I want to thank Jason Rance very much for taking the time to answer our questions:
Speedo's viewpoint on the recent FINA decision to ban full body suits
The reputation and ongoing success of the sport of swimming is of paramount importance to Speedo and we feel that the introduction of 100% non-permeable buoyant wetsuits cast a shadow over the sport in the run up to the 13th FINA World Championships, putting swimmers in a very compromising situation. Speedo has never sought to compromise the integrity of the sport and has never created a buoyant suit. The Speedo LZR Racer suit was developed after years of intensive research and development in consultation with swimmers, coaches and experts and was fully approved by FINA. The Speedo LZR Racer suit was deliberately designed with 50% exclusive LZR Pulse woven fabric so as to avoid aiding buoyancy in the water. We do have 100% non permeable suits in our collections for triathlon/open water swimming but we believe they do not belong in the pool. Speedo believes a return to textile only body suits as per the Melbourne World Championships 2007 would have dealt with the issue. Despite the decision to return to textile jammers for men and open back knee-skin suits for women, Speedo will continue to work with the world’s leading athletes, coaches and experts to develop the most innovative swimwear and equipment. Speedo accepts FINA’s role in setting and managing the rules and regulations and understands that they had to act to halt the confusion and controversy in the sport of swimming.
The suspicions that Speedo "gamed" FINA into banning speedsuits
Absolutely not. FINA has many partners and sponsors within the sport, Speedo is just one of them. We have consistently followed the rules set out by FINA and have sometimes gone above and beyond these to show our commitment to swimming. There is no truth in the suggestion that Speedo ‘gamed’ FINA into banning speedsuits. The decision taken by FINA with regards to rules and regulations for the sport from 2010 affects all manufacturers including Speedo.
What is Mark Schubert's current relationship with Speedo?
Mark Schubert is one of a number of Speedo Advisory Coaches.
What is Alan Thompson's current relationship with Speedo?
Alan Thompson is the Head Coach for the Australian Swim Team which Speedo sponsors.
Why did Speedo not have an updated suit for World Championships - consequently world records worn in a Speedo have been shredded and may not be recovered for perhaps a generation.
Speedo invests extensive time, resource and money into all its research and development and will not release anything new to the market until it is fully tested and approved to a very high standard. This is a continual process for Speedo with a number of projects running simultaneously at any one time.
Speedo has always felt that the spirit of FINA rules and the intent of coaches is not to allow buoyancy enhancements as part of swimsuit design. We have always felt that fully polyurethane suits or wetsuits that aid buoyancy do not have a place in the sport.
Speedo did not produce a new suit for the 13th FINA World Championships as we firmly believe the Speedo LZR Racer suit was (and is still) the most technically advanced swimsuit that does not aid buoyancy.
Speedo has some very exciting new developments planned to be launched in the very near future within FINA’s latest rules and regulations. We have always worked to produce the most technically advanced swimwear and equipment within the rules of the sport and we will continue to do so
Will Speedo lobby FINA for Masters to retain the right to wear speedsuits?
No. We accept FINA’s decision and Speedo will always operate within the rules of the sport and meet all levels of compliance that is required.
Was Michael Phelps obligated to wear a Speedo Suit at Worlds - could he have worn a different suit covering the name of the different company?
Michael Phelps chose to wear the Speedo LZR Racer at the 13th FINA World Championships. Michael became the most decorated Olympian of all time in Beijing wearing the Speedo LZR Racer and it’s the suit he feels most comfortable in. He is a fantastic ambassador for Speedo and for the sport of swimming and we will continue to work with him on new developments in Speedo swimwear in the future.
Ryan Lochte (amongst other athletes) also chose to wear the Speedo LZR Racer suit and broke a world record in the 200m Medley.
Overall - looking at the last 10 years of having Speedsuits - what has been the impact for Speedo?
The impact for Speedo has been tremendously positive. As innovators within the sport and as a brand that has pioneered throughout the last 80 years Speedo believes technology within sport can only be positive. All competitive sports, from track and field to tennis football and Formula One, have benefited from scientific and technological advancements, and swimming is no different. There’s no doubt that since 2000 when Speedo launched Fastskin for the Sydney Olympics we have seen a tremendous impact from both a brand visibility and financial perspective.
Do they actually have any influence over FINA?
No. As we have said before FINA has many partners and sponsors within the sport and Speedo is just one of them. We welcome transparency within the sport and will continue to share information and best practice at the regular FINA manufacturer meetings which are open to all involved in the industry