Admittedly, when I first saw the words “Speedo LZR,” I thought it was an abbreviation for “speedo loser.” As it turns out, in the world of competitive swimming, this space-aged suit is the polar opposite. (And yes, I just used the term “space age” without a hint of irony. Boner).
According to the Science of Sport blog, on its first professional outing, the swimmer with the Speedo LZR broke the world record…by two entire body lengths. Then the Women’s Dutch 4 x 200m relay team, equipped with the Speedo LZR, beat the world record (set 6 years back by China) by 8 seconds. I don’t know jack about professional competitive swimming, but even I know that’s kind of a big deal.
This brings to mind the whole juicing in sports argument: these people train every day for their profession; to be the best athlete, using all the technology available to get every ounce of power…so why not use drugs to further this concept? The problem is that unless everyone is doing the same drugs and has access to the same equipment and training, the competition would be unfair. Plus, you can’t make athletes who are ethically opposed to juicing use the stuff. We’re not living in a Brave new World just yet.
So in the case of the Speedo LZR, it might give the athlete an unfair technological advantage….unless every athlete was using them.
But on the other side of the coin, maybe to make it REALLY fair, they all should just swim naked, original Roman-Greko Olympics style. That would sure make the Women’s backstroke more interesting for me.