FINA, which is the world’s governing body of swimming and not a cold, refreshing fruit juice, imposed a ban on the full-body swimsuits that are getting a lot of the credit for the 105 world records in swimming broken in 2008. The suits, whose construction allows for more buoyancy and less drag in water, will be forbidden after Sunday’s world championships.
FINA has banned bodysuits altogether for the men, limiting them to so-called “jammers” that go only from the waist to the top of the knees. Women will be able to wear suits that must stop at the shoulders and the top of the knees.
It’s a stunning change for a sport that took its first drastic turn at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when Ian Thorpe showed up wearing a daunting black suit that covered everything but his head, feet and hands. via.
I’m not a big fan of imposing limits on technology in general. It’s one thing when race cars are flying around a race track at over 200 miles per hour; it’s quite another to pitch a fit just because you’re sick of re-writing your record book. And then there’s Britain’s Rebecca Addington, who climbed onto her moral high horse just in time to avoid getting punched in the face:
‘These costumes are technological doping,’ she said. ‘Just like I have never used doping to go faster, I will not use these costumes that I think are illegal.’
‘I’m aware that everyone else I’ll be racing against will be in one of these new suits…I know it will be a massive disadvantage and I know that some people will criticise me for that.’
Whatever, kid. Just remember that your opinion only matters once every four years. In the meantime, let’s enjoy Aussie swimmer Stephanie Rice, who decided not to wear a full-body swimsuit, either, but for much more enticing and benevolent reasons. Does this count as caring about swimming? No? Eh, whatever.