Jul 24, 2008
The much talked about Speedo LZR suit powered most American swimmers toward the front during the recent U. S Trials. You can count several swimmers from here in the Triangle among the believers.
"I had the best meet of my life wearing the suit," said Durham's Erika Stewart.
Stewart, who has dual citizenship, leaves Monday for Beijing, where she will swim for the Colombian national team at the Olympics wearing the suit.
"[The suit] suctions to your body. It's almost like a really really thin wet suit, and it's so tight that it lifts your body up and makes it feel really light in the water."
"NASA was involved in the development of this," says Paul Silver, the head coach of the Marlins of Raleigh. "Is this thing fair? Sure, if everybody can use it, then it's going to be fair. It's no different than metal woods in golf and things like that.
While it may help with aerodynamics in the water, the suit is far from easy to put on.
Silver remembers the first time his swimmers' had to outfit themselves with the LZR.
"I was waiting, waiting. Usually it's about five, ten minutes," Silver joked. "35 minutes later they still weren't back. I thought they were talking to somebody."
Stewart, a veteran with the suit comparatively speaking, has cut her preparation time down to seven minutes.
"When you dive in, you can almost not feel your legs because it kind of takes over."
Wearing the new Speedo, Stewart knocked four seconds off of her personal best time in the 200 individual medley at the U.S. Trials.
Silver cautions that it's not just the suit, and that if you're not fast the suit won't matter.
But, if you swim like Erika Stewart, the LZR makes you a little faster, and a lot more confident.