Friday, December 19, 2008

'Swimming Australia Limited' will tell FINA that swimsuit designs circa 1970 should be the de facto standard!

They didn't exactly say it that way but according to Swim News, Swimming Australia Limited is making these suggestions to FINA in February:
"Men's swimwear shall be limited to one swimsuit that covers, at most, the 
body surface from hips to knee. Swimwear must not extend above the waist or 
below the knees

 [Read as jammers only]

Women's swimwear shall be limited to one swimsuit that is of "open back"
and "open shoulder" designs that may extend down to the knee. Swimwear must 
not extend below the knees. 

[Read as a short-john with no zipper]

General: Swimwear must not have a zipper or any type of fastening system.

All swimwear worn by competitors in Age Group Events (18 and under)
 conducted in Australia by SAL shall be commercially available products ..."

If the USMS is force to agree with these standards, I would own over $500 worth of suits that I couldn't wear to a meet. I am sure that there are other swimmers, who have way more money invested than I do.

These three stories this year have placed our sport on "pop-culture's radar!" they include!
  1. Speedsuits (NASA said it was their biggest story)
  2. Michael Phelps (Sports Illustrated has magazines and books about him)
  3. Dara Torres (Masters swimming has never been bigger I bet?)
I think it is demonstrable that speedsuits have been good to swimming both economically and growth-wise. In he past couple swim networks have grown as has television coverage.

Here are some rhetorical question for "suit burners:"
  1. Did helmets, face masks and/or shoulder pads make American football less exciting or less pure of a sport?
  2. Has the swimming population decreased this year as a result of speedsuits or has it increased?
  3. Will there be more swimming related investment if speedsuits are banished?
Above is a photo I found at therein is a page dedicated to retro-Burbank, California.


Merritt Johnson said...

It is really beginning to seem to me that a lot of the suit uproar is caused by long retired swimmers who are upset that people are now going faster than they ever dreamed. Ask the current and future talent what they want. Regardless of what the suit regulations are new designs will be developed, that conform to these regulations, which will be better than anything previously worn.

Scott said...

Tsk, tsk Merritt. You can only disparage the eminently logical complaints about the new suits by ignoring the overwhelming evidence they are not only illegal under already existing rules but harming the sport. That dismissive attitude exhibits the very same condescension which has enabled the U.S. auto industry to come close to extinction. It is ridiculous to contend all the national swimming federations have come out against the new technosuits because of a widespread inferiority complex. Personally speaking Mark Spitz swam faster than I ever dreamed of doing - so the times of Phelps, Adlington, and Rice exist in my mind only as mild curiosities of human accomplishments.

Scott said...

I favor the proposed rule changes submitted by the Australian federation over U.S. Swimming's proposals, I believe the elimination of the zipper and open back and shoulders for women, along with only jammers for men, eliminates the possibility of incorporating targeted compression into suit design, which has been the nexus for the remarkable performance advances enabled by today's latest suits. Let material design continue to advance - the more 'slippery' the better, but get rid of suits which create better body position regardless of ability.

Tony Austin said...

Scott, respectfully, it's harming your morals not the sport. The sport is doing great right now and hopefully FINA is recognizing it.

Universal Sports covered the World Cup, NBC has acknowledged that they want to see more swimming, We got FLoswimming, Swim Network, more swimming related ecommerce action, and we don't have single swimmer dynasties monopolizing events.

Swimming has more personalities now than it did 4 years ago. Back then you had Thorpe, Phelps, Amanda Beard!

Now there is Bernard, Leveaux, Sulllivan, Mnaudou, Pellegrini, Hoff and even the Latin America's best sprinter Cesar Cielo! We are more global than ever.

I like the fact that if a Peter Marshall shows up, or a Garrett Weber Gale, Cullen Jones, etc., things might get mixed up.

Put one on, have some fun

Scott said...

But Tony - your argument is identical to mine - that it is the sport's stars who make it interesting, not the equipment they use (or world records they set). Going beyond that the idea that I feel inferior because Michael Phelps (or Peter Marshal, Manaudou, Sullivan, or Rice for that matter) are so much faster is absurd. For me to envy their talent would be no different than me being jealous of a woman's ability to give birth. It is simply not conceivable. Just as it is equally inconceivable as to why anyone would want to buy a device to help performance in a sport which measures personal accomplishment.