Monday, August 08, 2011

Follow up to the "Anonymous Professional Swimmer" post!

A SCAQ teammate made a comment that inspired our "Anonymous Professional Swimmer" to comment regarding their real feelings about tech-suits. I was so impressed that I asked him to do a guest blog in which he agreed.

See his posts here: Part One: [Link] Part Two: [Link]

Today I got a letter from the same teammate who offers a brilliant recap - By the way, this gentleman is... I'll just say he is a CEO-type:

Great "get" on the pro swimmer. The law of unintended consequences at work. Big bonuses they paid for WRs caused suit makers to re-trench instead of renegotiating contracts - so now they pay no money.
It was a bad business practice on the part of the suit companies that hurt the pro swimmers; not the use of the tech-suits themselves.

Ultimately, there is a need to promote the brands but right now there is no promotion needed because there is no public interest.

Fundamental premise was to get the suits on as many swimmers with WR potential as possible but too many succeeded. Without tech suits, it is much harder to break current WRs so why wouldn't the smart company offer serious bonuses to all who wear their non-tech suits knowing the rare bird who does break a record will get huge coverage?

It gets back to the companies, they do not need a stable of swimmers to promote a brand, tech suit, or no tech suit. All the tech suit debacle showed them was they don't need the stable. So, it gets back to your view that the organization that oversees the sport needs to do a better job of providing financial opportunities for the swimmers since the commercial interests have no incentive to do so, their job is to sell stuff.

I think this dialog between both you and our pro swimmer is the most enlightening conversation I have read in the past five-years of SCAQ blogging. With college programs closing, our dominance in the the sport diminishing as witnessed by the 2011 FINA World championships: i.e. Where are our freestyle sprinters? Our distance swimmers? And one could argue as to what has happened to our breaststroke and backstroke portfolio? One now has to ask why become a professional swimmer?

If there is no economic incentive to become a swimmer, where is this sport going to end up?


Cliff Murray said...

I think I know where our "missing" swimmers are, and it does not have much to do with the suits, but rather the progression of swimming in the USA. I have done some number crunching, and I have to say, we are missing the boat on this.

In my slog, at, I have a post "The Facts about Senior Swimming in America"...the thesis of which is that we are, through the progression of championship meets that we offer, primarily catering to the early bloomers...especially on the men's side.

Having said that, I do think that "tech suits" are the devil. They pretty much create a divide between the haves and have nots in our sport. I don't think the suits do much for outreach in the sport. Please see "Why we don't need "Tech Suits" in Swimming" in my slog as well.

Tony Austin said...

I will look soon.