Terence Moore opened a barrage on the Georgia Tech swim team for wearing Speedo's new LZR suits. I generally don't mind Terence Moore or any other AJC writers. They don't get under my skin. However, I think Terence Moore was trying to sound codgery and old-fashioned but came off as merely ignorant.
The article does bring up an interesting debate about performance enhancing drugs versus performance enhancing equipment. I'd say they are equivalent in certain respects because they both increase your performance. But if they're allowed by the rules, then who gives a rat's ass if you're popping vitamins or wearing Nike Shox? The LZR suits are allowed by NCAA regs so they're not cheating. Composite materials are allowed in golf/baseball/softball. High tops with ankle/arch support are allowed in basketball. The Hans device is allowed in NASCAR. All of these advances have greatly increased the competitiveness of their respective sports and allowed TONS of records to be broken.
The failure in Moore's article is that he doesn't really understand materials, fluid mechanics, or swimming in general. And for all the laymen that read this blog, the suit simply repels water BETTER than other suits on the market. All swim suits are made with materials that repel water otherwise our trunks would never dry and some people may not even be able to tread water. (On a side note, I don't think the sport of swimming would've ever even developed if not for advanced materials research) The inherent act of swimming is not altered. The swimmers are not webbing their fingers and toes or growing dorsal fins or altering their bodies. They are merely utilizing the best technology presented to them that is within the limits of the rules.
Sports technology makes sports more entertaining for the spectators. However, when sports technology creates a negative impact on a participants's quality of life (i.e. steroids), then we should take issue. If Terrence Moore really wanted a solid debate, he should've said that we should regress all the way to ancient Olympics fashion where all sports are competed in naked and with all natural materials. Women's bball/softball/etc. ratings would sky rocket. I'd venture to say the NFL would be one of the least watched sports on TV.
Anyone wanna talk dynamics or materials or add to the conversation?
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