View Full Version : Speedo "Laser Suits" - To Ban or not to ban?

14-08-08, 10:19
So I thought there were a few fans of the swimming here so I thought I'd pose the question:

Should the new Speedo 'Laser Suit' be banned from swimming?

The Italians are contesting it is technological doping, putting it up in the ranks of performance enhancing drugs. Others say it is just the way the sport is going and we should just go with it. Basically what the suit does, is act almost like a corset tightening around the athlete's core enabling them to hold their body position better while in the water. As for enhancing the athlete's performance, it is possible yes, but performance isnt only physical. The suit can also reduce muscle fatigue and soreness after the race.

I dont really see a problem with it because if everyone has it, then we're back to even, and speedo have provided the suit to any athlete willing to wear it in Beijing, so if you dont chose to wear it thats your decision. If everyone is given the same opportunity, its up to them what they do with it, but if it came down to who could afford it, then I think that would be dodgy, especially if some of the smaller nations simply couldnt fork out for a $500 suit after every 10 swims.


14-08-08, 11:11
First of all, I don't care about swimming or sports much at all, so I'm not the best informed person on this matter.

At the moment, I see no problem with it. However, what about the long term? Speedo isn't the only swim-suit manufacturer, others will try to create suits that do the same, only better, and some will succeed. As an example, there is a lot of research into the patterns found on shark skin for reducing drag. While this is mainly geared at planes at the moment, it would absolutely be an advantage in swimming as well (that's why sharks use it, after all). This is likely to add an engineering component to the competition, where having the best swimsuit can decide at times.

I like engineering, so of course I find technical advances in swimsuit design fascinating. However, most fans of swimming competitions are unlikely to be as much into engineering, so I think this is a bad thing.

A similar example might be cycling, where having the best possible bike is indeed an important issue that can decide over victories. Of course, cycling is already known for other means of increasing performance, but at the end it's a question of what you want the sport to be about: Just about human performance, or about engineering as well?

14-08-08, 11:14
I think the horse has bolted on this issue to be honest, if they were going to ban them they should have done it long before this.

It does however sully the memories of the swimmers that have gone before, like Popov and the rest, because their times are getting obliterated, in a lot of cases by people who technically aren't as good, simply because of the technology.

I will add that people like Phelps, and before that Thorpe don't come into this, as they'd be exceptional in any age.

14-08-08, 13:02
This might help for people who haven't heard about it like me:


Edit: totally off topic, but when you typ in Speedo Laser Suit in google, the third result is this thread :p.

14-08-08, 13:07
isnt phelps winning everything in traditional suit tho?

14-08-08, 13:17
isnt phelps winning everything in traditional suit tho?

This is the speedo suit Phelps and others are using:

On February 12, 2008, the company launched the LZR Racer suit, made of a new Hi-Tech Swimwear Fabric composed of a light weight woven fabric with polyurethane panels to reduce drag. This suit has been developed in association with NASA and the Australian Institute of Sport as well as the support of Speedo's sponsored athletes, and it is claimed once again to be the world's fastest swimsuit
(from Wikipedia)

This doesn't sound like this "laser suit" thing, simply a much better designed one.

I see no problem with either anyway.. Equipments in sports always evolve, just look at football (soccer) gear. It's no big deal. If you look at the athletes that wear the suits I mentioned above, there's lots of them, but no one gets as good results as Phelps, so that says something. The point is still and will always be personal skill, I could wear a "laser suit" and still suck at swimming. :D