Now even swimming faces the challenges that golf ducked!

Amazing story in the papers yesterday about the battle over the use of hi tech swim suits that produce better times in swimming. It almost mirrors exactly the story in other sports such as golf. Initally banned by the governing body then the ban is withdrawn under the threat of legal action from the big manufacturers…world records and the sports history becoming irrelevant overnight…who knows perhaps they will be lengthening the pool soon :unamused:

Read the full story here

But we have a new heroine in the world of sports, 20 year old Brit Rebecca Adlington, already a double Olympic champion she isn’t prepared to scarifice her principles for more gold. Becky I admire you and wish there were more like you out there:

She wants to get better through her improving her technique and working hard not through some space age technology…What are we doing if a talent like that is diminished by a combination of corporate greed, gutless administrators and the blinkered focus of other competitors who can’t see the big picture… :imp:

[i]If this isn’t a parallel to golf spot on… I don’t know what is… nice to see governing swimming rule committee ban the new suits… The same arguments exactly… it’s good for the game… breaking records is exciting… brings the average Joe into the pool… everyone can be faster… equipment companies scrambling for profits… they could lengthen all the Olympic size pools, and that would be great for the economy, contractors, create jobs, spur the economy… We are one silly human race!

Maybe Mark Spitz will jump back in the water and pull a Tom Watson in 2012…

yawn… yawn… yawn…[/i] … &type=lgns

This could be the asterisk world championships

By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP National Writer 12 hours, 1 minute ago

ROME (AP)—If every record is broken at the world championships by swimmers wearing suits that will soon be illegal, what should we make of all those astonishing numbers?

Should they be accompanied by an asterisk, as one prominent coach suggested? Or should they just be viewed as the products of a different era, a target that will seem out of reach at first but surely will fall someday.

No matter what, these are a world championships like no other.

“A lot of us are joking that this might be the fastest we ever go,” American backstroker Aaron Peirsol said. “We might as well enjoy this year.”

Swimming’s governing body, FINA, finally stepped up Friday to pass a rule banning the sort of high-tech bodysuits that have been credited—or blamed, depending on your perspective—for turning the record book into something that had to be reprinted on an almost weekly basis.

More than 100 world marks fell in 2008. Nearly 30 have already gone down this year. Every record is considered highly vulnerable at this meet, which is the biggest outside of the Olympics and begins Sunday.

“This will be a world championships where numerous, numerous world records are broken,” predicted Michael Scott, Britain’s national performance director.

Not everyone agrees—Michael Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman said “it’s never as many as people think”—but whatever marks are standing after eight days in Rome could provide daunting targets beginning in 2010.

FINA took the drastic step of banning bodysuits altogether for the men, limiting them to so-called “jammers” that only go from the waist to the top of the knees. Women will be able to wear suits that must stop at the shoulders and the top of the knees.

It’s not quite a throwback to a different era—remember those teeny-weeny briefs the men once wore?—but it’s certainly a stunning change for a sport that took its first drastic turn at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when Ian Thorpe showed up wearing a daunting black suit that covered everything but his head, feet and hands.

While most swimmers stayed away from that much coverage, it wasn’t long before the swimsuit manufacturers were in a high-stakes races to see who could come up with a model that provided the best buoyancy, allowing the athletes to glide along the top of the water where they faced less resistance.

The top suits also provided more support around the middle of the body, increasing endurance and allowing some swimmers to get away with less training.

Speedo developed the LZR Racer with help from NASA and blew everyone else away. But shortly after the Olympics, other companies—led by the obscure Italian firm Jaked—came up with a polyurethane model that made the LZR look like a slowpoke.

Now, apparently, it’s all coming to an end.

But not before these world championships.

“Some of these records might not be broken for a long, long time,” Peirsol said.

The prospect of top swimmers suddenly going 2 or 3 seconds slower than their previous times led Mark Schubert, head coach of the U.S. team, to suggest an asterisk be placed on any record from the last 18 months of the bodysuit era, when the manufacturers were coming up with everything short of a motor on the suits.

“That was just an idea, perhaps to have two lists—one list with the new suits, then one list with the old suits,” Schubert said.

In a strange twist, Schubert was one of the LZR’s leading cheerleaders when it was unveiled in February 2008, urging all Americans to wear it, no matter their contractual obligations, if they wanted to have a chance to win gold in Beijing. When the LZR was surpassed by other suits, he changed his position and urged FINA to rein things in.

The governing body was slow to act, and now we’ve got a bunch of records that could truly stand the test of time. Years. Perhaps even decades.

“It will be difficult to eclipse those records if we go back to true swimming, without the rubberized suits,” Schubert said.

But it’s worth noting that East Germany once put up a host of daunting times, which were later revealed to be a fraud because of the Communist country’s massive doping program. No asterisks were placed beside those marks.

“That’s who we should have put an asterisk next to,” said Rowdy Gaines, a three-time Olympic champion from the East German era, who now serves as the top fundraiser for USA Swimming as well as a television commentator. “We didn’t do it then. I think it would be crazy to do it now.”

Eventually, all the tainted East German records were broken. That’s what will eventually happen to all the marks from the bodysuit era, Gaines said, even though a record such as Fred Bousquet’s mark of 20.94 seconds in the 50 free looks especially daunting—and it might be even lower after Rome.

“It will be tough to go 20.9 in a jammer,” American sprinter Cullen Jones said, shaking his head.

While most leading swim nations hailed FINA’s decision, Gaines is one who hates to see the bodysuit go. He worries that it will actually hurt the popularity of the sport, which has increased its ranks at the grassroots level and drawn more publicity of a national scale, largely because of Phelps’ eight gold medals in Beijing and all the hullabaloo over bodysuits.

“I like the suit. I think it’s great for the sport,” he said. “It gets the average person to talk about our sport. It gets people involved in out sport who maybe would not have done so. People love to see fast swimming.”

Gaines points out that other sports have been dramatically altered by technology, everything from auto racing to golf and tennis. He wonders if there’s a young girl out there who set an age-group record in a bodysuit, but will lose interest in the pool when she can’t go as fast. Most troubling, he worries that casual fans will fade away when there’s no longer a frenzy of world records.

“The real baseball fans likes to see a 2-1 game, but the average fans wants to see a 10-8 game,” Gaines said. “That’s what I think is going to hurt our sport. We’re going to go back to being once every four years.”

Since they have allowed huge oversize heads to take away mishits , putters you can anchor to your chest, golf carts to take away exercise and fitness needs and rangefinders to take away skill of eyesight and yardage feel we may as well take the next step: See below: … tory6.html

Lets just take away the swing all together now/ My Goodness

Swimming will be a good lead for other sports to follow suit… I don’t expect golf to any time soon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if other sports do… and at some point in time… golf will look pretty silly if they don’t also.

Personally I think Jack shooting 271 at Augusta in 1965 is the greatest four round around there… Tiger shot 270 but with a driver that went 30 or 40 yards farther, plus other modern benefits. Hogan’s 274 at Augusta is still better golf in my opinion. If you were to compare where Hogan hit is approach shots from with say Tiger… a much more impressive display of shot making was viewed by the gallery.

Time to split the game into two or three versions… then everyone can be happy. :slight_smile:

Associated Press:

Looks like they are rolling back swimsuit technology to 1996:

Interesting precedent but not the first in sport. One of the comments relating to the piece on Geoffs site mentions the example of the javelin which was reigned in a few years back when spearing spectators started to become a worry.

All we need is someone to remake the old ball and we will slowly start the revolution :open_mouth:

I found a Titleist tour balata in the pro’s practice bag the other day, i’d forgotten how soft they were :sunglasses:

I would go and watch golf with blades (v grooves), persimmon and the old ball. I’d love to hear the fizz and watch the flight of a true “player”

I have zilch interest in watching bomb and gouge

I am off to hunt the forum but what is the closest to the old ball we can get these days?

Hi WD - I pick up old Maxfli Revolutions from the 90’s when I can. They play as balata like as anything I have found that is not actually a balata. Here is a pic