We don’t talk about swimming here much for obvious reasons, but a story today caught my attention. Michael Phelps is currently swimming at a World Cup meet in Stockholm. He’s not at his peak fitness by his own admission, and he’s sporting a beard, so he clearly isn’t looking to set world records. He’s still Michael Phelps, though, so it is very significant that he failed to qualify for two of his first three finals at the meet. The most glaring explanation for this is the swim suit. Swimming is doing the right thing next year by banning the ridiculous high tech swimsuits that have so changed the sport over the last couple of years. In anticipation of that, Phelps is using a regular suit at this meet while his competition uses high tech ones. This is a clear example of just how much of an impact the suits have. It seems ridiculous that a sport would allow something that would change the sport so fundamentally. It would be like MLB suddenly deciding to allow aluminum bats, or using softballs instead of baseballs. Those changes would make a mockery of hitting records just like the new suits have destroyed the meaning of world records.
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