Swimming Technology

The sporting world is often plagued by the question, who is really responsible for the win, is it solely the athlete or could technology be influencing the result?

Swimshop.co.uk decided to look into this question, taking examples from three major racing sports: Men’s 100m Freestyle Swimming, Men’s 100m sprint running, and indoor cycling. It is fascinating to look at the progression of Men’s 100m Freestyle World Record against the progresses in technology throughout the years. For example, when we look at the records around the time of 1936, we see a significant improvement – this is because the tumble turn was invented, slicing seconds off World Record times.

The main controversy in the swimming world centered around the outrageous times achieved by athletes in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Speedo invented the LZR Racer swimsuit, made of PU it increased buoyancy, aerodynamics and compression allowing professional athletes to improve their times by up to 2%!

Amazingly, 89% of all swimming medals were won by athletes wearing the Speedo LZR Racer, even more amazingly, 94% of all swimming gold medals were won by those wearing the LZR!

Later, in 2009 at the World Championships, athletes managed to break 93 world records whilst wearing the new suit. As a consequence, FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) the swimming governing body, banned all swimsuits made from PU.

They maintained that ‘swimming is a sport essentially based on the physical performance of the athlete’, in their opinion the suits were changing the fundamental nature of swimming and therefore could not be part of the sport. Swimming should be about the athlete’s ability and the race should be on a level playing field, giving every athlete the same opportunity to achieve his best.

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Courtesy of swimshop.co.uk

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