement we were able to cover the shoulders and arms with the Yamamoto SCS coating which has 50 times less drag than the human skin. This makes our suit 40% more efficient in the water than other sleeveless models. The difference in glide stroke is amazing! ”

“The Rocket Skin™ has already been used in triathlons for non-wetsuit legal races and we have seen performance advantages of up to 6 seconds per 100 meters and 1500 meter races done in 87 degree water with no issues of overheating,” Marcin continues,

“The last two barriers we have addressed are that of lifespan/durability and potential buildup of water inside the suit in longer events. Because of its amazing durability our Rocket Skin™ is covered by a 1 year warranty. During design we heard of other full body suits having water buildup issues so I designed a panel which allows the body’s natural movement to pump out any excess water that may build up.”

The Rocket Skin™ is expected to be available at the beginning of February, 2009 and will be made in 3 versions including long sleeve with welded construction, a stitched long sleeve and a sleeveless model. ..."

FINA allegedly approves a suit that creates "...a slightly positive buoyancy just below the legal limit."

The company is called Rocket Science Sports and they brazenly state they are officially at the "top of the food chain" in regards to swim suit technology.

I found this story originally at and this is what Craig Lord has to say: "...The food chain?..." "...Sports gear makers who would not have looked towards pool water in the past are now turning their gaze to a sport which is in its infancy in terms of what could be achieved in a world in which the governing body is happy to approve garments that serve as devices and enhance performance. ..." Swim News [Link]

What does Rocket Science Sports have to say? "...Why compromise on performance? It’s as close to a wetsuit you can come for non-wetsuit legal swims. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out a full coverage suit reduces drag more so than a traditional swim skin.

It does however take a rocket scientist to design a full length suit that allows 100% Stroke-Distance Efficiency and to create a revolutionary drainage system within the suit to eliminate water accumulation... Lucky for us we happen to have one on staff.

USAT Approved and Legal for Competition! FINA Approved Version Available Feb. 2009..." [Link]

My personal take is that we are at a "fork in the road" here. We either let swim suit technology rule the day and let said technology create suits that divide the water in front of us like "Mosses," or more ethically, FINA creates a de facto rule set for allowable fabrics, suit styles, and/or textures with none of the above providing no hint of buoyancy whatsoever.

FINA obviously has a motive in all this: I don't know if it is the fees the suit companies pay them to approve these swimsuits or that the sport is drawing more participants as a result of the speedsuit phenomena.

There is a motive in here someplace and someone please find it and tell me what it is?

Speaking of speedsuits, Today was an off day for me at a Short Course Meters meet in Santa Clarita. Even though I swam a 29.01* in a 50-free which is a personal best, and despite swimming with a broken thumb and some spotty workouts leading up to the meet, I felt sloppy and half awake. Nonetheless, I credit the speedsuit for helping with that personal best. When I swam a 200 scm free without a speedsuit, I was off my PB by a second. Note, the race was 20 minutes before the 50-free and I wore briefs and was fatigued thereafter.

Speedsuits are tech dope and I am becoming addicted. Where does swimming go? I don't know!

(*My long course time is a 28.6 so go figure that out why my SCM times are slower.)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Anything called the "schwimmhaus" has to be reported!

From The Schwimmhaus by German architects Confused-Direction is a green hausboot (oops, house boat) designed to float around or just stay put on the shore.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stefan Nystrand and Theresa Alshammar "race" each other in a yogurt commercial!

Alshammar eyes are like blue diamonds with a pupil in the center of each one!

Theresa Alshammar sprinting - Note her head position!

It's official, great swimmers look up when sprinting. So far Cesar Cielo and Alexander Popov are the only swimmers I can find who look down when sprinting.

There is a new Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) in town.

From Live Science: "...The drug, called MK-677, was evaluated for its safety and effectiveness in a study that showed the drug restored 20 percent of muscle mass loss associated with normal aging. In fact, levels of growth hormone (GH) and of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF- I) in healthy seniors who took the drug increased to the levels found in healthy young adults, said Michael O. Thorner, a professor of internal medicine and neurosurgery at the University of Virginia Health System...." [Link]

San Francisco: 'Prop R', the measure to rename a sewage treatment plant after George Bush fails!

From the Los Angeles Times: "...Also in San Francisco, voters turned down a move to rename a city facility the George W. Bush Sewage Treatment Plant in a satirical tribute to the sitting president. Critics called the idea juvenile, but its supporters insisted that it was a teaching opportunity...." [Link]

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tutorial: Breaststroke with a snorkel and building momentum in the breaststroke

I have GOT to master the blacks arts of breaststroke and here is where I am going to do my homework when out of the pool: GoSwim.TV [Link]

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Underwater video of Eamon Sullivan's turnover both in slow motion and real time!

The video quality is sketchy but the value in seeing a turnover like that is inspiring to say the least. I also included what he looks like from above the water. Note where his elbows are in relations to his hands.

Unfortunately, I swim that way too. I feel that Eddie Reese has it right when he says keeping your elbows higher than the hands allows for a faster trajectory back into the water. I am paraphrasing him greatly from the DVD, Eddie Reese on Freestyle, but I feel that geometry backs him up.

Swim movie Hong Kong: 'The Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers!'

I ran into this at 12:31 AM. The title certainly qualifies as "Engrish." If you have to know the plot synopsis, it over here at" [Link]

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Coralie Balmy is dating Alain Bernard!

Nice catch, Alain! She looks very L.A. but without the pretension or the bottle blonde hair.

From Wiki: Coralie Balmy (born June 8, 1987 La Trinité) is a freestyle swimmer from France, who was born in Martinique. She won her first senior title at the European LC Championships 2008 in Eindhoven in the 4x200 relay freestyle. At the same Championships she won the silver medal in the 400 m freestyle with the time of 4:04.15, all-time fourth fastest behind Federica Pellegrini's world record. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, she finished fourth in the 400m freestyle final. [Link]

Original source: Maly! :-) And to back Maly up, here is my credible French source: [Link]