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Letter to the Editor

May 17, 2000

Re: Australian Swimming Trials

With the advent of full-length body suits, the whole nature of competitive swimming has been changed from a "natural sport", in which the human body interfaces naturally with the water, into an "implement sport" in which a body suit intervenes between the body and its natural contact with the water.

According to the manufacturer's advertising, not only does the suit have "gripper fabric" to "grip and feel the water", but it is also designed to provide "an optimum silhouette", "control the flow of water" and thus "reduce drag".

In effect, the swimmer is encased in a racing shell that sloughs off water resistance, while the special "grippers" on the medial surfaces of the upper arms enable a swimmer to grip the water much like using a swim paddle.

One must ask to what extent sponsorship of the sport and endorsement fees to leading swimmers and coaches have influenced this radical change."

"World Records" set by swimmers wearing one of these Novelty Suits should be asterisk-marked, viz. (* N.S.R.) * Novelty Suit Record.

Maybe there should be two sets of records starting January 1, 2000, with and without N.S.R.'s.

Cecil Colwin
Ottawa, Canada

Hall of fame coach Cecil Colwin has been involved in competitive swimming for more than 50 years. He has long been known for his work on the technical aspects and history of swimming. He has written 2 bestselling books, "Swimming Into The 21st Century" and "Swimming Dynamics".