Sunday, June 8, 2008

What Makes Something Real?

The swim suit wars have heated up, or should we say, the battle has been joined. The cover of this month's Swimming World Magazine shows an underwater photo of the TYR Tracer Rise and the new Speedo LZR suit with a swimmer between in what presumably is yet another suit. The title on the cover is "Meet the New World Record Holders". It implies that the suits are the new record holders. And on page 6 publisher Brent Rutemiller writes an article titled "A Voice for the Sport - Who Rules The Pool?"

What follows is in interesting look at the FINA rule GR 5.5(b) Material. He states that "FINA changed the definition of fabric altogether, catching many leading manufacturers, athletes and national governing bodies completely by surprise during an Olympic year."

Just this week FINA announced that new suits by Mizuno, Arena and Adidas have been cleared as meeting the rule. Others cannot be far behind.

And the Olympic Trials in Omaha for US swimmers begin on the 28th of this month! The Games themselves begin August 8th in Beijing, China.

SwimCoachDirect has been intimately involved in the Olympic experience since 1972. We know what is at stake when it comes to racing for one of the most coveted prizes in our sport. We can say without a doubt that each swimmer has "the suit" on their minds. "The suit" is the one which each individual believes will help her/him swim fastest.

At the end of the day, it is the swimmer inside the suit that achieves recognition, either personally or worldwide. Today at the Japan Open Kosuke Kitajima set a new world record in the mens 200 breast with a time of 2:07.51, breaking Brendan Hansen's 2 year old time of 2:08.50. Earlier Kitajima wore a T-shirt stating stating "I am the swimmer" in protest of the Japanese Swimming Federation restrictions on the suits that Japanese swimmers can wear.

Each swimmer will definitely wear the one he/she believes is the fastest. As many elite swimmers have, Kitajima choose the LZR. At this level no one wants to take a chance. Each swimmer wants everything available, within the legal limits. That, in our opinion is what makes something real.

As you watch the coverage on TV (or in person if you are so fortunate) be ready for lots of discussions and debates over "the suit".

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