Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Will your speedsuit be outlawed in February or March? - Our national sport governing bodies hope so!

I called TYR and spoke with a PR person regarding the release of the Tracer Rise scheduled for February. While I was on the phone I realized that if Swimming Australia Ltd, USA Swimming, and all of the other anti-speedsuit governing bodies have their way, speedsuits like the Speedo LZR, TYR Tracer Rise, the blueseventy Nero, and many others could be summarily outlawed?

I was told that TYR will move forward with the Tracer Rise; that TYR is sending three representatives to the FINA meeting this February. This person also mentioned that they are anxiously awaiting the "scientific inquiry" from an unnamed university that will submit recommendations and/or suit test guidelines to FINA in March 2009.

So much for transparency with FINA science, huh? Why is the unnamed University kept a secret?
From USA Today:

..." FINA has commissioned research from a university it has not identified to examine the thickness of new suits and design a scientific test that will determine whether they are "credible" within the sport.

Any change in FINA rules could be in place for the 2009 World Championships in Rome from July 18-Aug. 2. ..."


What severely bothers me about this whole process is not just the lack of transparency but rather that the swimmer at large who summarily allows these governing bodies to make vast sums of money are not involved here. It bothers me that women have not been invited to the table as well. All we have been hearing from the press is quotes from the same male coaches presenting the same phrases and talking points that the governing bodies are pushing and it smells of manufactured consent.

As for the public at large, it is demonstrable that swimming is on the radar. Speedsuits are so intriguing to the public that at Macy's in New York, City, the LZR was displayed proudly in their window to attract customers.

From the SF Gate:

For a while, the Macy's store in Union Square devoted a display window to the LZR, although the suits bagged loosely around the waif-like mannequins, making a poor fashion statement and distorting the main benefit of Speedo's innovation.


What pleases me about speedsuits it not only are they a heck of a lot of fun; (ask any Masters Swimmer), they are allowing a level playing field in sprint events. We are seeing large framed men like Matt Greevers, Alain Bernard, winning and setting records. We are seeing smaller framed men like Eamon Sullivan, Garret Weber Gale, setting records as well.

I see fairness and world record bonuses actually making swimming more profitable for the swimmer at large who has no say in whether the sport shuns speedsuits or embraces them.

I also see swim suit companies sponsoring swimming events more so than ever before. It is just a shame that a small group of late-middle-aged men are the only ones that get to decide rather than the swimmers who pay their salaries. I see glowing results enhancing swimming yet no matter how hard these coaches and NGBs "talk story;" (As the Hawaiians say), stating that the sport is in danger, I am not seeing any of that nonsesne.

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