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How Does High-tech Sports Swimwear Work And What Are The Problems With It?
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Not long ago there began a controversy regarding high-tech sports swimwear which reached its peak during the last decade. They managed to ban them in 2010 yet the damage had already been done. High tech sports swimming costumes had tainted the sport forever. But before we get into all that let us learn from where did high-tech sports swimming costumes originate and how do they actually work.
Where did it begin?
Back in the start of the millennium high tech sports swimming costumes were introduced to the Olympics swimming event back in the year 2000 at Sydney. Surprisingly that year the most number of world records in Olympics swimming history were smashed, a staggering 62. Again in 2008 swimmers wearing a high-tech sports swimming costume named Speedo LZR Racer smashed 79 world records. That is when the real issue came to the notice of the people.
How did it actually work?
All the high-tech swimming costumes work in a similar fashion. If we take the Speedo LZR for instance it was created by Speedo with the help of NASA and the Australian Institute of Sport. Over 90 materials were tried for the fabric of this sports swimwear. More than 400 athletes were monitored to exactly locate the areas of the body facing maximum friction. They then strategically placed panels made of Polyurethane which minimizes the drag in those areas by 5 percent and also keep the muscles in their perfect shape. Buoyancy is also increased by placing a compression zone around the torso.|
The swimmer is hence able to conserve maximum energy. Now swimming is such a sport where a hundredth of a second can make all the difference between winning a medal and not winning one.
Here are a few of the problems that came into being with the emergence of high-tech sports swimwear.
1. Rule misinterpretation
Performance enhancers are appropriately banned from each and every sport. Swimmers particularly aren’t allowed to wear any device or substance that could result in their increased level of performance. But the high tech swimming costumes claim to do exactly that. Speedo itself claims that its LZR racer sports swimwear increases the level of performance of the swimmers by 3 percent. Although the new rules allow the use of textiles shouldn’t we draw a line as to where we must stop? Or should we allow technology to manipulate each and every aspect of a sport?
2. Comparable to cheating
Many coaches and sports officials have compared the use of High-tech swimwear to the problems associated with doping. They have argued that there is no difference between gaining advantage by consuming drugs and doing the same by using high-tech sports swimwear. They say it’s plaguing the novelty of the sport and tampering its records.
3. What about the records?
Although the swimsuits were banned yet the records were made to stand which meant that the swimmers competing presently after the start of the ban need to challenge the records made by the swimmers with the help of the high-tech swimsuits. It is somewhat unfair to measure the present set of swimmers unaided by technology against the records set by those aided by technology.
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