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Thread: Swimming: FINA "absolute disgrace" over suits, says Hackett

  1. #1
    Elite Member Wiseguy's Avatar
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    Default Swimming: FINA "absolute disgrace" over suits, says Hackett

    Is anybody watching the world swimming championships? I agree 100% with what swimmer Grant Hackett says in the below article:

    Swimming: FINA "absolute disgrace" over suits, says Hackett
    Posted: 28 July 2009 1639 hrs

    SYDNEY : Australian swimming legend Grant Hackett has branded the sport's governing body an "absolute disgrace" after its decision to allow bodysuits at the World Championships triggered a glut of new records.

    Hackett called for FINA's leadership to be sacked after seeing fellow Australian Ian Thorpe's seven-year 400m freestyle world mark erased by supersuit-wearing Paul Biedermann.

    "I hate saying this because I sound like a bad sport, but that world record would not have gone without that suit," Hackett said, according to The Australian on Tuesday.

    Hackett's 800m and 1,500m freestyle times are the last pre-bodysuit world records still standing after 11 marks fell in just two days at Rome, the newspaper said.

    "What FINA's top officials have done to the sport, what they have allowed to happen, is an absolute disgrace," Hackett said.

    "New leadership is needed to look after the sport. I'm furious at FINA. I don't know who's running the show at the moment but they've shown an absolute lack of leadership that has undermined and compromised the sport."

    FINA has announced a ban on the polyurethane-based swim suits which does not take effect until next year, prompting some ultra-fast times by comparatively minor names.

    Along with Germany's Biedermann, Swedish teenager Sarah Sjostrom and American Ariana Kukors have also set tongues wagging by both clocking world records on consecutive days.

    "There are going to be huge controversies about this," top Australian coach Ken Wood told public broadcaster ABC.

    "These records are still going to be there in 40 years."

    - AFP/vm
    channelnewsasia.com - Swimming FINA absolute disgrace over suits, says Hackett

  2. #2
    Silver Member Alleycat's Avatar
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    I've been watching some of this. I've always wondered why all the world records were being broken with ease - and it's all because of the suits? Interesting. Some records are being blown out of the water.

    On a totally pervy note the men's suits are very...revealing

    I love watching Phelps. Was a bit shocked when he got the silver.

    Tom Daley was brilliant in the diving. He's going to be a real medal chance at the Olympics in 2012.

  3. #3
    Elite Member calcifer's Avatar
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    i disagree. almost all sports have benefited from advancements in technology at some point. in cycling, for example, all the focus in equipment design is on the aerodynamic properties which led to the introduction of carbon fibre bike frames etc. etc. records get broken there too. F1 is another sport where aerodynamics is a pretty big concept. it's not just swimming. so i don't think fina did anything wrong here.

    eta: athletics, too (footwear).

    Quote Originally Posted by Alleycat View Post
    I've always wondered why all the world records were being broken with ease - and it's all because of the suits?

    How do full polyurethane swimsuits work?


    by Lachlan Thompson

    What are these now banned super fast swim suits and how do they work? Would they help a non sporting person like my self swim faster?



    Unlike the early “shark skin” swim suits which were made of a textured woven fabric, the latest suits are made from a thin layer a flexible and stretchable closed cell foam material. Each micro closed cell is a pocket of gas which is less dense than water. The swim suit gives the swimmer extra buoyancy allowing the swimmer to float slightly higher in the water. The more of the swimmer that can be lifted above the water the less the resistance or drag on the swimmer. This is because the resistance of a person swimming in water is 780 times higher than if they were swimming in air. The more of the body out of the water the faster the swimmer — even if it is only half a millimetre more it is an advantage.


    Shape is important as well. Nature is a good example of what is needed to be a fast swimmer. The fastest swimming fish like trout have sleek, smooth flowing lines with no bumps or protrusions. As soon as we put on a pair of pants we have waste band which is across the direction we are swimming. This is why the new suits start at the shoulders and go all the way to the feet. The modern neck-to-knee racing suit turns the human body into a sleek graceful shape of lowest possible resistance.


    Surface texture is important and the first “shark skin” suits exploited this. They used tiny hairs on the surface to reduce the friction of the suit in the water combined with tidying up the human body shape.


    FINA has announced rule changes for 2010 which will prevent the buoyancy foam skin from being used and athletes will have to revert to all fabric suits which do not provide this extra lift out of the water.


    There are spin-off benefits to the average person wearing super swim suits. The most important one is the role model effect of body suits being acceptable and useful. The more children and adults we have wearing these suits on our beaches the less cases of skin cancer we will have to treat. On that basis alone super swim suits are a gold medal winner for all.


    So to the second question — would such a suit help me swim faster — the answer is yes. However the advantage of 2 to 3 seconds for elite athlete is fantastic but the slower the swimmer you are the less the time advantage. This is why the public will be able to purchase them in go faster colours.


    (Personal Comment: If I may venture a personal opinion, the technology allows the athlete to reach their highest personal potential. The swimming performances are a celebration of how we have used technology to improve our life on this planet, the more that we realise we can work with technology in every part of our life gives us the confidence that we can tackle the environment and other challenges facing our future.)

    Lachlan Thompson is Associate Professor Aerospace Engineering. He is the creator and designer of the “Superbike” used by the Australian cycling team and is a consultant on aerodynamics and the engineering design of sports equipment and clothing. He is also the University’s research leader in Space Technology.[source]
    Last edited by calcifer; August 2nd, 2009 at 06:03 PM.

  4. #4
    Elite Member Wiseguy's Avatar
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    ^^^In this instance, it's a case of "may the best suit win". These suits are performance enhancing. When you have the guy who was 21st in the world breaking a world record by 6 seconds, then it's a problem.

    Michael Phelps has spoken out in disgust at the suits and many other world record holders are backing him up. They are threatening to withdraw from future world meets until these suits (which were previously banned) are banned once more. FINA is a disgrace for allowing this and heads should roll over this decision.

    If these records are allowed into the history books, and the suits get banned again (which is highly likely) then these world records are likely to be held for 40 years.

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    THE MIND WOBBLES: The New Speedo LZR Hypocrisy Racer

    Stunning Michael Phelps in Rome at the World Swimming Championships, Paul Biedermann of Germany beat Phelps by nearly a body length in the 200 meter freestyle. Biedermann acknowledged that his suit, the Arena X-Glide, gave him an advantage over swimmers wearing the less advanced Speedo LZR Racer, adding that he will be happy when these techno-suits are banned in 2010.

    Here's the kicker, though. Michael says that he will be glad when the suits are banned also because it will be "fun next year when swimming is back to swimming." Then he proceeded to act absolutely peeved about coming in second (understandable). But...wasn't he just endorsing the advantage-giving LZR Racers in the Olympics? A suit that not all the swimmers were wearing or had access to? He seemed perfectly happy with a suit giving an advantage when it was his suit.

    Phelps' coach, Bob Bowman, then states that Michael may not swim in any events until FINA gets the new rules banning the suits implemented. He pretty much pitched a fit:
    "Probably expect Michael not to swim until they are implemented. I'm done with this. It has to be implemented immediately. The sport is in shambles right now and they better do something or they're going to lose their guy who fills these seats."
    "That would be my recommendation to him, to not swim internationally he might swim locally. But who knows. The mess needs to be stopped right now. This can't go on any further."
    UUUUUGGGGHHH!!!! That might be more convincing if his athlete hadn't just received a $1 million bonus for giving the LZR Racer more free publicity than they could ever have hoped for. And you can bet that if Michael Phelps wasn't under some kind of contractual obligation to Speedo he would be wearing one of those new suits and not complaining one bit.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Wiseguy's Avatar
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    ^^^I see your point. But how about other athletes who have broken world records in the past (like Ian Thorpe) the hard way? Those records are being smashed due to technology, not through athletic achievement.

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    Gold Member BlameItOnVanity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseguy View Post
    ^^^I see your point. But how about other athletes who have broken world records in the past (like Ian Thorpe) the hard way? Those records are being smashed due to technology, not through athletic achievement.
    ITA this is key.. it becomes less about who is the best swimmer and more about who has the best technology. to me thats not sport.

  8. #8
    Elite Member calcifer's Avatar
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    interesting article, celeb_2006. i completely agree with that blogger.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseguy View Post
    ^^^In this instance, it's a case of "may the best suit win". These suits are performance enhancing. When you have the guy who was 21st in the world breaking a world record by 6 seconds, then it's a problem.
    i can understand the frustration. esp. in the beginning stage when these suits are first introduced and not every swimmer has access to one. and a lot of records get broken by no big names in swimming who may not perform on the same level as the established names but were lucky enough to find a 'good' sponsor. but i'm sure that in x couple of months the situation will stabilize somewhat, when more sponsors will have access to these kinds of swimsuits and talent & hard work will become the deciding factor again.
    also, in the article i posted, it said the difference in time could only be 2-3''. which means that out of those 6'' at least a 3" difference is made by talent/better condition/... which is still considered a huge difference in swimmming... enough to win, no?
    it's not clear to me what is to be gained by trying to stop technology from advancing. because i'm certain that the performance of the average swimsuit in the '80s is in no way comparable to -for example- the lzr racer. which means - if we want to be consistent- that every record made since the introduction of more modern swimsuits has to be annulled too. ah yes, it's only fair.

    If these records are allowed into the history books, and the suits get banned again (which is highly likely) then these world records are likely to be held for 40 years.
    why not? maybe they should list the type of swimsuit with the times if it makes people feel better.
    and i doubt those records will be held for 40 years, with the way technology advances at breakneck speed, they will not even last for 5 years before another type of suit is introduced on the market. and then the situation we are facing now, will repeat itself.
    every sponsor wants the best suits technology has to offer. and while the situation may seem tense now, the best thing you can do about it imo, is wait until it stabilizes by itself. and i'm sure it will.


    here are the new guidelines for swimsuits:

    MATERIAL – The material of the swimsuits will definitively be constituted only by textile fabric(s). The definition of "textile" will be made by a group of scientific experts chosen by FINA and led by Prof. Jan-Anders Manson, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne (SUI). This definition will be available to manufacturers by no later than September 30, 2009. The first definition of "textile" to be further confirmed by this group is: "Material consisting of, natural and/or synthetic, individual and non consolidated yarns used to constitute a fabric by weaving, knitting, and/or braiding."
    Quote Originally Posted by BlameItOnVanity View Post
    ITA this is key.. it becomes less about who is the best swimmer and more about who has the best technology. to me thats not sport.
    look at what nike did in the '90s. they put billions of $s into research & development. and more than 1 big name in sports then, who was sponsored by nike of course, benefited from that.
    Last edited by calcifer; August 3rd, 2009 at 06:39 AM.

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    Bronze Member Banshee's Avatar
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    I am torn on this one. I'm probably dating myself here, but I swam during the age of the paper suit. It was still fabric, but it was the smallest, tightest, thinnest suit you could imagine and it took me a full 10 minutes to even get it on. Obviously, I didn't make it to the Olympics, but I swam at the Nationals level and that was the biggest advantage there was- paper suits. Whoever beat you beat you because they were better swimmers and I liked that playing field. Everyone had access to them, most companies paper suits were comparable and they weren't light years ahead of the suits used 20 years before.

    On the other hand, all sports benefit from technological advances- track runners aren't still wearing the kind of shoes that their predecessors did in the 60's and 70's. I think it's the nature of sports to improve equipment in the hopes of improving performances and therefore the sport. The only real pieces of equipment in swimming are caps, goggles and suits. Nothing much to be done about the first two, so they focus on the suits.

    Swimming isn't the most popular of sports, at least not over here, so I kind of like that sports companies are investing money into improving its technology like they have so many other sports.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    I think everyone should wear the same thing (either that suit or the speedos) so that it can be fair.

  11. #11
    Hit By Ban Bus!
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    bring back speedo's...haha i see more bulge that way

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    ^ And that, too.

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    Elite Member C_is_for_Cookie's Avatar
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    My problem with FINA is that they are allowing it now, but will ban it soon. Why bother allowing it now and not just ban it and even out the playing field that way.

    On another note, I can't stand Phelps. He just annoys me. Great in the pool, immensely annoying outside of it.

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    I thought it was a disgrace because of this: http://www.totalprosports.com/blog/w...suit-rip-1.jpg

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."

    -- Stephen Hawking

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    The athletes should enter the pool with no advantage over another except for one's athleticism. If that means banning the suits, or having them ALL wear them, then ok. I still like the idea of the original nude Olympics.

    The record books should be filled with asterisks every time there is a new technology added, to mark what is actually going on. Otherwise there are apples and oranges on the same list. It also takes a lot of the sport away from the athletes and into the hands of sponsors/developers. A sponsor can choose someone for the inside track, so to speak, and they get all the lovely benefits. When they decide to launch a new product, the might go for them again, or choose a new star, making the old suit and records obsolete and old news.

    And Phelps is a total hypocrite. He was happy to pump his fist in the air as Mr. #1 when he was wearing suits that not everyone else had. Typical bad sport finding excuses and stomping off until everyone else 'stops cheating.'

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