TESTIMONIES ABOUT BODYSUITS
From an article by Philip Hersh, June 1, 2000. Chicago Tribune [Olympic Writer]
Some still want the suit banned on grounds it violates FINA rules prohibiting devices that aid a swimmer's speed, endurance or buoyancy. "[Manufacturers] say it's not buoyant, but I had the sensation of riding higher in the water," said Tom Malchow of the University of Michigan, a 1996 Olympic silver medallist in the 200-meter butterfly.
That was only one of the pleasant sensations Malchow had after wearing the short-sleeved version of the neck-to-ankle Speedo bodysuit at last weekend's Key Bank Swim Classic in Ann Arbor.
Sunday, in what was a low-key tune-up meet, Malchow clocked 1:55.68 for the 200 butterfly, missing his U.S. record by just .28 of a second. It still was the third fastest time ever.
"I would have been happy with anything under two minutes," he said. Malchow, who never before had raced with clothing on his torso, said the bodysuit made him feel as if he were "sliding through the water, and my legs didn't feel as fatigued."
He did not know how much could be attributed to the suit.
"I just came down from three weeks training at altitude, and that could have been a factor too," he said. "This isn't going to turn an average swimmer into an Olympian, but it may give a great swimmer another tenth or two-tenths [of a second]."
The 6-foot-7-inch Malchow said he may benefit from it more because of its size.
"I have a lot more fabric to work with," he said.
Malchow's coach, Jon Urbanchek, believes some of the benefit may be psychological, and that advantage may owe in part to the novelty of wearing the suit. That is why Malchow won't use it much before the U.S. Olympic trials in August.
"I don't want to abuse it," he said. "I want it to feel awesome and new."
Postscript: At Malchow's next competition, the Charlotte Ultraswim meet, he broke Dennis Pankratov's world record for 200-m butterfly while wearing a Fastskin bodysuit and being untapered.]
COACH PAUL BERGEN
June, 2000 - [referred source]
De Bruijn swam in the controversial sleeveless Speedo "Fastskin" swim suit, and Bergen said the suit deserves at least some of the credit for the swim. "We've done over 300 trials with 10 swimmers, comparing the Fastskin to a regular suit. The difference is four- to five-tenths of a second per 25 meters. Of course, it would be less if the swimmers in the regular suits had been shaved. But still you're probably talking about seven or eight tenths of a second difference per 100 meters. That's a lot."
Australian Associated Press, June 12, 2000 Canberra, Australia
"It's not like she's going from 50th in the world," Bergen told ABC radio of Australia.
He said the biggest difference had come from her exercise regime, which includes rope climbing, running and weights -- more like a male swimmer's program. The other major difference was the new bodysuits, he said.
Bergen said he had run more than 300 trials in practice with 20 different swimmers and the suit was between four-tenths and six-tenths of a second faster over 25 meters.
"That's two seconds in 100 yards," he said. "So I think that suit is a piece of equipment. I don't see it as a costume."
Bergen denied that his swimmer took drugs.
"She gets tested like everybody else. They're running random tests on her constantly," Bergen said. "This is a girl that doesn't want to take an aspirin if she's got a headache, you know, won't take any cold medicine. If they're worried about that, then that's just fine with me, because I know how clean she is and how clean she'll test under any circumstances."
[From a time-keeper at the 2000 Speedo Grand Challenge hosted by the Irvine Novas.]
Anyway, I heard - over and over - the following comment by the athletes wearing the suits "they float," "they make me light," and so on. Or take this comment from Jason Lezak, US national 100 meter free champion the past two years, following a no-competition 49.57 prelim swim...gets out of the pool, big smile on his face, looks up at his waiting buddies, and says two words: "It floats!" Lezak, by the way, did not swim with a well-fitted suit. He swam with the same style as the DeBruijn suit (ankle length, but sleeveless, with an upper shaped similarly to the original back-zip Aquablade). But the under-arm area was flaring way outward, away from the skin, leaving a forward facing scoop which no doubt negated some of the streamlining and buoyancy advantages of the suit.
NATIONAL COACH OF A SMALL COUNTRY
[Personal communication - June 21, 2000]
I do not see how these suits could work without exact sizing. I sent very specific measurements for 2 male and 2 female athletes. They sent standard sizing. There is not a single body suit that could work on them without serious bunching up at key points. I do not see how the Men's jammer suit is much different from the Aquablade. Ironically, the preferred suit of the girls is the normal back suit that goes to jammer length. I think sizing may have a lot to do with that. We are going to try them out a little more at a meet this weekend in Ft Lauderdale. I must tell you that without research, I have a hard time banning the material outright but I do feel that the size and areas allowed to be covered needs to be limited. I cannot stress how useless the suit becomes if poorly fitted further increasing the disparity between the haves and have nots.
[The Sydney Morning Herald, July 5, 2000, page 11]
She said that she was exited by the impending Olympics but was critical of the use of the controversial bodysuits by today's swimmers.
She says they should not be used during the Games. "I don't think they should be used because I think they create buoyancy," she said. "What has happended with the rules in swimming, they have not kept up with the technological changes of the swimsuit. Everyone agrees they create more streamlining so it reduces friction in the water, but I think they create buoyancy and that's a device . . . and in the rules you can't use devices."
[USA Today, June 30, 2000]
''It helps you keep your body higher in the water,'' said American star Lenny Krayzelburg, world record holder in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke. ''When you keep you body higher, you keep your stroke technique going and that improves the times. That's the most important thing - sustaining proper technique throughout the race.'' Krayzelburg prefers a suit that goes only from his waist to his knees. ''I have tried (the full bodysuit) and I did like it a lot," he said. ''I just like the feel of the water on my body.''
[Associated Press: July 20, 8:00 AM]
Bill Pilczuk believes the full-length suits should be banned for all meets because they favor muscle-bound swimmers over skinnier athletes.
"The whole suit floats you. The more buoyancy you get, the less you have to pull through the water," he said. "When you put material that floats on people who have more muscle, they can float better. I don't think it's a very level playing field."
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