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

1 comment:

Ahelee said...

I think that photo comes from "Media Day" at the Olympic Trials when Speedo offered to give sports journalists the opportunity to try "the suit" out for themselves!