The use of fastskins/laser swimsuits by competitive swimmers should be permitted because it is not technological doping, it benefits the swimmer, and it allows athletes to utilize advancement in the sport. Swimming is a sport in which I participate and the main reason as to why I was attracted to this topic. In this paper, I plan to explain what technological doping means, and why the suits should not be considered a part of it. In addition, how the suits were made and tested, how the suits benefit a swimmer and how the suits give swimming the opportunity to advance as a sport.
It all began with the making of the suit. It took three years of research including help from NASA, more than 100 tests on different fabrics, and full body scans on more than 400 elite swimmers to create the Speedo LZR ("Laser") RACER (McKeegan). This is the first suit to combine stitch-free, ultrasonically welded seams, a water-resistant fabric, and well-placed polyurethane panels, which were developed by NASA (“Fina extends”). All of these pieces were put into the making a suit that reduces drag and hold a swimmer’s body in a more streamlined position (McKeegan). The suits were tested in wind tunnels that are used by NASA to test the aerodynamic qualities of space shuttles (“Speedo launches LZR RACER”). The LZR makes swimmers more efficient in their oxygen intake so it is easier for them to swim faster for longer (“Speedo launches LZR RACER”). The Speedo Aqualab research team placed the laser-cut ultra low-friction polyurethane panels specifically on the high-drag areas, making each individual
swimmer as hydrodynamic as they can be (“Speedo launches LZR RACER”). The suit also uses computational fluid dynamics that compress the body (Mayes 8). Each swimmer is held in the correct shape and position to cut through the water in the most effective way, therefore saving them valuable energy, which can then be used to swim faster (“Speedo launches LZR RACER”). Speedo took a much more scientific route than any other creator did when it came to designing the Racer (Goodgame).
Swimmers who use fastskins or laser suits do the work in order to benefit, therefore the suits should not be considered “technological doping.” Technological doping means to better one’s performance with the use of technology. Many people believe that the suits are technological doping, because of how much they have improved swimmer’s times and ability.
In addition, they say that as proof, swimmers who have worn these suits have broken many world records. As a result, people question who really gets the gold medal? (Lu). Some believe that they give an unfair edge mainly because they are not available to everyone due to price (Lu). They think swimming should be about how strong you are and how good your technique is, not what kind of technology is available to help you (Hogg). One man argued that the swimmers would understand if they lost a race fairly but not if they lost...