Swimming with the Sharks

by Pool Builders on 08-23-2006 in Articles

I was a member of the swim team for the most part of my adolescence and all through college. While some people were crashing frat parties, staying up all night on weekdays, and badgering poor *foreign exchange students* who hardly spoke any English, I was sleeping soundly by 8PM. I wake up at 4:30AM every day to hit the pool and had at least an hour of practice after class. Back then I was dead serious about making it as far as my human fins can take me, and I felt like I was unstoppable. But all of that changed when doctors said I couldn't. Who was I to argue with the school doctor, the local hospital surgeon, my coach, and our family doctor; they know better than I do. So I moved on and kept dry all these years. That's what sissies like me do anyway.

But the 2004 Olympics held in Athens changed everything for me. After I watched Ian Thorpe of Australia, Michael Phelps of the US team, and Ukrainian Yana Klochkova slice through the blue waters, I was amazed at how much I've missed the sport. I know I couldn't swim professionally anymore but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it as a spectator's sport, does it? And that was how my passion for competitive swimming was rekindled.

Aside from their obvious magnificence in style and speed, I also noticed how different their swim wear was from what we used to deck out in back in the day. I remember wearing ordinary navy blue Speedo trunks, a cap, and goggles. We didn't really make a whole lot of fuss about our uniforms; we just wanted to swim as fast as we possibly can. It's almost like they stepped out of an alien ship and traversed the waters for intergalactic swimming dominion. They looked like Neptune's commando sharks. The Speedo Men's Aquablade Brief Suit, for example, is made of a one-of-a-kind Aquablade material that overcomes water surface tension by creating less drag and water tension from key areas of the body. It has chlorine-resistant lining, reinforced seams, and a secure drawstring for a comfortable competitive experience.

Most of the competitive high-tech swim wear sold today combine traditional elements, longevity, and speed facilitation. TYR and Jantzen are a couple of renowned brands that manufacture high quality gear. Personally, I've always trusted the Speedo brand for both professional and casual swimming. They've been around for years and people have given testimonies on how much they love their Speedo suits and accessories. The popular brand prioritizes comfort and functionality above all else but they also interject technological advancements in terms of style and quality materials used in production. The *Adidas JetConcept*, Speedo's Fastskin, Fastskin FSII, and Flexskin are considered the pioneer technology of competitive swimming wear. While the Adidas Jetconcept glides through water like a plane does in the air, the Speedo counterpart is designed with replicated shark skin surfaces that reduce water drag in certain parts of the swimmer's body. Professional women swimmers can sport the FSII Recordbreaker which is cut like an ordinary one-piece bathing suit but feels completely superior because of the Fastskin details. This particular suit is available in various sizes and comes in silver, black, or navy.

Meanwhile, men's professional swim wear has branched from the traditional brief-cut trunks. It has actually evolved into body suits with various lengths and cuts. Ian Thorpe was probably the first competitive swimmer who wore a full body suit during a swim meet back in 1999. Initially, I thought he was loony to wear something like it but looking back now, it made a lot of sense. If swimmers wear caps on their heads and shave hair off the rest of their body to swim faster, why not put on a full suit to do all the work, right? The Men's Fastskin FSII High Neck Kneeskin Suit is made from a special fabric that dramatically reduces hydro drag. The seams and high-tech fit also improve the swimmer's muscle performance. None of these items come cheap but once you're in the water swimming far ahead of the pack, wallet damage will be the last thing on your mind.

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