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DIVING IN: Not surprisingly, Speedo, the brand that helped rewrite swimming’s record book with its LZR Racer suit, is taking issue with the decision by FINA, the sport’s governing body, to ban high-tech, long-length swimsuits starting next year.
Under the new guidelines, women will not be able to wear suits that extend beyond their shoulders or knees, and men will not be allowed to wear suits that go below their knees. The bulk of medal winners at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games competed in LZR racer suits. TYR Sport, Jaked and Adidas also make their own variations of high-tech, polyurethane-based suits.
In a statement issued Sunday, Speedo said, “As a forward thinking company, that has invested millions in R&D, we believe that technology — properly monitored and adhering to guidelines — does have a place in all sport. Any move which seems to take the sport back two decades — such as a possible return to the traditional female swimsuit and male jammer — is a retrograde step that could be detrimental to the future of swimming.
“We recognize the catastrophic effect and controversy that the introduction of fully nonpermeable wetsuits by certain manufacturers has had on the sport of swimming in recent months. Speedo has always believed that there is no place in the sport for buoyancy aids.”
The ban is pending a final FINA vote Tuesday.