Bodysuits vs. Regular suits

Do bodysuits make a difference?

Introduction

In swimming, bodysuits are like you winning the jackpot. By how bodysuits have so many benefits to your performance in a meet but their is one disadvantage to them which is what they do to a swimmer's body. When ordering bodysuits we have to order them a few sizes smaller so its tight like its your skin that is why officials believe they should be illegal or they look illegal. Bodysuits are tight for a reason and they improve you performance in a race because of the physics behind it. (http://coachsci.sdsu.edu/swim/hydros/chatard4.htm)

Speed

There two types of speed when your talking about swimming the first speed is how fast you are going in the water and the second is your time. These are the two concepts that coaches look at when they observe swimmers and their time. For example, our swim coach looks how fast you come up from the water after a flip turn but also he wants to see a difference in your time while wearing the bodysuit. Also, an article that specializes in making bodysuits states "The idea the adidas innovation team came up with was unique: Instead of focusing on friction drag (caused by the surface of a swimmer) that only accounts for 8% of the drag a swimmer faces in the water they looked into the effects of form drag (caused by the shape of a swimmer) that account for 56%. Adapting a technology already used by commercial aircrafts they created the adidas JETCONCEPT. The greatest obstacle was to add the so-called riblets to the suit without sacrificing the stretch ability and close fit of the suit. But they succeeded and tests showed a real benefit. Swimmers not only felt "higher" in the water (due to less weight on their back) but also achieved better times." (http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/adidas/11087/) Bodysuits make a difference in your time but how it is suppose to act like a skin on the swimmer and with that it doesnt act like a drag as a regular bathing suit would. For example, as the article states "Ribbed panels, modelled after the grooves found on an airplane's fuselage and wings, extend from the underarm to the lower back and cover the gluteus maximus, helping channel water fluidly over your back - reducing active drag and turbulences. The result is up to 3% increase in swimming performance." Not only do bodysuits decrease your time in your specific event but is also comfortable on the swimmer as well.

Comfort

The comfort while wearing the bodysuit feels like your not wearing suit by how it is suppose to act like its your skin so it could decrease the drag but increase your speed in the water. For example, the science behind the bodysuit strangely explains the comfort of wearing the suit which states "The JETCONCEPT suit is one that adidas has studied, researched, tested and devised over several years together with Ian Thorpe and other top class swimmers. Overall, tested swimmers believe that the new suit raises legs higher and changes the body position for better horizontal and flat propulsion. This "feeling" is scientifically documented and based on the speed of water moving under the body, and less water on the swimmer's back. This phenomenon is best explained through the science of hydrodynamics." Also, with bodysuit being comfortable on the swimmer it gives them a sort of boost of confidence in their races and that pushes swimmers to get their best times in their events. But with bodysuits covering most of your body you just automatically get comfortable because you aren't as cold by how there is not much air in the suit because that would create drag. For example, "the 6% reduction in total drag found in the present study and associated with a 3.5% reduction in time performance was not surprising".(http://coachsci.sdsu.edu/swim/hydros/chatard4.htm)

Counter Argument

Swimmers and coaches have noticed that over a long time of using bodysuits that instead of it avoiding drag itself becomes a drag. By how the constant use can make an effect on the bodysuits because pools use large amounts of chlorine and you know how chlorine dries out your skin. Well, that is the exact same thing that happens to the bodysuits it eats the fabric that it is made out of and starts to loose its structure then it become stretched out and loose. Which becomes a drag be how it will be holding water in the fabric. Also, swimmers had mention when trying on the bodysuit it is a difficult process by how its suppose to be tight it is difficult to put on. For example, during my swim season we had not full bodysuit only bodysuits that had went down to your knee. Putting the suit on your legs isn't an easy process they some sort or material on the edge of the knee sleeve that allows it to stick to your skin and not allow it to ride up on your leg. The toughest part in wearing this bodysuit is the strap that hurt the most when you are wearing it for long periods of time. When getting in the diving position that the most hardest part by how compact the bodysuit is on you. Some swimmers including myself had felt or heard rips in the suit that may have caused problems in the future. Those are the main concerns about the bodysuit that coaches or swimmers may have in wearing them.

Conclusion

Although bodysuits may have some problems while wearing it or performing in it there are still benefits that come with it. The most important benefit is the time descrease it makes in your event time and also the speed you feel in the water and the comfortable that you may feel while swimming in it. Bodysuits are quite often used by Olympic Swimmers or Triathlon competitors by how beneficial they are while swimming.