Smith, J. W., Molloy, J. M., & Pascoe, D. D. (2003). The efficacy of body suits at reducing drag and oxygen cost in competitive swimming. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(5), Supplement abstract 537.

Male collegiate swimmers (N = 9) performed a number of tasks either clad in a body suit or a normal suit. First, a number of platform drops from 1, 3, and 5 m were performed and decent in the water measured (Ss N = 8). Second, Ss (N = 8) were pulled passively through the water in a streamlined position while towing force was measured. Third, Ss (N = 6) completed a 400 yd freestyle swim several times with VO2 and lactate being measured.

The platform drops showed significantly different decent velocity curves. There were no significant differences in towing force or 400 yd performance time. [It was not mentioned, and so is assumed, that Ss were not shaven when in the traditional suit.] The 400-yd swim showed no significant difference in the VO2 of the swimmers between the two suits.

Implication. Body suits have negligible benefits for the swimming performance of males.

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