1. Headline
  1. Headline
By
updated 3/28/2008 8:58:33 AM ET 2008-03-28T12:58:33

Even we didn’t guess it would be this good.

When I wrote last month about Speedo’s latest swimsuit — an extremely high-tech full-body wonder — three world records had already been broken by LZR-clad swimmers. Coincidence? Maybe.

But, after eight more records fell in the past month, the suit is causing some serious waves.

Officials from the International Swimming Federation (FINA, the sport's governing body), want to speak with Speedo next week. With the Olympics looming you can expect the terms ‘unfair advantage’ and ‘performance enhancing’ to show up on the agenda.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. Pastor: Thomas Eric Duncan ‘didn’t knowingly bring Ebola’

      Pastor George Mason talks to TODAY’s Matt Lauer on behalf of Thomas Eric Duncan’s fiancée, Louise Troh, who says Duncan di...

    2. Prince William, Duchess Kate expecting baby No. 2 in April 2015
    3. Ebola quarantine period ends for 48 people
    4. What's your favorite horror film? Vote in TODAY's Scary Movie bracket
    5. This mom is fighting Toys 'R Us for carrying 'Breaking Bad' figures

Nevertheless, this argument is nothing new and with each iteration of suits, records have fallen. Everyone in the sport knows today's top performances can’t be compared to those from decades ago, a point Speedo VP Stuart Isaac conceded in our conversation last month.

“Yes, the swimmers today have advantages that let them go faster than swimmers ten years ago,” said Isaac. “However, that’s the nature of sport, whether it’s tennis rackets or golf clubs or new running shoes or the composition of running tracks. I wouldn’t say it cheapens it, but yes, they have an advantage over those in the past. All the people now have access to the same technology, so the best swimmer is still winning.”

Ah, but therein lies the rub. Every athlete doesn't have access to this technology. When it comes to the Olympics, some countries have contractual obligations to other manufacturers.

In many sports, say basketball and badminton, this is a moot point — a pair of shoes won't make any real difference. But increasingly it's clear that for swimming, a suit has a major impact on performance.

So what next? None of the logical options look good. The suit was approved by FINA and Speedo knows the rules too well to have broken one. If officials arbitrarily ban this suit, questions will be raised about where the line should be drawn.

Letting each swimmer wear Speedo's model would require an implied concession from other manufacturers that its suits are inferior. But the best option is also the least likely: Every swimmer ditches the full-body suits in favor of a fresh shave and those other famous speedos.

© 2012 POPSCI.COM

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. AP, TODAY

    video Pastor: Thomas Eric Duncan ‘didn’t knowingly bring Ebola’

    10/20/2014 11:26:10 AM +00:00 2014-10-20T11:26:10
  1. Ebola quarantine period ends for 48 people

    video The quarantine period for people who had contact with the Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan has come to an end, and none of the people affected has developed symptoms. NBC national correspondent Craig Melvin reports.

    10/20/2014 11:30:53 AM +00:00 2014-10-20T11:30:53
  1. Getty Images file

    Prince William, Duchess Kate expecting baby No. 2 in April 2015

    10/20/2014 10:58:01 AM +00:00 2014-10-20T10:58:01
  1. Courtesy Everett Collection

    What's your favorite horror film? Vote in TODAY's Scary Movie bracket

    10/20/2014 11:02:21 AM +00:00 2014-10-20T11:02:21
  1. 'Get my Dad!': Rescuer pulls man from burning home

    A man in Fresno, California, is being called a hero after he calmly walked into a roaring house fire and pulled another man to safety.

    10/20/2014 10:52:14 AM +00:00 2014-10-20T10:52:14