There is plenty of debate about whether hi-tech cossies, such as fastskins, and wetties should be allowed in ocean swimming. There are no hard and fast rules in this sport, just as there are no rules that extend across the entire sport. Whether hi-tech suits should be banned is a matter for individual swim organisers and for swimmers to express their views.
One major swim is considering banning all cossies except for conventional styles -- traditional budgy smugglers for blokes, and one or two piece cossies with no arms or legs for the laydees. They are working on the wording.
Even Australian Swimming has recognised this issue by banning hi-tech suits for junior and age group competition.
We believe the argument should be about keeping as flat a playing field as possible. Allowing hi-tech suits in ocean swimming means that all swimmers who wish to be "competitive" will have to fork out the hundreds of dollars required to buy one of these suits. Even if the wish only to be competitive in their age group, they will feel the need to spend the money. This will raise the entry cost to ocean swimming as a sport. To be an ocean swimmer now, all you need is a pair of cossies and maybe a pair of goggles. That's it. Well under $100. If you have to buy a fastskin, then you're talking about something under $1,000. Then where does it stop?
The vast majority of swimmers take part in our sport for the sake of being part of it, not to get the latest hi-tech gear to seek the ultimate micro-advantage over their competitors. That's the route triathlon has taken. We would rather see ocean swimming remain relaxed, not become ever more expensive and anal.
Similar arguments apply in NSW, Queensland and WA to wetsuits. Not in Victoria, where wetties are de rigeur. The debate there probably is lost, although some hopeless romantics -- we are their fellow travellers -- continue to wage a quixotic battle.
By the way, we have no problem with swimmers wearing these suits if they wish. Some people genuinely feel the cold. But they should not be allowed to count in open or age group company.
What do you think? Post your response here and/or vote in the poll at left.