There has been lots of talk on deck and on various websites about what will US Masters Swimmer be wearing come 2011. Will the governing body of the USMS adopt the same swim suit rules as FINA, the NCAA, USA Swimming and high schools? Maybe and maybe not. Maybe a compromise may come out of this for USMS. The WaPo has a great article on it LINK here are a few highlights:
Some wearers of full-body suits at the masters level don't care whether they swim in old-fashioned lycra or high-tech polyurethane, they just want maximum coverage. For them, long-length suits offer more practical than performance benefits; they tuck away flab and paunches that youngsters don't have. They make older athletes sleeker, more attractive and comfortable than in traditional, itty-bitty suits.
I will admit I like how the hold everything in place and I am rail thin. Even us thin guys start to sag here and there as we age.
"I'm 52 years old," said Traci Grilli, the USMS national office administrator. "You put this bathing suit on, it fits like a giant girdle, number one. Number two, it's faster in the water. I just did a personal best [at the U.S. masters championships in Indianapolis]. . . . Masters swimmers are very competitive."
"Some of us with bad knees, the full leg [suit] gives you the feeling your knee is being held together," Casey, 60, said.
I agree with that. I also feel that the itty bit of extra bouancy the suits provide me help my lazy legs as I streamline off the wall. Well maybe that is cheating. I'll just go with the bad knee excuse.
The one issue that has really touched a nerve in the masters community: the issue of fasteners. As part of its ban, the world governing body, FINA, said it would prohibit zippers or fasteners. Masters swimmers, depending on the size of their waistlines and hips, need more zippers and fasteners than your average ripped Olympic athlete, several swimmers noted. They need the devices merely to get in the super-snug suits without suffering an injury, and, in some cases, to hold the suits in place.
The one last point that the article does bring up that could over time end USMS wearing any of these suits is the following:
Masters officials realize they have to give serious consideration to restricting the suits if for no other reason than manufacturers, anticipating a drop in demand, have already been slashing production of their highest-tech models.
My B70 has only a few more events left in it. What happens if everyone stops making these suits? Is USMS that much of a market for these suit makers? If not eventually we'll all be back to those tiny little briefs. And trust me when you go to a Masters swim meet that is not a pretty sight.