Drag suits vs. no drag suits at a meet

Forums General General Drag suits vs. no drag suits at a meet

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    • #12042
      stuffis
      Member

      We went to our first college-level meet this weekend and I was surprised to see a mid-level program –wearing full drags and no caps– swimming against an elite program –all wearing team suits and mostly capped.

      First I have heard/seen of this coaching approach, so what’s the philosophy behind that?

      How dispiriting to the slower team, particularly when swimming against a fast team?

    • #31476
      Chris Knight
      Member

      I find it rude. The cap thing doesn’t really bother me because some people really can’t stand them, but drags? It’s just as stupid as going the complete opposite direction and wearing fast suits midseason.

    • #31477
      The Treat
      Member

      @Chris Knight wrote:

      I find it rude. The cap thing doesn’t really bother me because some people really can’t stand them, but drags? It’s just as stupid as going the complete opposite direction and wearing fast suits midseason.

      how is it as stupid as wearing fast suits at midseason? its not stupid if you’re going for national cuts so you dont have to taper for conference. it depends on what your priorities are.

      i think this question was raised last year and my opinion is the same. it shows a lack of respect for the other team in my opinion. you’re either saying that this meet means nothing to me or you guys arent good enough for me (which essentially says this meet means nothing to me). take off the suit, swim your ass off. dont tell me it helps you train harder and will lead to faster times at the end of the season (there are no studies that show this) b/c i can argue that drag suits put drag on the wrong area of the body which can actually be counter productive for your stroke. yes it does increase endurance b/c it’s harder to swim but if it were ideal, you should wear a t-shirt while in practice b/c the pressure gets put on your shoulders. there actually are studies on this, i think done by the university of texas, but i could be wrong. if someone has heard of it, let me know.

      i also think that it just creates an excuse for if you lose. “oh, i had a drag on. i could have dropped X seconds if i didnt have it on” (which you have no idea about). just take it off and have no excuses.

    • #31478
      neswim
      Member

      Quite the contrary you can make a strong case that one should use the fast suit for every meet. The whole point of racing is trying to replicate, as closely as possible, your body position at pace. Yes, you’ll be broken down and not shaved but using your fastest suit will give you a better feel for your main race. The major challenge of swim training is limited opportunities to get a good feel for your race before the target meet.

      The obvious reason that people don’t do this is the high cost due to the very short life span of such suits.

    • #31479
      stuffis
      Member

      Are there certain conferences where this is more commonplace? How should…or how have…opposing coaches dealt with this issue?

    • #31480
      swim5599
      Member

      I think that if you want to go out there and wear a drag suit and you compete at a high level, then no one should complain. I don’t have problems with national caliber guys swimming with drag suits on.

      I also agree that you can swim fast at almost anytime. SO whether you are wearing a drag suit or not, you just gotta get out there and get after it

    • #31481
      silentp
      Member

      Bob Bowman does not believe in drag at any time so most of his swimmers don’t wear drag suits (not taper suits either, but a traditional “speedo”) and caps, even for practice.

    • #31482
      Chris Knight
      Member

      @The Treat wrote:

      @Chris Knight wrote:

      I find it rude. The cap thing doesn’t really bother me because some people really can’t stand them, but drags? It’s just as stupid as going the complete opposite direction and wearing fast suits midseason.

      how is it as stupid as wearing fast suits at midseason? its not stupid if you’re going for national cuts so you dont have to taper for conference. it depends on what your priorities are.

      Sorry for not being clear; I was referring to dual meets. Obviously Christmas meets when you’re trying to get a cut is a different situation.

    • #31483
      The Treat
      Member

      @Chris Knight wrote:

      @The Treat wrote:

      @Chris Knight wrote:

      I find it rude. The cap thing doesn’t really bother me because some people really can’t stand them, but drags? It’s just as stupid as going the complete opposite direction and wearing fast suits midseason.

      how is it as stupid as wearing fast suits at midseason? its not stupid if you’re going for national cuts so you dont have to taper for conference. it depends on what your priorities are.

      Sorry for not being clear; I was referring to dual meets. Obviously Christmas meets when you’re trying to get a cut is a different situation.

      ok. makes more sense.

    • #31484
      gomez2354
      Member

      @silentp wrote:

      Bob Bowman does not believe in drag at any time so most of his swimmers don’t wear drag suits (not taper suits either, but a traditional “speedo”) and caps, even for practice.

      half of bowmans group is sponsored and has to wear fast suits, regardless to how he feels.

      THeir are a couple of coaches out there who don’t believe in them. I don’t understand them..

    • #31485
      silentp
      Member

      @gomez2354 wrote:

      @silentp wrote:

      Bob Bowman does not believe in drag at any time so most of his swimmers don’t wear drag suits (not taper suits either, but a traditional “speedo”) and caps, even for practice.

      half of bowmans group is sponsored and has to wear fast suits, regardless to how he feels.

      THeir are a couple of coaches out there who don’t believe in them. I don’t understand them..

      While i don’t have facts, i find it hard to believe that swimmers have to wear fast suits at practice. In fact, they don’t wear taper suits for practice, just not drag, so while it may be true that they have to wear those suits for meets (regardless of the meet’s importance) i’d say that sponsorships have no influence on whether or not a swimmer is wearing a drag suit at practice.

    • #31486
      maverick1
      Member

      the sponsorship does force them into wearing those fast suits at every meet that the swim at though…..but then again these sponsored athletes are not swimming at dual meets either.

      my thoughts on this are quite similar to my thoughts within the sport of triathlon….i’ll explain here:

      -the majority of triathletes are between the ages of 35-40 years old and 90% of these athletes make more than $100,000 per year (USAT has proof of this stat) and therefore these athletes do have quite a bit of cash. because of this, i’ll go to a race and an out of shape, overweight doctor will have the most expensive equipment (bike, wheels, suits, helmets, the whole deal) and get near last place. i have been someone who hated on people like this, but is there any reason, no way. it’s a personal choice if you want to spend $15,000 on a bike.

      I think the same is true for swimming, but is a bit different. If someone wants to wear a fastskin at a dual meet, who are we to judge…..maybe they wear them because they have low self esteem and it just makes more sense for this athlete to swim with every possible advantage, everytime they race. this could also be said for people who wear drag suits, maybe there is an athlete out there who really tears it up when tapered but doesn’t swim very well unrested and has a confidence issue. so then this guy wears his drag suit at dual meets or any meet where he is less rested just to keep him sane and confident.

      a big point of this is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s disrespectful to your competition or whethere some coaches don’t believe in it, you do what you have to do in order to swim your fastest right? and at the time of the season that you see fit to swim your fastest.

      i don’t think there’s too much argument to be had here, except on the notes that the treat and others have touched on, like the ability of drag suits to improve strength and endurance.

    • #31487
      N Dynamite
      Member

      @maverick wrote:

      If someone wants to wear a fastskin at a dual meet, who are we to judge…maybe there is an athlete out there who really tears it up when tapered but doesn’t swim very well unrested and has a confidence issue.

      This is a great point that I had never considered. I don’t think the training aspect of wearing a drag suit for a meet is a significant enough reason for wearing one. But this…if you believe that you don’t taper well and this helps get over that mental hurdle by making you artificially slow in a dual meet, more power to you.

    • #31488
      swim5599
      Member

      Yeah I think if you want to wear one then wear one. I have no problems with people wearing them.

    • #31489
      Chris Knight
      Member

      I have never really loved the idea of fast suits, because I think that they are right on the edge of being illegal (USA-S rule 102.10: No Swimmer is permitted to wear or use any device to help his/her speed, pace or bouyancy in the water). My objection is strictly philosophical, as the suits are clearly here to stay.

      Now, lets say that they do make some kind of difference. Swimming is built around the principle of training for peak performance. This is why we don’t shave every meet, and why we rest as little as possible through the season. You want everything to come together at the right time, the meet you’ve focused on through the training cycle. That’s when you rest, that’s when you shave, so why wouldn’t that be the only time when you break out the fast suits? Wearing them more than that doesn’t make sense to me. In-season meets, especially dual meets, should be about sacking up and racing hard through the pain. You don’t need a fast suit for that.

    • #31490
      stuffis
      Member

      As a semi-naive observer of the dual meet in question (where one team wore drags and the other wore Speedos), it sure is less appealing to see.

      No other sport that I can think of would have a team play less than their best/fastest during in-conferance games, meets or matches (I’m not referring to resting due to injuries, which to me isn’t the same).

      All great points, btw.

    • #31491
      Chris Knight
      Member

      I can think of 2 similar examples right off the bat”

      1) The last few games of an NFL season, when the teams who’ve clinched playoff berths sit their stars for most of the game even if it means a loss.

      2) Tiger Woods completely reconstructing his swing so he can win more majors, even though it certainly cost him many a victory on regular tour stops.

    • #31492

      @Chris Knight wrote:

      Swimming is built around the principle of training for peak performance. This is why we don’t shave every meet, and why we rest as little as possible through the season. You want everything to come together at the right time, the meet you’ve focused on through the training cycle.

      Chris Knight is right! But, there are many different philosophy’s and schools of thought to reach peak performance. Example, Mike Bottom believes in rest and recovery so muscle has a chance to heal during the season, believeing it will produce faster times at the end. Eddie Reese feels that philosophy just makes swimmers swim fast during the season. He could care less about dual meets if his swimmers perform at the end of the season. I think it is safe to say both have proven to have done a pretty good job. So is it better to swim with drag suits on during races or not to achieve peak performance at the end of the season?

      I believe it is better to go without drag suits. Every coach plans their season to try to get the most out of their swimmers, trying to find the balance between endurance and speed. This goes along with sets designed for resistance training such as weights and power racks, drilling, and working on under water kicking. The best way to determine if your swimmers need more speed work or perhaps more endurance work is in a meet. This is not determined at every college meet as there are so many, but certain meets have a higher priority (mid season meets) during the season and coaches will focus on these meets, evaluate their swimmers and adjust their plans accordingly. The best way to do this is to create as close as possible end of the season situations, much like a football team might practice under the lights for night games or turn down the heat to prepare for a cold game.

      In addition you want your swimmers to get the feeling of racing fast. Many teams do quality sets or what others call stand up sets. We called them race rehearsals when we did them. We told the swimmer to put on their caps, get their racing googles and get down to one suit. The same goes for meets (racing suits are expansive, but get down to one suit and put on a cap if you wear one at the end of the season). We train to prepare to race and races are for just that, get up and race. One of the only reasons I ever got from swimmers who wore drag suits is they wanted to drop more time at the end of the season, which I think is a poor excuse. I personally feel those who wear drag suits at meets are not taking racing seriously and I do not have the confidence in them to step it up every time when it does count. Swimming fast is much like what Vince Lombardi said about winning “Winning is a habit, unfortunately so is losing.” Swimming fast is a habit, so is swimming slow and making excuses. When it is time to go fast, make no excuse, put it all out there ever time. Then when the end of the season comes you will not be in the habit of making excuses, you will do what you have done a hundred times before. You will go out there and perform, the same way you did all season. And why don’t we shave for every meet? Hair takes along time to grow back for the drag for training. Many teams will shave a week out before the big meet now to get a feel for being shaved down, Cal I believe does this. Kenyon swimmers I believe also do this (anyone who swims for Kenyon or has swum for Kenyon want to confirm this?).

      As for that mid level team that wore drag suits, that is what they are, mid level. I would prefer to follow the examples of proven teams, swimmers, and coaches at places such as Texas, Michigan, Stanford, and Auburn (the only four teams to win a National title in Men’s swimming in about the last 20 years). I bet none of them wear drag suits in meets (I have seen some of those meets and never saw a drag suit).

    • #31493

      @Its all an ACT wrote:

      I personally feel those who wear drag suits at meets are not taking racing seriously and I do not have the confidence in them to step it up every time when it does count. Swimming fast is much like what Vince Lombardi said about winning “Winning is a habit, unfortunately so is losing.” Swimming fast is a habit, so is swimming slow and making excuses.

      I agree with you on this. Anybody who swam for Hope in the past three years knows that I extended this philosophy even into practice. About 90 percent of practices I was in a speedo and cap, no drag. I tried to simulate race situations daily in practice. I always knew how much progress I was making because I timed myself from the block most days.

      Now some might say that I went a little overboard, especially since it was an unfair advantage to those practicing with me that decided to wear drag suits. I agree, but after my first year more and more Hope swimmers started practicing w/o them. Whether it helped them or not really depends on the person. I always thought it helped with my balance, which I think is really underrated as far as stroke mechanics are concerned.

      But then, I had as much fun practicing as I did swimming meets. They were basically the same thing as far as I was concerned.

    • #31494
      The Treat
      Member

      @Captain Insano wrote:

      I always thought it helped with my balance, which I think is really underrated as far as stroke mechanics are concerned.

      i totally agree.

      one thing that this got me thinking about was that obviously a drag suit makes it harder to swim because it provides resistance, but what if while not wearing a drag suit, you expelled just as much energy, but just went faster. for instance, instead of holding 57’s on repeating 100’s while wearing a drag, you went 55’s not wearing a drag. which training would be better?

      another reason to wear a drag suit is that they last longer. i thought the people who wore just one suit in practice and it was saggy just looked ridiculous and a bit disgusting. image is everything 😉

    • #31495
      swim5599
      Member

      I see both points to the argument. Treat brings up a good point about holding 57’s with a drag and 55 without. That being said I always trained with a drag on, and raced without it on. I thought it worked out well for me. To each his own I guess.

    • #31496
      Chris Knight
      Member

      @The Treat wrote:

      i thought the people who wore just one suit in practice and it was saggy just looked ridiculous and a bit disgusting. image is everything 😉

      This is a key element in the debate. Probably every team has at least one guy who allows his junk to be too visible. Wearing drag is an excellent way to prevent this kind of disgusting display.

    • #31497
      Derek
      Member

      @The Treat wrote:

      @Captain Insano wrote:

      I always thought it helped with my balance, which I think is really underrated as far as stroke mechanics are concerned.

      i totally agree.

      one thing that this got me thinking about was that obviously a drag suit makes it harder to swim because it provides resistance, but what if while not wearing a drag suit, you expelled just as much energy, but just went faster. for instance, instead of holding 57’s on repeating 100’s while wearing a drag, you went 55’s not wearing a drag. which training would be better?

      I was never a very good in season swimmer and when I was I think a sophomore in high school my coach, seeing my frustration, sat down to explain it to me. Our team did not wear drag suits at meets. He told me that when I was tired, my body position was changing drastically from when I was rested and tapered, so my slow swims at dual meets was a function of being tired just like everybody else, but also because my body position changed so drastically. Thinking about this, it is even more clear that for a swimmer like me especially, drag suits just make a bad situation worse. I also took it as a reason to start working on my body position (too little too late?).

    • #31498
      fr0gman
      Member

      It’s really just a choice that every coach/swimmer has to decide what’s best for them. Nobody should be offended one way or another. It’s not a sign of disrespect if one team chooses to race in drag suits…That’s just what the coach has decided is best for the team. Some coaches choose to give their athletes an easy practice the night before a meet, or not lift the day before and some coaches pound their kids all year until its time to rest. Its not an issue of right or wrong.

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