Thursday, July 2, 2009

Is this a joke, or what?

I am not alone in branding the decision by FINA, swimming's world governing body, to allow all fastskin suits as a joke. What I also cannot accept is their reasoning: essentially, that it's simply too hard to prove that a handful of suits may or may not have particular properties that assist the swimmer through the water.

FINA says all suits will be allowed provided they are available to all. They should have said, available to all who can afford them or have access to them under sponsor constraints. Richer countries and swimmers do; poorer countries and swimmers don't.

The far simpler, fairer response from FINA would have been to ban them all, every last one of them, requiring all swimmers to use just your conventional sluggoes (for blokes) and armless, legless versions for ladies. We have a useful definition in ocean swimming that FINA is welcome to adopt. Then, at least, we would get a contest amongst athletes, not their sponsors and their suits.

World swimming is a joke, a hopeless joke. And that's such a pity, because its athletes, by and large, are wonderful.

And when a sport pays greater heed to sponsors and their money, than to creating the environment for fair and even competition, then it is no longer a sport.

It's good that we in ocean swimming are not constrained by such hare-brained decision-making. No-one is the boss of us.

Vale, pool swimming as a credible sport.


  1. As a former competitive pool swimmer, I'm not a big fan of these suits - mainly cost they cost around $1000 a pop. What parents, with their kid at state level is going to be able to afford that?

    Mark Foster (UK) said he spent the best part of his life trying to knock 0.1 second off his 50m time - this suit takes of 0.5 without trying. It's a huge leap forward and everyone knows it - this u-turn by FINA is laughable.

    But in reality, who are they to stand in the way of progress? No modern sport is complete without year-on-year improvements to equipment and clothing. Look at how the English rugby team changed from cotton granddad jumpers to figure-hugging t-shirts when winnning the World Cup in 2003. Now it's the norm.

    I think swimming should have drawn a line in the sand a long time ago - full length suits have been worn for many years now. Now we'll just have to live with it and hope that someone sensible ensures the next steps isn't flotation devices and fins.

  2. Yes Johnny,

    I reckon it is joke.

    In the words of former "Shadow Minister for Sun Tan" and Member for Kooyong, the RH Andrew Peacock (as often repeated by the immortal HG Nelson) describing government policy in the 1987 election campaign:

    "It's a joke! A cruel hoax, a hastily cobbled together sham, and a loose bunch of promises!"

    But this is nothing new for that bunch of poolside posers known as FINA. They've been changin the rules to suit themselves since Puss was kitten. And do ya reckon they're gonna stop now? Of course not.

    Remember, it wasn't that long ago when you had to touch the wall with ya hand before making a freestyle tumble turn. How many new olymoic and world records did that create, hey? And what about all the other various little tricks they've gradually meted out like lollies to a bunch of kids, such as the dolphin kick you're allowed off the wall in breast stroke.

    I reckon they've got em all in a box and they just pull one out every now and then when the balance sheet is lookin a little lean.

    Gimme strength! You deadset wouldn't feed em if ya saw em starvin on the side of the road.

    So what has all this been driven by? I'll tell ya, telly rights. To put it bluntly, more OR's and WR's means more viewer interest, and more advertising potential, and thus more money for TV rights. You don't need to be a Rhodes Scholar to work that one out.

    I say let em go as hard as they like, knock em selves out. We in the ocean swimmin caper will never go down that path coz we're not such a bunch o posers. We're hard "to the power of sick" and we don't give a stuff about our audience.

    Unfortunately that's blatantly obvious if you've ever seen me paradin round the beach in a pair o budgee smugglers.



  3. Media beat up again.

    It's real when you want it and a beat up when you dont. When its sharks its a beat up and when its costumes ITS TWUE.

    Have you forgotten the rule changes that helped Leisel Jones..possibly too ignorant to know.
    Do you even stop to think about the days when pools didn't have overflows or swimmers like you didn't wear goggles.

    So a few Aussies had their records broken.
    Thorpe was a great swimmer but clearly not the fastest of all time.

    Grow a brain you wankers. Ocean swimming is not a professional sport anyway. Please don't compare it or I'll need a bucket.

    Michael C


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