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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 26, 2009 / 1 Nisan 5769

Progress Thwarted

By Bob Tyrrell


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Vindication is sweet! During last summer's Olympics, I wrote in this space that the high-tech swimsuits worn by competitive swimmers in the events and manufactured by Speedo with the assistance of NASA scientists were irrelevant to sport and destined for further controversy. In fact, I argued that the suit, known as the Speedo LZR Racer, is as inappropriate for competitive swimming as wearing swim fins in the pool. Now a rising chorus of swimming coaches and competitors at this week's NCAA Division I swimming championships seems to agree.


The LZRs are made of high-tech material. They cover a competitor's body from shoulders to ankles. The material allows the body to float higher in the water. It also offers less resistance to the water than human skin, allowing those who encase themselves in it to glide through the water faster. Consequently, in championships, everyone wants to wear an LZR. Those who do obviously have an unfair advantage over those who, for whatever reason, do not. Not surprisingly, since the arrival of the LZR, the incidence of world records has increased — though that does not mean that today's champions in the high-tech suits are really faster than pre-high-tech swimmers.


In fact, the use of the high-tech suits by Michael Phelps last summer casts doubt on the claim that his performance was greater than that of Mark Spitz in 1972. Phelps won eight golds, one more than Spitz. But Spitz, wearing a pre-tech suit best described as a brief, set world records in every event he won. Phelps equaled Spitz's seven world records, but the records he beat were set in olden times, before the advent of the LZR. It is estimated that the LZR improves a swimmer's time by at least 3 percent. Did Phelps best each world record by at least 3 percent? He did not. Spitz's Olympic performance is arguably history's best.


We can thank the inventers of this idiotic aquatic contraption for this idiotic debate. Also, we must thank NCAA officials who last September decided to allow its use in intercollegiate swimming. Why did they not allow the use of swim fins, too?


Now coaches are grumbling that the high-tech suits have introduced a variable into the sport that detracts from the essence of competitive swimming — stroke mechanics, rigorous training and competitive drive. Dennis Dale, the swimming coach at the University of Minnesota, told The Wall Street Journal, "I'm very disappointed that our sport has come to a point where I have to be as concerned with the swimsuits as I am with the swimmers." Said Phil Whitten, executive director of the College Swim Coaches Association: "It's like having one pole-vaulter using a fiberglass pole and another using a wooden pole. It's an absolute mess."


Moreover, the introduction of high-tech suits not only gives an advantage to the competitors who wear them. The LZR gives a special advantage to fat swimmers — yes, I said fat swimmers. The suits compress competitors' flesh, making their bodies more buoyant and allowing them to float higher in the water. Yet when the fat of corpulent swimmers is compressed, their bodies become more buoyant than the bodies of lean, dense-muscled swimmers. Thus, the fatties, according to the Journal, "Float higher in the water and swim faster."


Another problem is that the LZR suits are tremendously expensive. Whereas the ordinary briefs that most swimmers still wear cost about $25 each, the LZR costs $550. Equally appalling, it is good for only a few races before it is worn out and falls apart. This adds thousands of dollars more to the costs of athletic programs that might better use their money on scholarships. The LZR redirects competitive swimming from sport to technological experimentation. It causes athletic programs to place a swimmer's swimsuit above an athlete's education.


At the heart of the matter, we see a clever swimsuit manufacturer expanding its profits hugely by bringing out a hitherto-unimagined product. What allowed Speedo to get away with this? Doubtless, the officials at the NCAA assume that they are part of history's march to progress. Well, if it is progress when swimmers wearing high-tech swimsuits break world records, it would be even more progressive if the swimmers took up my suggestion and wore swim fins. With them, the swimmers would swim even faster and at much less cost. A standard pair of fins goes for about $30, and they last for years.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

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