Neiva, H. P., Vilas-Boas, J. P., Barbosa, T. M., Silva, A. J., & Marinho, D. A. (2010). 13th FINA world championships: analysis of swimsuits used by elite male swimmers. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 16–19, 2010.

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This study analyzed the distribution of different swimsuits used by male swimmers during the finals at the 2009 World Championships held in Rome. Only the male swimmers participating in 24 individual event finals were analyzed. The type of suit being worn was assessed from television broadcast videos.

Male finalists limited their choice to seven types of swimsuits, of four different brands. Jaked FullŪ was the most used (47%), followed by the Powerskin X-Glide FullŪ (35%), the Powerskin X-Glide PantsŪ (7%), and the LZR Racer FullŪ (5%). Less used were the Jaked PantsŪ (3%), the Hydrofoil FullŪ (1%), and the LZR Racer PantsŪ (1%). Powerskin X-Glide FullŪ was the most used in freestyle events (56%), followed by Jaked FullŪ (29%). In backstroke, male swimmers shared a preference between Powerskin X-Glide PantsŪ and Jaked FullŪ (33% each). All the swimsuits used in the breaststroke finals were Jaked FullŪ (79%) and the Powerskin X-Glide FullŪ (21%). In medley finals, the Jaked FullŪ was most preferred (56%) followed by Powerskin X-Glide FullŪ (25%). Medalists wore the Powerskin X-Glide FullŪ (41%) and 29% wore the Jaked FullŪ.

Implication. Male swimmers preferentially used full swimsuits, covering both the torso and legs. There was a clear preference for two swimsuits types: the Powerskin X-Glide FullŪ and the Jaked FullŪ. It seems these swimsuits had greater success rate for achieving podium places. One can speculate that in backstroke swimming pants were more popular because they are in a dorsal position, where a full swimsuit could not add the benefit of the torso cover. The existence of selected preferences by the swimmers highlights the importance of the swimsuits on performances. The new swimsuit rule should lessen the effects of swimsuits on performances in the near future.

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