Swimming events will be starting August 6, where many spectators will witness the who’s who of the competitive swimming world like Phelps, Lochte, Larkin and Campbell go at it in the (clean) pools of Rio 2016. Swimming brands will also be there, to seize the opportunity to showcase new looks and designs to a much wider public, but spectators may notice that record-breaking swimsuits are absent at Rio 2016.
This can be associated with a major rule change in 2010, when the Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA), the international governing body for competitive swimming, banned the use of polyurethane and neoprene suits during competition. This was after a ludicrous number of swimmers broke a ludicrous number of world records after suits made with these materials were introduced in 2008.
The suits, which basically made swimmers more buoyant and faster in the water, led to nearly 200 world records in 2008. Forty-three world records were broken in the following world aquatics championships, alone, prompting FINA to take necessary action.
Since then, swimmers have only been allowed to wear suits made out of textile fabrics, without zippers and with a restricted amount of coverage-waist to the top of the knee for men, and upper body and upper legs for women.
“It’s not that we are opposed to science, but we want the performance of the athletes to be gauged on their hard work, on what they’re able to accomplish without technological aids, specifically swimsuits,” said Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming in a press statement.
Apart from the suits, swimmers have also been taking antibiotics and are looking into adding a nonperformance functionality into their suits-pollution proof microbial technology. This was largely in response to reports that Rio’s waters are not the cleanest in the world and that athlete should just try their best to keep their mouths shut. Or risk getting very sick.
While the record-breaking swimsuits are absent at Rio 2016, the swimmers who set these records are still there. Let’s just hope they can hold their breath all the way to the finish.
PHOTO CREDIT: Public.Resource.Org/ Flickr