Wednesday, July 2, 2008

You mean you want them to start wearing briefs again?

The LZR Racer Concept, from

"To design the ultimate suit offering a fabric with the lowest friction drag, constructed to compress the swimmer into the smoothest, streamlined shape and designed to ensure the full range of movement to win."

What a high-priced competition suit, from the Aquablade to the LZR, aims to do is reduce drag, squish your body into the smallest space possible, and give you that little mental edge when you compete.

If you don't do the work, you don't get the results. Wearing a Fastskin (or now, the LZR) is not going to give you your personal best time. Practicing twice a day every day for months will. The reason for wearing the LZR is to give you the edge to squeeze every last bit of result out of your training. What do the top swimmers say is the biggest help they get from the LZR? Mental edge. Just like shaving down is 1% physical and 99% mental, the LZR -- despite being partially engineered by NASA -- is more mental than physical when it comes to swimming.

The only people out there condemning the new technology that's being used to engineer these "space age" suits are those who follow swimming once every 4 years. I heard something about an "unfair advantage" and I laughed out loud. Speedo sent 2,500 LZR suits to Omaha be given out to swimmers at Trials. Even athletes sponsored by other companies, such as TYR and Nike, are choosing to wear the LZRs. Unfair advantage? Maybe if only the Speedo athletes could wear them, but that's not the case. Maybe if only the American athletes could wear them, but again, that's not the case.

As a swimmer, I'm familiar with the purposes of these fancy-pants competition suits. I understand the technology they use and most importantly I understand that no LZR is going to make a world record-breaker out of a guy (or girl) who doesn't put the hours in the pool chasing that black line every day.

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