Open Letter From Forbes Carlile
- Apr 10, 2008
In an open Letter from Forbes Carlile, the experienced Octogenarian Australian an pioneer coaching guru says his sport is being prostituted by new suit technology.
Many wish to embrace the Speedo LZR Racer, the end of a line of bodysuit technology that has seen world records tumble across the board. Everyone loves seeing world records broken but not everyone thinks that should come at any cost. Carlile has been campaigning to have the LZR and other performance-enhancing suits banned from junior swimming in Australia and would like to see them called back from senior waters, a move that is almost impossible to imagine. His moves are being resisted. The shelf-life of one suit is between six and 12 wears. An athlete could be looking at a bill of $10,000 a year in suits, unless they get them free, of course. Here is the letter from Carlile today, which highlights the divide in the swimming world:
High Level Sport Turned Into a Circus and Degrading Spectacle
- [the following is in caps for no other reason than because I have no time to convert to upper and lower from Carlile's original].
'THE REPUTATION OF TOP LEVEL SWIMMING WHERE THE RESULT OF A RACE IDENTIFIES THE TALENT OF COMPETITORS IS RAPIDLY SINKING, LARGELY BEING PERDCEIVED AS DEPENDING ON EQUIPMENT, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS COMPETITION SWIM-SUITS (THE NEW GENRE OF 'FAST SUITS'). THEY ARE CLAIMED BY THE MANUFACTURERS, WITH THEIR HI-TECH FABRICS, COMPARED WITH SUITS AND SHAVED SKIN OF RECENT YEARS, TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE DRAG, COMPRESS MUSCLES ETC AND LIKE FINS, WET SUITS AND HAND PADDLES, ALL OF WHICH ARE PROHIBITED IN COMPETITION [AID PERFORMANCE].
WHO CLAIMS THESE PROPERTIES OF THE FAST-SUITS? NOT SCIENTISTS IN PEER -REVIEWED ARTICLES IN SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS BUT THE MANUFACTURERS. BUT FINA GAINSAYS THIS BY ANNOUNCING THAT THERE IS 'NO PROOF'. THIS CERTAINLY DOES NOT MATCH THE PERCEPTIONS OF THE SWIMMERS IN THE POOL AND MANY WHO ARE ANALYZING 'BEFORE AND AFTER' USING THE SUITS. PLACEBO EFFECT OR NOT SWIMMING IS BEING SEVERELY DAMAGED.
'FINA AT THE SAME TIME PUBLISHES EXTRAVAGANT ADVERTISING CLAIMS OF MANUFACTURERS ... IN ITS PUBLICATIONS.
'HOW MUCH LONGER WILL SWIMMERS, PARENTS, AND COACHES TOLERATE THE 'SPIN' HANDED OUT TO THEM BY FINA AND MOST NATIONAL FEDERATIONS, AS THEY WATCH HIGH LEVEL SPORT TURNED INTO A CIRCUS AND DEGRADING SPECTACLE.
'The spotlight is and will continue to be on the swimwear until FINA takes action to standardise what swimmers may wear.
'In the event the Speedo and other suits are proved to enhance even some swimmers' performances, which seems more than a possibility, will FINA foreshadow now whether it intends to admit the suit as legal and continue to recognise records being set in the suits?
'RATHER, BY TIGHTENING THEIR UNWORKABLE 'AVAILABILITY' RULES IT MOST LIKELY WILL LEGISLATE TO LET THE SUITS REMAIN THERE TO MAKE A MOCKERY OF SPORT THEY PRESIDE OVER...
'THE PREDICTAMENT FACING THE SWIMMING WORLD AS WELL, THE DEGRADING EFFECTS OF THE SUITS ON ETHICS OF THE SPORT MAKING IT A SUBJECT OF RIDICULE AND BRINGING IT INTO CONTINUED DISREPUTE, IS WELL ILLUSTRATED IN THE ARTICLES WHICH FOLLOW [Carlile cites several articles from around the world that are highlighting the kind of suit worn when a swimmer outperforms].
'FINALLY CONSIDER THIS RHETORICAL QUESTION.
'ARE FINA, THE COACHES OF SOME PROMINENT COUNTRIES AND A NUMBER OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS SPONSORED BY SPEEDO AND OTHER SWIM SUIT MANUFACTURERS?
'COULD THIS BE A FACTOR IN THE PROSTITUTION OF COMPETITIVE SWSIMMING IN THE NAME OF ENTREPENEURAL INTERESTS, GLAMOUR AND WORLD RECORDS?
'WILL FINA CONTINUE TO SIT IN THE BAND FIDDLING WHILST THEIR TITANIC SINKS AROUND THEM?