Thursday, December 22, 2011

100 Minutes With Chuck Part 4: The Future

This is the last blog in a four part series after a meeting last week with Chuck Wielgus. I had thought we would have the meeting, Chuck and Susan would have time to respond, and things might continue slowly from there. I was mistaken.

Since Saturday, Chuck and I have exchanged over ten emails. Susan and I have communicated over text. Both of them thanked me for the meeting over those respective mediums. I mailed my thank you the old fashioned way to Colorado Springs.

I could paraphrase all of our discussions or just post the messages wholesale, but I won't, at least for now. Chuck and I are still at odds over many issues, including the role anonymous voices should play in this dialogue as well as the consequences for his actions.

To his credit, Chuck has started to show far more humility in our conversations than I ever saw when I was just an another member. Progress in this direction will help him heal the wounds in USA Swimming, but only if the entire membership feels it.

Also to his credit, Chuck has continued to pursue conversation despite the fact that I have not diverted from my two central statements- that what he did was wrong and that he should step down as a result. He has instead tried to give me more information, even extending an invite to Colorado Springs to meet the entire staff and attend a board meeting.

I have to admit to a few personal reservations. The longer this discussion goes the higher the stakes are for both of us. What if, after seeing the inner workings of USAS, I still believe in their failings just as much as I do now? On an even more personal note, I am growing uncomfortable for getting so much attention for writing. I guess I always hoped that if I was flying out to Colorado Springs it would be as a coach. That is the goal I chose. The fight to change USA Swimming for the betterment of all involved chose me.

Last Saturday Chuck mentioned how no one can predict the future. He challenged me to tell him where this was all headed, or what the problem that would blindside them next would be. I wasn't prepared at the time but I am now.

For one, I think non-sexual abuse is common in swimming but has had little attention paid, for many of the same reasons that sex abuse went undetected. USA Swimming has no idea how many of its athletes are abused. Although that number is impossible to find out, that shouldn't stop us from trying.  The fact that little attention has been paid is continuing evidence of a disconnect between Colorado Springs and ground level problems. Every year as a college coach I am subject to anonymous reviews by every athlete on my team. What would we find out if every USAS coach had to do the same?

Susan Woessner has been given an enormous responsibility. Because we are still underestimating the problem by so much, she is one person doing the job of many. Athlete protection is adding an employee. A step in the right direction, but not far enough.

In 5-10 years, I think we will be regretting how slowly we moved once we knew there was a problem, and how we continued to underestimate the problem. That is, unless we make dramatic , somewhat painful change. I'm not so naive to think that pouring more resources into athlete protection comes from an endless pot of money. But is it worth it? Absolutely. I plan on using whatever influence I've gained to make us a little less resentful.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

100 Minutes with Chuck Part 3: Why?

I want to make something very clear from the beginning of this post.  I am about to give my best attempt at explaining why not just Chuck but our board of directors and others failed to do the right thing. I think it's an important endeavor to understand, but not excuse why bad things happen. I'll repeat it simply for emphasis: I want to explain but not excuse.

In my last post I discussed my own motivations.  One of the things I left out is that I feel a lot of compassion for my abuser. I don't know, but I have a strong feeling that he feels the same hurt that I did. It is likely that he is still living with it while I have been able to (mostly) move on. The sad truth of abuse is that many abusers were abused themselves. They are deeply hurt individuals that need help.

But what about everybody else? The people who turn a blind eye, or don't say anything, or only go as far as their lawyer tells them they need go? Why do they do it? I believe there are a variety of explanations for this behavior.

Allow me to get briefly sidetracked with an anecdote. My mother in law grew up in Baltimore during the 1960s and 70s. She remembers quite well being allowed to play and run around the city on her own. It wasn't abnormal behavior. People, in general, just weren't that worried about what would happen to children let run free in a big city. A few decades later, with violent crime actually much less frequent in a major city like Baltimore, people are much more hesitant to let their children run free. Why? Because they are much more aware of the potential danger, even though it is less. This is a paradox that is facing the swimming community today: I think that if many parents knew how likely it was that their coach was abusing children, they would likely stay. At the same time, having that knowledge is probably one of the best deterrents there is.

There is a generational gap in understanding just how big of a problem this is. When I say "generational gap", I am not suggesting that all people older than a certain date do not understand and all younger people do. I am saying that the younger you are, the more likely you understand. Joe Paterno, for instance, came from a generation that generally did not talk about sexual abuse. His experience can explain why Paterno did not do the right thing. Joe Paterno's age and culture help to explain why he did the things he did, but they don't excuse it.

Walking away from my meeting with Chuck, I realized that this generational gap is more than just this issue. There is a generation that is entrenched with power in swimming as a sport right now. Take a look, for instance, at the coaching staff for World Championships last summer, with approximate ages:

Eddie Reese (70), Frank Busch (60), Gregg Troy (60), Bob Bowman (48), Jon Urbanchek (70?), Teri McKeever (50), Jack Bauerle (56?)

The USA Swimming Board of Directors is lead by President Bruce Stratton (app. 62). A quick scan of the rest of the board finds few, if any,  young people (and I'm defining young as less than 45 years old) where they aren't required, i.e athlete reps.

It would be very "young turk" of me to just dismiss the accomplishments of all these people off hand. They are there because they have done good things in swimming. Chuck was extremely proud and eager to talk to me in our meeting about all of his other accomplishments as Executive Director. I have to confess that was I was 13 years old when he took the position I have very little idea what it was like before he got there. It is obvious that there are people who have been around and feel positive about his leadership.

The makeup of USA Swimming, both it's volunteer board, it's paid employees, and the most powerful coaches with the most influence, are overwhelmingly stacked with people who likely empathize with Chuck for being caught off guard in 2008.  They were likely caught off guard as well. Unless USA Swimming leadership makes an effort to empower their young critics they will continue to lead from behind on this issue. Meanwhile, that younger generation looks on, disgusted, incredulous that their leadership could be caught off guard by something they think is so obvious. Even more enraging for that younger, disempowered generation is the lack of accountability. They see the people in power make mistakes but they see no consequences.

In between, there is room for reconciliation. But it has to start at the top, with the people in power. Those on the bottom have already made plenty of concessions- they had no choice.

Monday, December 19, 2011

100 Minutes with Chuck Part 2: My Bias

The following is the second part in a series of blogs about my meeting on Saturday, December 17th with USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus. Click here for part 1.

I spent nearly all of Saturday processing. I was lucky that Kate was with me. Not only did she ask all the questions I would have kicked myself for not asking afterwards, but she was somebody else I could talk to about what had happened. She also probed me to think more about my own motivations than I had before. That afternoon I told her a secret.

It's not a secret to many of my teammates or my parents, but it is to this audience just as it was to Kate. In my life, I have been abused by my coach. Not sexually, not to the horrifying, debilitating degree that many swimmers have. But I know I was abused. When I told someone who had the power to stop it, to take a stand for me, that person chose to protect my abuser, even suggested that I deserved it. That was the experience that kept me up at night before the meeting.

I'm going to go into more detail only because I believe that it might help someone else. The abuse carried over several years. The coach knew my insecurities and attacked them precisely. The primary, but not the only, target was my weight. It was something that I'd never felt particularly self-conscious about. The more he targeted me, the worse I felt, and the more I comforted myself with food. Emboldened, one of my teammates joined in the "fun". Rather than protect me from that teammate, my coach actually forced me to swim with him every day. When I protested, he told me he was having me swim with that particular teammate so that he wouldn't pick on anyone else.

I remember the anger, sadness and frustration. I remember feeling totally powerless to do anything about it. I had to medicate myself to sleep, otherwise I would lay in my bed restless with anger. I was angry at my coach but also angry at myself for not confronting him. I thought about quitting but I was too stubborn to do it. I loved swimming and I wasn't going to let a coach ruin it for me.

After two years and with the help of family, friends and mental health professionals, I got momentum in the right direction. I lost some weight and felt better about myself. My coach's taunts turned to back slaps. Everything was fine on a superficial level, but I hadn't forgotten what it was like before. At one practice, I saw my coach go after some of my teammates. My anger was back again. I wanted to protect them, I didn't want them to be a victim like me. I wrote an e-mail I came to regret. In it I told my teammates the truth: that coach was abusive and that they didn't need to take it. They could hold their heads high.

I should have known that the e-mail would propel me into a confrontation I had long avoided. One of  my teammates forwarded the e-mail to my coach. The next day I found myself in his superiors office. The two of them confronted me. Did I know how serious my allegation was? I did. They threatened to remove me from the team if I didn't recant. I stood my ground. I detailed everything as calmly as I could to my coach and his superior. When I was done, his superior asked me "But wouldn't you admit that losing some weight helped you swim faster?".

My cat out of the bag, reactions from my teammates were mixed. Some of them felt like I was putting them in the way of a fight that was just between me and my coach. Still others came to me and told me stories far more chilling than mine. They had been abused too. I felt like I hadn't done enough. so I climbed one rung higher in administration and told my story again. At this level, I at least wasn't told I deserved it, but the inaction was the same.

I didn't have peace for a long time after that again. I struggled with the same cycle of anger and frustration. I was incredibly lucky that in the next year I would meet my wife, somebody who has lifted me up in too many ways to count. After two years still feeling angry, I read in a book about the power of forgiveness. I wrote my coach to tell him that even though he had never apologized to me, I forgave him. I apologized for my own anger and immaturity in dealing with the situation.

Kate believes (as do I, to a certain extent) that our meeting would have gone differently had I been up front with Chuck and Susan about this event in my past. I have no idea whether either of them were ever abused by a coach- they may very well have been. I recognize that every individual handles it differently. I also recognize that some people will read this blog and scoff at it. They will call it a sob story and think I am playing a victim. There will be those who, like that superior, think I deserved it. I am at peace with that fact although I admit it did give me trepidation before writing this.

So I have to admit, when I see the Chuck respond to Katie Kelly's e-mail with "No formal complaint is being filed, so there is no formal action for us to take" I go back. When I see Deena Deardurff Schmidt hold a press conference and, when asked about it, Chuck says "Well...I wish she would file a complaint", I go back. I go back to that room where I sat with my abuser and someone who could do something about it but chose not to.

It's easy to give in to anger, but I've learned over the years it doesn't help. I'm incredibly lucky that I had so many people to help me do better than be angry. The best I can come up with at the moment is to continue saying as best I can to Chuck and others a simple truth: what you did was wrong.

In my next blog, I'm going to attempt to explain, but not excuse, why these things happen.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

100 Minutes with Chuck: Part 1

On the Tuesday before my meeting with Chuck Wielgus, I couldn't sleep. Saturday morning brought back a lot of bad memories I would rather not relive. There were four of us in the lounge of the Marriot Marquis: Chuck and I with Susan Woessner and my wife Kate. We spoke for roughly an hour and forty minutes, far longer than I expected. If my thoughts before the meeting were tortured, afterwards I almost had too much to process. My opinions about Chuck's actions and leadership are unchanged. In a series of blogs this week, I hope to explain everything as I saw it.

Chuck told someone later that although he thought the meeting went well, he wished he could've gotten me to crack a smile. While proposing the meeting, Susan had expressed her hope that I would feel differently about Chuck once I met him. Chuck spoke frequently of his children, two teenage girls and two older sons.  I had no preconceptions about Chuck personally, but I'm not so naive about the world that I thought only someone monstrous could do what he has done. It's an unfortunate truth that many people who are otherwise considered "good people" can fail to do the right thing. That was part of the comparison I was trying to draw between Chuck and Joe Paterno in a previous blog.

As I mentioned in the comment section of my previous blog, our conversation started long before Saturday. Chuck e-mailed trying to "manage [my] expectations" for what we could discuss. When pressed, Chuck quoted USA Swimming's confidentiality policy. He also made it clear he wanted to say less than it allowed. He also said he wouldn't discuss "personnel", citing "standard business practice". I agreed to respect the confidentiality outlined in the USA Swimming rulebook, and nothing more.

He provided more explanation when we met. He pleaded that, given the ever growing list of lawsuits against USA Swimming and their handling of sexual abuse by coaches, lawyers governed what he could say. Chuck asserted that he wants to engage his critics. He now feels powerless to do so, although he told Kate later that he didn't feel he needed to answer my criticisms anyway.

I decided before the conversation that I wouldn't go in guns blazing. The responses that I got were telling, those given to Kate were far more so. Chuck was not as defensive for Kate's questions. When she asked him whether he was caught off guard by having to deal with the problem of sexual abuse by coaches, he was emphatic that he was. I got the impression that Chuck believes any other person would have done the same: that critics like me are abusing hindsight. Those two responses were part of a theme: Chuck would say something humble and then undermine it. I asked him later whether he thought USA Swimming members had a right to be disappointed in his leadership. He admitted that he felt badly about his performance in the ABC 20/20 interview but followed that up with a defense of why he did not do well. He cited that the 20/20 interview was the only disappointment that the USA Swimming board had in him. (EDIT: Chuck emailed me after reading the blog to inform me that neither he nor the board considered this the only disappointment. 

I hope to explain in the following blogs just how complex the problem is we are facing. I left the meeting feeling no different about Chuck's actions. Whether or not he did not fulfill his legal responsibility as our leader will be decided in the courts and not in this blog. USA Swimming members can judge whether Chuck meets their expectations as a leader of our organization.  Just as with the law, ignorance is no excuse.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meeting Internet Friends

Bjarnason during Tuesday's warmup
One of the pleasures of writing this blog is that I get to talk to people from all across the country and the world about swimming. One of the hazards is that many of my friends are people I have never met "in real life", whatever that means in 2011. Duel in the Pool this weekend is going to feature some crazy fast swimming in an awesome format. It's also a chance to meet a couple characters I've written a lot about, Jon Bjarnason and Pal Joensen.

Pal is here representing Denmark for the first time. You see, the "European All Stars" is really "the best swimmers we could get to agree to fly directly from European Champs over here and not go to a silly meet in Russia with more prize money". Denmark is one of the countries invited. Joensen has thus far represented the Faroe Islands in every international meet he's swum in. However, the Faroe Islands does not have it's own IOC membership, thus Joensen must represent big brother Denmark. This consequence is not without it's past or present politics.

At this meet, however, Joensen represents just one of the swimmers who should be favored against the American opposition in his primary event. I had a chance to watch both of them in workout earlier this week and practice my Faroese. The workout went much better. It's phenomenal to see an athlete who can travel for nearly 24 hours and look sharp in the water the next day.

Jon and I had a long conversation, one which we've been having for some time and that I've hinted at before. I admire the Faroese for the efficiency of their system. Despite all the disadvantages in terms of infrastructure (no 50 m pools, just a handful of pools total in the country), they have an elite international senior swimmer and fast juniors on the way. Meanwhile, they admire the great resources we have at our disposal.

One of the things we discussed was the clustering of athletes under one coach, a practice that has in the past become even more frequent. The most recent and dramatic case was last year's crowding of Trojan Swim Club, with seemingly infinite elite swimmers choosing to train in the same place. The Post Graduate Centers are institutionalized clustering, but the process will continue whether or not USA Swimming promotes it.

Jon and I agree on one central point: no matter how good you are at coaching, the quality of training you are delivering decreases with each successive athlete you are coaching. This is particularly poignant for adult, international caliber athletes. These are athletes that have reached a point where they need extremely specific training to continue to improve and develop. For instance, even though I believe Dave Salo is the best swim coach in the entire world, there are far too many elite swimmers there.

I recognize that I am essentially making a socialist argument in the country of capitalism. This is America after all, if you are the best coach than you should have as many swimmers as will swim for you! There is also some benefit to having other elite athletes to train with. What is the magic number? I don't know, but if I had to guess it would probably be less than ten. Jon has every reason to be overconfident about his own coaching ability, but he had enough humility to admit that it has been a challenge to add just one more international caliber swimmer to his coaching responsibilities earlier this year. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All are invited to the /r/swimmer party!

Lately I have become a Redditor.  If you don't know what I am talking about, you are missing out. is a news site where anyone can post text, photos or links and they are ranked with up/down votes by readers. Those posts grabbing the highest number land on the front page.  One of the best things about it is that the comments, like floswimming back in the day, are a free for all.

I am getting a lot smarter from reading articles about foreign policy and science, and dumber due to Rage Comics and memes, but after a while I realized I had been reading a lot less about swimming so I tried to find out if our sport had a presence there.  When I sought out the sub-reddit /r/swimming, I was a little disappointed.  There was no funny, and hardly any links to real swimming news and blogs, so I decided to start a new sub-reddit for real swimmers: 

This is a meme someone posted:  First World Swimmer Problem.  Don't worry, you'll understand when you get sucked in to browsing reddit.

Please head there and subscribe. I ain't gonna lie-- I plan to post links to our stuff there just like we do on facebook and twitter, but at reddit, anyone can post anything they think is interesting.  The more the merrier.  The up and down votes sort it out democratically.  It is yet another swim community to check in with every day, but I have to tell you, it could become a really cool thing if we get enough swimmers, coaches and fans on board.

See you there!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nighttime Snack: Just in Time

In a post earlier this week, I bemoaned the lack of track blocks at the Winter Nationals recently held at our home pool. So imagine my surprise when I came to practice on Monday and saw this:

It's here! We couldn't have gotten them a few days earlier? But that wasn't the only thing that was dramatically different. Where our west pool once was the floor has been raised and USA Swimming is building an ambitious set of stands that will put fans right on top of the turn end of the pool:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Heading to the Chesapeake Pro-Am

Since I am back to club coaching again, I am thrilled to have the chance to go back to Oklahoma City for one of the coolest meets in the midwest.  What is not to like about the Chesapeake Elite Meet?  They offer prize money with bonuses for setting records; they attract some pretty big name national team swimmers along with great clubs and college teams from around the country; and they offer the tournament style "50 free shoot-out" that has proven to be a lot of fun over the years.

This is the 20th year of the meet, and a meet record swim to win the 50 or the 1650 could bring someone $2400 each!  I have been smoking two cartons a day, all week getting ready for that mile and I plan to start swimming some laps sometime soon too.  $2400 would buy a lot of smokes.  (Yes, I really did just hyper-link to the story recommending cigarettes as a training tool.  Deal with it.  I ain't deleting that masterpiece.)

In the few times I have been there I saw Dave Denniston swim a 1:54 200 breast, watched Lezak hit 42.22 in the 100 and 19.11 in the 50 unshaved in a brief, watched Amanda Beard almost get worked over in the 200 breast by a local high school kid , Caroline Bruce, who was relatively unknown at the time, and had some of my young swimmers get autographs from some of swimming's super-stars.  It is just an all-around fantastic swim meet experience.

One of my friends was lucky enough to land the 8th place spot in the prelims for the shoot-out once.  That put him, you guessed it... up against the first place swimmer in round one of the semi's for a one-on-one swim.  Who was first seed to complete the match-up?  Jason Lezak.  My buddy now has a story he can tell for the rest of his life that even non-swimmers will appreciate.  How freakin' cool is that?

One of my favorite memories from the meet comes from Swimming World's coverage in 2009.  I wasn't actually there that year but several of my swimmers were, which made this video an extra special treat.  

Please notice the swimmers in the bleachers.  Many of them are from my club.  If you are paying attention, you will see our club coach at the time (former swimmer of mine) picking his nose, one of our girls poking her head out and making a face at the camera, and several of our team's swimmers just walking right through the footage and pushing Garrett and Darren out of the way like they own the place. The nerve!

At one point Garrett even says "that's okay... we're just live on the internet" and then later "so, apparently we're getting in everyone's way so we are gonna call it a night."  Haha. Some of those kids will be going this year with me.  They are a fun group.  I will try to keep them from ruining everyone else's good time.  Haha.

Are any of you readers out there gonna be at the meet?  If so, let me know.  So far I have never actually met anyone in person who reads the blog and I am starting to wonder if the comments are actually just really well-programmed robot-generated spam.  Plus, my life doesn't have enough awkward experiences... if you spot me on deck, please pretend you are a fan of my work so I can make the most of it.

Just kidding.

Kind of.  You would probably end up in a video on the blog.  But don't let that scare you off from saying hi.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Late Night Snack: Swim Brief on NBC (sorta....not really....)

Makes you tear up a little, no?
So this afternoon while the kids were at school I turned on NBC's coverage of ATT Nationals as I sat and folded an endless barrage of towels (because that's what swim moms do) when....lo-and-behold...who shows up in the background of a Brendan Hansen interview but our very own Mike Gustafson wandering around with nothing but a camera, a USA Swimming All Access Pass and a dream.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Team Doesn't Take Bathroom Breaks...

we take smoke breaks.

I am all about reading up on the latest science to help me become a better coach.  Of course, there are a lot of off-the-wall coaches out there spouting some really ridiculous stuff, so I don't buy into everything I read on the internets.  Have you seen those Boomer Chronicles videos?!  Yeah, right!  What a bunch of hooey.  I only  pay attention to articles that use big sciency-sounding words and cite sources and stuff, because that means I can believe every word they are saying.  I like to think I am somewhat of an innovator, and that is why I love it when I stumble upon a gem like this one, in a scientific journal, written by someone like me who really thinks outside the box.

Kenneth A. Myers, BSc wrote a really intriguing review of existing research entitled "Cigarette Smoking: An Underused Tool in High-Performance Endurance Training."  In it, he explains that several studies have pointed out that smoking has an impact on three factors related to endurance performance:  serum hemoglobin, lung volume and weight loss.  Essentially, he is saying that smoking gives us all of the benefits of altitude training and more, with results that are much less temporary.  He cites several sources showing data supporting these claims, and then says "despite this scientific evidence, the prevalence of smoking in elite athletes is actually many times lower than in the general population.  The reasons for this are unclear; however, there has been little to no effort made on the part of national governing bodies to encourage smoking among athletes."

USA Swimming needs to get with the program.  USA Cycling is years ahead of us in pursuing a more science based training regimen.  

The best part of the article is that the author sees this as a developmental tool in age group athletics.  He states that since the benefits of smoking "appear to be dose-dependent and may not develop until many years after initiation of treatment... smoking should be commenced at as young an age as is reasonably possible.  Children who have not yet developed a pincer grasp might require modified cigarette holders, safety lighters or both."

Wow.  This guy thought of everything.  He even says this regarding the laws that prevent anyone under age 18 from buying cigarettes: "countries should strongly consider repealing the existing laws or at least allowing exemptions for people thought to have athletic potential in endurance sports."    Where do I apply to get my 10 & unders their smoking permit?  Fan-freaking-tastic!

This picture of a young Kate Ziegler proves that her  coaches in Florida had identified her talent and had her on the right track before she had even graduated from their lessons program.

I can't wait to fill in my assistant coaches on the new direction our program is going to take.  I plan to give every new member a carton of Marlboro's when they sign up.  Well, maybe I should start with menthols for the little guys, I guess-- but by the time a child turns eleven years old and can start swimming the 500 and the 200's of the strokes in meets, I hope to have them up to about a pack a day.  Really, I should be progressively building the kids so that they smoke two packs at every practice by the time they get to high school, which puts them up to four packs a day when they start doing doubles.  Should I contact the PE coach to see if they can light up during their weights classes at school?  That could put us up to six packs a day which would be pretty freaking phenomenal.  I am pretty sure none of the other teams in the area will be smoking anywhere near that many cigs.  I wonder if I can get my swimmers' parents to stand at the end of their lanes with lighters so my swimmers don't have to miss their intervals when they have to mess with lighting up between repeats.  Come to think of it, the kids can't really just set a lit cigarette at the end of their lane next to their water bottle. It would get all soggy with the splashes from their flip turns.  Do they make waterproof cigarette protectors?

this guy is getting ready to rip that 1500 in half.  There is no way he ain't gonna make that trial cut.
This is really exciting to me.  I get so sick of all of these so-called "experts" writing their books and selling their DVD's to tell me how to make my swimmers faster.  Really?  Can you show me one single scientific study that proves that pilates is anything more than a waste of time?  Can you prove to me through scientific hypothesis that getting the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats will help my swimmers to recover better?  No, you can't... because you were making all that crap up!

I plan to make a real change in the way I coach my swimmers at all levels, and I got the science to back it up. The term "smoker" ain't just reserved for the guys in the outside lanes any more.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The FS3 Combo Pack

It's been a couple of years now since polyurethane was banned from suits and length restrictions freed our calves, forearms and man-boobs from captivity, but I am starting to worry that we might be opening that door again with the new Speedo gear.  I fear that this new tech could set off a chain of events that could have us all arguing once again about technology cheapening the sport as we head into the 2012 Olympics.

Some of the biggest arguments against tech suits were:

-They cost too much
-Some swimmers got more advantage than others
-Compression wards off fatigue
-We could no longer compare to historical records

So now with the whole 3 pack and the suit that gives you 11% advantage this way and 16% advantage that way, the cap that fills in the natural line of your neck to reduce drag, and the goggles that make you look like Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD-- do we need to revisit this whole thing again?  Methinks those arguments against the tech suits really haven't been solved.

Kabukiman? If you don't know who he is, you need a little TROMA in your life.

After the plastic was banned and suits were supposed to be deemed "permeable," of course Speedo tried to sneak this one by us, which was thankfully recalled-- but with FS3 they aren't even trying to hide that the new tech is as close to the old plastic monsters we banished all to hell as possible.

Seriously... watch the video and tell me that we aren't right back to 2008:

Of course, like every comedian on Earth breathed a sigh of relief when George W was re-elected, a blogger like me should probably just shut up and be glad that we might have this wonderful topic out there to argue about once again. 

My guess is that after Phelps retires, we will be back to plastic and full length suits in 2013 and this stuff will be downgraded to a practice suit anyway.