Monday, July 13, 2009
Editorial: More technical suits means a bigger, better, and a richer sport!
Editorial: Swimming is both a sport and a recreational activity. Swimming is not a religion nor a philosophy.
FINA is not the "Vatican" nor are they our "Confucius."
FINA's sole duty is to steward swimming into the future and not to keep it mired in some forgotten tar pit.
The rules of swimming can change, they are not carved-in-stone on some marble-tablet but rather written down with pencil and paper. These rules are "erasable" and "revisable" so that swimming can change and be as flexible as possible so as to adapt to the changing interests of the competitor and spectator.
If suit rules remain inflexible and revert back to the restrictions of 1975, suit manufacturers will have far fewer profit centers since how much can you charge an athlete for a pair of briefs or jammers versus the variations of the technical suit?
Subsequently, fewer profit centers mean less sponsorship money. A CEO recently told me those very words while sitting in a bar in Lusanne, Switzerland after a FINA meeting.
The oversupply of technical suit makers has made this a great year to be a swimmer.
Talented athletes like Chloe Sutton, Mary DeScenza, Peter Marshall, and best of all, Rowdy Gaines, have energized all venues of American swimming from the age groupers at the local level, the collegiate swimmers, and finally, the masters swimmers.
These deals have demonstrably made our sport bigger as well: On the SPMA.net website, our western zone is boasting over 4000 swimmers now. The biggest number it has ever seen I believe and I attribute this to Dara Torres, Technical innovation and the support form suit manufacturers who write inspiring ads and sponsor both open water events and swim meets.
Jaked, and blueseventy have now become the innovators inspiring the likes of TYR to build better suits such as the A7 and the Titan. Opportunity and a free market for ideas will make the sport bigger and better.
There is now have talk of building a pro-league because of suit interests and suit companies will probably help build it.
The photo above is of the La Brea Tar Pits, about 14-miles from my house. I got the photo from PaperMag Word up: [Link]
If only that mammoth had a speedsuit.