Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mark Schubert Becoming a Purist?

Just a few minutes after that last post I noticed that the Arena X-Glide does have the polyurethane separated into panels which might help it to pass FINA’s phase 2...

Then, I happened upon this article in the Chicago Tribune, which said that FINA standards will require suits to have no more than 50% polyurethane and that the X-Glide and many other suits would be illegal starting January 1st. The author of the article didn’t have all of his facts straight, (he said that Bernard was the first man under 50 in the 100m,) but he might be on to something, and that does gel with my theory that Speedo has a lot of influence in writing the new rules. I have always felt that since Speedo is the biggest suit maker and has the most influence on the world scene I wouldn’t be surprised if the wording came out that the LZR would be safe and most of the other tech suits out there would be banned. There has been a lot of talk lately that makes it sound like the LZR is the normal and everything released since then that seems to be better should be considered cheating.

Utter silliness.

Then I got to the part of the article that really threw me for a loop… Mark Schubert’s quotes:
"It's totally out of control,'' "Now we're into speedboat driving.'' "But the saddest thing is we no longer are able to compare generations. Swimming should be about the swimmer, not the suit.''

Mark Schubert has been a part of the great swim suit race since the release of the Belgrade back in 1972. He arguably abused his position with USA Swimming to serve Speedo’s interests in the LZR hyper drive leading up to Beijing, This was the guy who was one of the most outspoken proponents of new technology and fed the hype that put us into this tech-suit mess. He even pushed sponsored athletes to desert their suit makers which in effect may have forced some major companies out of the sport and out of competition with Speedo… and now he’s making an argument about the suits being ridiculous and comparing the sport to speedboat racing? All of a sudden he has changed his mind about tech suits now that there are suits better than the LZR? WTF? His argument about not being able to compare to past generations? That and the outrageous cost were my arguments against tech suits at floswim, and I was in opposition to him! He didn’t seem to care about that when Speedo was leading the tech race and he was laughing his way to the bank! He opened the door to polyurethane suits!

AND I QUOTE (from an older interview, pre-Beijing): “My advice to athletes is, ‘You have a black-and-white decision - the money or the gold medal.' And it's going to be a real test of character."
“There is no doubt the suit makes a difference and there is no doubt that there is one manufacturer that's put millions into research while the other manufacturers are more into fashion. Nobody at this level [world-class athletes] can afford to give up 2 per cent. It is not rocket science. ...” -- Mark Schubert.


This is as bad, or maybe even worse than, USA Swimming abusing their position to control rights to media coverage of swimming events. What they pulled with Garrett at Y Nats was embarrassing, and just serves as more evidence that our non-profit National Governing Body has some identity issues that they need to work out. Promote the sport first. We have no room for the interference of misguided interests within the offices of the group that is supposed to take care of us. FINA wasn’t the only organization that mishandled their role in the dawn of the tech suit.

Of course, they might be able to get back in my good graces if they knock the price of the LZR down to about thirty bucks each…

…Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen. That is about as likely as TYR sponsoring my blog.

1 comment:

  1. This is good journalism. I'll bet CNN/Fox news would love this stuff. Nice work.