The controversy over high-tech swimsuits reached its tipping point a few months ago when officials finally decided to ban them as of 2010. But the damage has been done and swimming as a sport has been tainted forever.
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It looks like swimmers will have to go back to good old fashioned performance-enhancing drugs after FINA's announcement that record-setting bodysuits will be banned from competition starting in 2010.
Speedo's controversial LZR Racer swimsuit spawned its first copycat this week, a prototype from Arena International that pushes the definition of tight-fitting fabric. With a green light for the LZR from swimming's official body, and the Summer Olympics looming large on the horizon, I think it's safe to say that the swimsuit arms race has officially begun.
Officials from the International Swimming Federation (aka FINA) want to speak with Speedo next week about their high-tech swimsuit. Seems the athletes who use the swimsuit are breaking all sorts of records and, with the Olympics coming up, the FINA doesn't want anyone getting an unfair advantage. Unfortunately for FINA, the only real resolutions appear to be a general ban, which Speedo would protest, or to allow every country to wear it in violation of their existing equipment contracts. The last option is probably the most appealing: FINA brings back the old suits and those swim team shaving parties of yesteryear.