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Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Swimsuit technology under review

By Ben Dirs

Alain Bernard
France's Alain Bernard broke three world records in Speedo's new swimsuit

Swimming's world governing body will review swimsuit design next month amid concerns about the growing influence of technology within the sport.

Fourteen world records have been set this year, all but one by swimmers wearing the LZR Racer, Speedo's latest full-length body swimsuit.

"There's no proof any swimsuits provide any advantage to swimmers," Fina chief Cornel Marculsecu told BBC Sport.

"But we don't want the thicker wetsuits which are used in triathlon."

Marculsecu continued: "We are going to meet with the manufacturers in Manchester [in April] and review the regulations and we are going to look at the thickness of the material.

"Marathon swimming takes place in a different temperature of water and we will see what thickness the swimsuits will be so that they can be approved for use in Fina competitions.

It is nothing new for swimmers to get better and better, it's been happening for the last 200 years

Fina chief Cornel Marculsecu

"It's not only Speedo that have launched a new suits, all the manufacturers are going to launch new swimsuits prior to Beijing."

Marculsecu's claim that there is no scientific evidence to suggest swimsuits provide an advantage will surprise some, including South African swimmer Roland Schoeman.

"It is going to be a technological battle come the Olympics," the world 50m butterfly champion said recently.

"It would be great to see the final of the Olympics just basically be people and their talent, like Alexander Popov when he was just swimming in his briefs.

"That is true testament to an individual's work ethic and ability - more than the suit to help correct any imperfections."


Popov's long-standing 50m freestyle world record was broken in February by Eamon Sullivan of Australia, who was wearing the Speedo suit.

And Frenchman Alain Bernard, who broke three world records in three days at the European Championships, lowered it again on Sunday.

However, Marculsecu says the improvements are down to "better preparation...and training" rather than technological advancements in swimsuits.

"It is nothing new for swimmers to get better and better, it's been happening for the last 200 years," said Marculsecu.

"Any time there's a world championships or an Olympic Games we have nine or 10 new world records.

"We are not seeing in swimming, like in other sports like skiing, a case where the materials are helping you get better."

see also
GB women smash Euro medley record
24 Mar 08 |  Swimming
Bernard claims third world record
23 Mar 08 |  Swimming
Davies wins European silver medal
22 Mar 08 |  Swimming
Team GB for Beijing
29 Nov 07 |  Team GB
Swimming on the BBC
02 Oct 07 |  Swimming

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