If you've been watching the Olympic swimming events, and who isn't, you've probably noticed the new one-piece swimsuit worn by Cullen Jones, Michael Phelps and all the top swimmers.& ; Since the games began in Beijing, at least seven swimming world records have fallen and many people credit Speedo's LZR Racer with streamlining technology to help create the perfect record-breaking storm.
How much of a factor is a subject of much debate. Speedo's LZR Racer, which was developed in cooperation with NASA and designed to reduce drag, has received considerable attention for its laser-bonded seams and its ability to increase oxygen intake by 5%.
It also compresses a swimmer's body so much, it often takes an athlete 30 minutes or more to put it on -- one inch at a time. Zimbabwe's Kristy Coventry said putting on the suit is so painful on her fingers, she has to put band-aids on them all the time. But she wouldn't dare wear anything else. Why give your competitors an edge?
"I think everyone is wearing the suit now, so we're on kind of a level playing field," said Coventry, who set a world record in the semifinals of the 100-meter backstroke. "Technology in all sports keep advancing, and I think they will as technology grows. I think sports kind of have to keep up with that technology. It's a great suit. I love it."
MSNBC reports five NASA scientists are in Beijing and traveling with Team USA's swimming team.
The Los Angeles Times reports of "the 36 medals awarded thus far in China, 33 of them have gone to athletes wearing the LZR Racer. Since the suit made its debut in February, it's been used to break 57 world records." The new swimming pool design also factors in the record-breaking. The new pools& ; in Beijing are three meters deep, most pools in previous Olympics were only two meters deep, and "now feature 10 lanes so the two outside lanes can remain empty" to reduce turbulence.
Speedo claims the new LZR Racer "is a swimming revolution", and, at this point, few would argue with them. But we're sure many gay men probably prefer the classic Speedo, which is more revealing and gives a "lift" to the athlete's best assets.