World Rules Sink New Tech Tricks for Swimming Suits

Regulations limit suits' bouyancy, coverage
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 15, 2009 8:51 AM CDT
Swimming superstar Michael Phelps poses in a Speedo LZR racer swimsuit.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – World competitive swimming organization Fina has outlawed certain high-tech swimming suits to keep the playing field even, reports the BBC. Suits cannot cover the neck, nor extend past the ankles and shoulders, and are limited to a certain thickness and buoyancy under the new rules. An astonishing 108 swimming records were broken last year, 79 of them by swimmers wearing the Speedo LZR Racer, including gold-medal blockbuster Michael Phelps.

Opponents of the suits argue that their buoyancy amounts to "technological doping." Fina approved the LZR last year, but suits continue to change. Swimmers in a recent world meet raised concerns when they doubled up suits to further compress their bodies and trap air bubbles. The new rules are intended to emphasize the "principle that swimming is a sport essentially based on the physical performance of the athlete," said a Fina statement. The rules will apply to suits beginning in 2010.