At this year's world swimming championships, 43 new world records were set – not because swimmers suddenly became more talented but because they got better swimsuits. Just as steroids have tainted the baseball record book, swimming competitions have become a joke because of full-body, speed-enhancing swimsuits made from polyurethane. The suits are water-repellent, reduce drag, improve buoyancy and use a corset-like grip to maintain optimal body position in the water.
Michael Phelps won eight gold medals and set seven records at last year's Olympics. He finally lost a race this year, to a swimmer wearing a suit even more advanced than the Speedo full-body LZR Racer that helped Phelps rewrite the record books.
Good news, though: the world's top swimming organization has banned the space-age suits, effective Jan. 1, 2010.
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