ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Putting the speed in the Speedo

Another Olympic-size controversy

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Yale's Alex Righi and his quest to earn a berth on the US Olympic swim team this year.
I hope he's got the right equipment.
Yes, it seems that even swimmers are now at a disadvantage if they don't have the right swimsuit.

German swimmers are concerned about a disastrous performance at the Beijing Olympics because they will be wearing the wrong swimsuits. The country’s Olympic trials have been overshadowed by the swimmers’ demands to be allowed to compete in the Speedo LZR Racer.

Twenty-two world records have been shattered in the high-tech suit since its February introduction. The Germans say their medal chances are bleak at the Aug. 8-24 games unless they can wear Speedo instead of Adidas.

“The German swim federation has to seriously consider it, otherwise we will sink completely into mediocrity,” Thomas Rupprath, one of Germany’s top swimmers, said Saturday.

U.S. head coach Mark Schubert is a supporter of the suits. Some feel that every swim record could fall at the Beijing Games because of the suit. But many swimmers, some contractually bound to other sportswear companies, argue that the Speedo is unfair and gives athletes added buoyancy in the pool.

World governing swimming body FINA says no scientific evidence supports the claims and has refused to ban the LZR Racer.

Now the Germans have long since been accused of taking illegal drugs to improve their swimmers' performances. It would be if shocking if they don't turn to these suits but even in Germany, I guess money changes everything.


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