Bad news for the free market of swimming came this week as Nike declared itself "out of the elite swim wear market". It stated that they are no longer going to be in the business of providing high tech suits to the sport. They said something about it not being in their corporate business model...sounds like another politician speaking.
From here it looks as if the 800lb gorilla in swimming named Speedo won this round so clearly and financially devastatingly that Nike was unwilling to keep after the lucrative swim market. We know nothing about either companies' business plans or their financial interests. We only know what we see poolside.
We know that the high tech suits from Speedo are in the $500 range and those from blueseventy are only slightly less expensive. Speedo suits are reportedly good for a handful or so of races while blueseventy are good for a few dozen (we haven't used ours that long to know for certain).
We know that with one less major manufacturer in the game all consumers suffer. We suffer from a lack of choices. We suffer from a lack of competition which helps the product get better and cheaper over time. We know that athletes suffer from a smaller range of corporate sponsors. Aaron Piersol, Branden Hansen and all former Nike suit athletes now can try to get a deal with a field that is significantly smaller. And the teams that counted on their relationship with Nike are also left to ponder "What next?"
We have seen what happens to our country when there are only two choices at the top. Let's hope the same thing doesn't happen to our sport.