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FINA wants to examine slick new swimsuit after wave of world records

FINA wants to examine slick new swimsuit after wave of world records

The slick new swimsuit that has led to 11 world records already this year will be examined by swimming's world governing body amid debate about the quest for speed in the pool.
"There are concerns about suits being like triathlon suits, which are thicker," FINA executive director Cornel Marculsecu was quoted as saying by SwimNews.com on Monday. "There are buoyancy issues. We have to review this."
The 11 records have all been set in the LZR Racer, a sleek, full-length body swimsuit made by Speedo.
Marculsecu said the suit would be discussed at the world short course championships in Manchester, England, next month.
French swimmer Alain Bernard was wearing the LZR suit when he broke three world records in three nights at the European championships _ the 100 freestyle twice and the 50 freestyle.
FINA approved the US$550 (euro355) suit, which is made of extremely lightweight, water repellant fabric _ electronically bonded rather than sewn together _ with special panels to reduce drag.
Bernard has an individual deal with Speedo but his French team is linked to a rival swimwear company and has called for an inquiry into the suit.
"I think it deserves a real debate. It's even worth being analyzed by an ethical committee," French swimming federation technical director Claude Fauquet said.
Speedo also launched a new suit before the world championships in Australia last year.
"At the Melbourne world championships, 11 records fell in four days and there was no call for that suit to be banned," Rob Davies, general manager of Speedo Australia, said Monday in a telephone interview. "It is FINA approved. It is available to everyone."
The increasing use of such suits has led some swimmers to question the growing importance of technology in competition.
"It is going to be a technological battle come the Olympics," South African swimmer Roland Schoeman said at the launch of the Powerskin R-evolution suit by Speedo's rival Arena.
"It would be great to see the final of the Olympics just be basically people and their talent, like Popov when he was just swimming in his briefs," said Schoeman, the world 50-meter butterfly champion. "That is true testament to an individual's work ethic and ability _ more than the suit to help correct any imperfections."
Alexander Popov swam in traditional briefs. The Russian's long-standing 50-meter freestyle world record was broken in February by Eamon Sullivan of Australia, who was wearing the Speedo suit. Bernard lowered it again on Sunday night.
But Schoeman acknowledged a change was unlikely.
"It would be like Tiger Woods going to Nike and saying, 'I want to go back to a wooden driver,'" Schoeman said.


Updated : 2021-10-17 01:32 GMT+08:00