October 13, 2008

Ask "theSwimMom"

This week on "Ask theSwimMom," I will be answering Willow's disturbing yet relevant swim wear questions.

Q. Okay SwimMom, why is it that beach volleyball players play in the smallest bikinis this side of Europe, yet the swimmers swim in full neck to ankle wear? Are those hideous suits really necessary?

Also, how is it that Speedo thinks that all swimmers are horrible flat chested? Can a girl get a Speedo suit with some... support?

Finally, How did Speedo become the brand of competition?

A. All right lets start with the full neck to ankle wear. "Are those hideous suits really necessary?" Over the past year Speedo joined forces with NASA to concoct a cutting-edge, ultrasonically welded, body suit called the LZR Racer. It’s been wind tunnel tested and contains polyurethane panels to “reduce drag.” Drag can cost an Olympic swimmer the gold. The swimsuits cost about 500.00 and are only good for ten races. These "hideous suits" have dramatically changed the sport of swimming, before the Olympics since there release in early 2008,  48 world records in swimming were broken 44 of those swimmers were wearing the Speedo LZR. That number grew during the Olympics and will surely continue to grow. Just so we all don't think that Speedo is a big nasty corporation, charging 500.00 for a mere 10 races, to Olympic Gold Medalists wanta bees. Speedo gives the swimsuit to any Olympic swimmer wanting it. So now I ask would you want to wear that hideous suit?

As for the reason, "that beach volleyball players play in the smallest bikinis this side of Europe", I don't know you would have to visit "Ask theBeachVolleyBall Mom." Personally there times in life I don't think you ask why you just enjoy the show.:)

Willow's question continued, "Also, how is it that Speedo thinks that all swimmers are horrible flat chested? Can a girl get a Speedo suit with some... support?"

A. I will admit that looking at a female competitive swimmer can be a little like trying to figure out if Pat is a boy or a girl. First there is the swim cap, that takes away any hair indication and then there is the swimsuit, that is so restricting that you are left wondering, "Where did she put them, are they detachable?" However, the truth is they are just smashed in there really tight. Competitive suits of all brands are designed to reduce drag. Women have drag, two of them right out front for the whole world to stare at. Competitive suits restrict the movement and smash down the said drag. The more drag you can reduce the more streamline the swimmer becomes. Their competitive wear coupled with their stroke technique all work together to create more streamline which means less water drag which means faster times which means pretty medals. In the end it is all about the accessories.

Willow says, Okay, I can accept streamline. Still, those women's suits look sufficiently uncomfortable to keep me from swimming competitively. Notice I say that like I would totally take up swimming tomorrow were it not for unattractive, unsupported suits.... HAHAHAHAHA... I am so not anywhere near athletic!!!

Q. How did Speedo become the brand of competition?

A. Remember, when I told you that Speedo went to work with NASA and designed a super sonic, record breaking, suit. Well these things tend to push you to the front of the line. Note there are several other competitive swim wear companies. However, before the Olympics swimmers from around the globe were demanding that they too wore the LZR suit. In fact, even China, that has always required that their swimmers wear suits designed by a Chinese company, allowed their swimmers for the first time ever to wear a suit other then their own brand. Swimmers are insisting that their skills are what's breaking the records but no body wants to be the one to loose because they are not wearing the LZR. 

**Sidenote many companies are scrambling to make their own LZR suit knock offs so we may find more then Speedo at the next summer Olympics.

Q. Also, was anyone else concerned that the camera might catch a shot of Phelps's Finkle as he was jumping and cheering on deck whilst his suit (the full body one) was half pulled down? I swear, I was really nervous that the swimwear would slip and we would see "the full Monty."

A. Laughing out loud :) Below is a video of what a swimmer has to do to get into the LZR suit. Having had some experience with putting on a competitive suit, it didn't even cross my mind that the suit might drop down.  Competitive suits are tight and when I say tight, imagine trying to put on the swimsuit you wore in the 8th grade, today, now go down a couple sizes from there.  These suits are tight, restricting and about the hardest thing you can think of to get in and out of.  That suit was not going to drop and give us a view of anything that we didn't want to see.  None the less, Phelps has a less then stellar background when it comes to behaving himself so he might have enjoyed the whole"Janet Jackson" scandal of mooning the entire free world.  Can you imagine the playback on that video.  Woo Hoo, we thought that him winning 8 golds got a lot of air play.

Q. Final Question,  why in a 4x4 relay will the swimmers wear the ankle to neck monstrosity, yet in a single event Mr. Phleps wore just some scandalously tight trunks?

A. I looked to try to find the answer to this question and came up blank. So here is my personal theory.  Everybody is saying that Phelps won all the golds because of the suit.  In fact so much emphasis has been put on the suit that many swimmers are going, "Hey, what about us?"  They did have to work and work very hard to make it to the Olympics to begin with.  So my own personal theory is, he changed suits to say, "I can kick but even without the super man swimsuit."  


Willow said...

It is still an ugly suit. ;)

Hey, would that ugly thing make my not size 6 body look like a size 6? If so, I may have to start wearing that thing under my regular clothes. Hmmmm, how am I going to convice my husband to zip me in every morning?

Okay Swimmom... the question is this; I like to swim. I can swim laps for days. However, I am not a fast swimmer; basically I am to swimming as marathon runners are to running. How can I become faster?

Also, how many armstrokes should one take between breaths? My swimmer husband is amazed that I haven't passed out in the pool due to lack of oxygen with my 6 stroke then breathe pattern. Finally, is it really necessary to learn to breathe from both sides?

Willow said...

Ooooh, and perhaps the most important... how can I become a fantastic swimmer without developing the "wings." I am the girl who quit band because the excessive flute practicing was causing me to develop a muscle under my bottom lip that wasn't cute at all.

Yes, I really am that vain sometimes.