Fancy (and expensive) swimwear? Disgusting

  

  Well, I just finished reading this story by our Ken Sugiura on how those involved with the men’s swimming team at Georgia Tech have become the latest to make their sport an absolute joke these days.

  Have you heard? It’s not about the swimmer anymore. It’s about the suits they wear . . . or don’t wear.

  It’s about the Speedo LZR Racer suit that carried Michael Phelps to his Olympic fame this summer in Beijing. According to Ken’s story, 79 of the 108 world records broken in 2008 were reportedly set by swimmers wearing these suits.

  Hello! Two things here: High-tech suits such as the LZR Racer should be banned by the NCAA, especially since only a few schools can afford them in this tough economy at $550 a pop. Second, schools should do the right thing in the meantime and refuse to wear them.

  So much for daydreaming. According to Ken’s reporting, those involved with the Tech men’s team are so obsessed with wearing these suits/trying to win an ACC championship that they’ve often slept three swimmers to a room in cheap hotels to save money to buy the suits.

  I mean, there is a reason why the use of performance-enhancing drugs has been rampant at all levels of sports and at all ages. That motto of “by any means necessary” has spread from the pros to everywhere else. We’re back to this LZR Racer silliness.

  The folks at United States Golf Association get it more than most. They are in the process of mandating a limit on the effectiveness of grooves on clubs. They also are discussing a ban on wedges with lofts of more than 60 degrees.

   Swimming is going the other way. Swimming is going the way of sightings of Big Foot and sluggers from the steroid era, where you can’t take it seriously.

131 comments Add your comment

Doug

February 25th, 2009
3:48 pm

First off, the swimsuits retail at $550 a piece for the model that covers most of the body, other models can be purchased at retail price for $350.00-$450.00. For example breaststrokers almost always use the version that does not cover the legs and arms, and it is $350.00 retail.

Secondly, everyone is always quoting the retail price. Speedo sells the suits to club swimmers at 70% off retail for national level swimmers if the club has a speedo contract. You need to talk to Stu about if Tech as an agreement with Speedo before you start quoting costs that are not real. And if the swimmers want to cut costs to the school to afford the suits, good for the swimmers. You didnt praise their thriftiness in the current bad economy, but no, an athlete from Tech can only “cheat” apparently.

Yes and thank you for accusing my alma mater of cheating. You did not include that Georgia’s mens and womens team wore Blue 70’s, another type of racing suit that costs as much at the SEC’s last weekend at Auburn. I did not see you accuse Jack or YOUR precious Dawgs of cheating.

It is totally your opinon that the speedsuits should be banned by the NCAA. Did I miss the article you wrote about the “cheating” of the major conference football teams when they changed to the more expensive helmets to prevent concussions. Or for the cost of the 100 Black jerseys that Georgia wore in some special game last year.

Lets see wearing a special swimsuit is equalivant to putting harmful chemicals in your body to achieve better results. Am I to assume that the magical powers of the suit are transferred to the individual permanently as with drugs?

Maybe you should learn something about swimming before you show your ignorance to the world in a column. I didnt see you at the US Nationals held at Tech in December. Please go back to writing about the Dawgs and the Braves. I think you owe the coaches and swimmers at Georgia Tech an apology, I know many of them, and for all their hard work you tar them with this piece of crap Mr. Moore.

Patrick

February 25th, 2009
3:46 pm

Terrence, don’t write about things you obviously know nothing about.

Accusing Georgia Tech of cheating for wearing these suits is libel

Comparing the LZR to steroids is simply asinine.

Providing athletes with anything but the best the market has to offer (assuming it’s legality) amounts to neglect of the team. In fact, the crime here is not that Tech Swimmers wore these suits but that they had to stay two and three to a cheap hotel room to be able to do so. The restless night’s sleep they got as a result most certainly hurt them more than the suit helped the next day.

It is uninformed “authorities” like yourself who don’t understand why a swimming budget should provide the proper equipment for its athletes while they bend over backwards to roll out the red carpet for big name sports.

Would you approve if a track team only provided tennis shoes for it’s runners? If the cycling team rode on 100 dollar Wall-mart bikes because racing bicycles cost too much? If the football team used heavier, lower quality pads and helmets because of the price?

Colleges spend outrageous sums of money giving big name sports expensive equipment. They can most certainly afford to provide these swim suits to their swimmers. They simply have other priorities.

Furthermore, performance enhancing drugs (heavily tested for in swimming) provide an outside advantage to an athlete by building an unnatural amount of muscle without work. The athlete is innately better because he has taken an illegal substance.

These suits provide no “Enhancement” whatsoever to performance. An athlete wearing this suit is not stronger. He is simply wearing the suit that is best at eliminating drag (the goal of all speed oriented sports), thereby removing a negative outside impact upon his performance. If the suit was buoyant or had a motor built in, we would be having a different discussion.

The NCAA can’t ban this suit without banning every other competition suit on the market. For decades, swimmers have realized that drag hurts swimming performance greatly. This is why you don’t see us competing in swim trunks. The LZR is just one in a long line of past and future products that does its job well. These suits are painstakingly manufactured and as a result, they bear a high cost. That $550 you quote only looks unreasonable to those who nothing about the sport. Swimmers have been paying around that for top of the line suits for a decade.

To say, however, that a swimsuit is the reason swimmers have crushed world records recently is downright insulting. These athletes sacrifice their entire lives to be the best at the sport, constantly training and honing the newest, most efficient techniques.

It only makes sense to put a swimmer who wakes up at 4am for the first of two daily practices (while trying to get a degree in between) in a top of the line swimsuit, the one that will afford him the ability to perform his best. But the suit does not make the swimmer. The greatest benefit of any top of the line suit is the mental factor. They feel wonderful to wear in the water and help a swimmer to translate constant training into confidence in a race.

Perhaps the reason so many world records have been broken recently has something to do with the fact that swimming is currently dominated by a number of fantastic athletes, the likes of which we have never seen before.

Put Phelps or Lochte or Coughlin in fur coats and work boots and they will still swim world records. You could have put weights in Jordan’s shoes and he still would have flown.

The sport itself is getting faster because the science behind training, nutrition, and coaching has steadily improved. Today we can take the most talented, most dedicated athletes, and use the most sophisticated techniques to make them the best. But for any of that to work, expect 30 hours a week in the water and no days off from age 11. The suit is merely icing on the cake.

Next time you write something, learn just a little bit about the topic first. Just because you specialize in writing opinion articles doesn’t mean that you’re excused from knowing fact. Opinions are thoughts about information, not emotional diatribes without support.

Congratulations on spitting in the faces of dozens of young athletes who have a dedication and a work ethic that you will never know or understand. You might think you do if you played high school or college football or basketball or whatever. But trust me, these kids work way harder than any other non-pro athletes on the planet. Oh, and they’re getting a degree from Georgia Tech while they’re at it.

Kyle

February 25th, 2009
3:44 pm

I don’t think I can add anything more than what the comments have already expressed. This is just a ridiculous article. I think you were trying to make a point about sleeping three to a room to save money to buy suits; however, you only showed how stupid your argument is in calling us cheaters because I’m sure other swimming programs from a larger or smaller school have the money in funds to not sleep 3 to a room and still buy the suits out right. So they’re “cheating” more than us I suppose… Only if I were being totally illogical about the whole situation.

Hey Terence, didn’t you say the triple option wouldn’t work this year? Oh ya, you’re that guy..

Mjacksongt

February 25th, 2009
3:39 pm

I count 1.5 posts in this article defending Terrence Moore. Out of 55. And both of those weren’t really defending him, just admonishing the others who commented on the hostility of the comments.

For me, I think you owe Tech an apology. This is a blatant hatchet job by you. The suits are within the rules, and competing at the highest level in swimming virtually requires them. The students who are on the swim team that are finding ways to pay for them without asking for more money should be commended, not slandered.

Bass_Iree

February 25th, 2009
3:24 pm

Terence you are absolutely pathetic. Your blogs serve no purpose other than insulting sports and giving a useless opinion to Rustle feathers. There is a reason you have not responded to these comments other than one of the first ones that somewhat agreed with you because I think it dawned on you how mental you really are. I also think most of these comments were put up because you pick a sport you obviously know nothing about, pick a topic about the sport you know nothing about, and then you write one lame a** article that wasted a lot of people’s time. Mr. Moore before you ever write a blog anywhere half as ridiculous as this one, get your facts straight and then maybe try and use your small brain to write a blog worthy of reading. Also being closely affiliated to the swim team, only one meet this whole season have the swim team had to sleep three to a room. Maybe you should transfer on over to the entertainment section of the AJC and do a blog of how unfair it is that richer families can afford to take their kids to casting calls and poorer families cannot. Or maybe you should just keep your mouth shut about topics you have no knowledge about.

wxwax

February 25th, 2009
3:21 pm

I meant, “implausible argument”!

Oops.

Daniel

February 25th, 2009
3:20 pm

Absolutely insane. I’ve now lost all respect for Terrence. I understand what your point is, but to present it as the swimmers are somehow cheating is not only poor “journalism” but borderline unethical. I guess it’s a good thing it came from Terrence instead of a respected writer. Atlanta is ashamed to play host to your ignorant ramblings.

wxwax

February 25th, 2009
3:19 pm

Terence,

I don’t blame you for not responding much to people in your blog. I can’t believe how much hostility posters have here. It’s really ugly.

While I think I understand the point you’re making – that suits too expensive for everyone to afford create an uneven playing field — I’m not sure what the remedy is. To follow your logic, swimmers should still be wearing full length suits made of cotton, like in the 1920’s. Swimsuit technology has been evolving for decades. Sometimes there’s a hiccup in price/supply, but it’s going to be temporary. These Nike suits are relatively new. Someday, soon, they won’t be. And by the way, the USGS has been pondering club changes for how long? Decades? The two issues don’t seem to have a lot in common.

As for the comparing a swimsuit to performance enhancing drugs that could have serious, adverse health effects on athletes… well, on its face this is a plausible argument (even for a columnist who needs to be a little outrageous to get people reading and talking. :-) )

All the best, my friend.

Brewer

February 25th, 2009
3:18 pm

Yes we can Terrance, Yes we can!!! But seriously, lay off the “Spread the Wealth Kool-Aid”. I think your brains are gone.

Jaded Jacket

February 25th, 2009
3:16 pm

Wow, you folks are ruthless. Offensive even. Everyone take a deep breath, hold it, hold it, now let it out. Feel better?