Hope AD discusses Olympic and intercollegiate swimming
Swimming has been one of the marquee sports during the current Olympics, largely due to the unbelievable success of Michael Phelps. But Phelps hasn’t been the only one setting world records over the last several months. The rise in technology, especially with regard to Speedo’s new LZR Racer swimwear, has sparked a great deal of curiosity and debate around the sport at all levels, including intercollegiate athletics.
On this recent edition of Campus Connection, we talk about intercollegiate swimming issues with two individuals who have a connection to swimming at Division III Hope College – Eva Dean Folkert, the women’s director of athletics, and Kyle Waterstone, a recently graduated swimming student-athlete who currently serves as an intern in the brand strategies and event group at the NCAA national office.
Waterstone discusses the remarkable performance of Phelps in these Olympics and how he would fare in college swimming. Additionally, Waterstone shares his opinions on swimming’s new swimsuit technology. Folkert adds insight about the challenges that these new swimsuits will impose on intercollegiate athletics – especially at the Division III level – from budget and availability perspectives.
Additionally, a few weeks ago, we discussed the Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit issue with Skip Foster, the chair of the Division I Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Committee.
The following is an excerpt:
Q: What do you think of this new technology, Kyle?
Waterstone: … I’d rather have them use technology to aid them in that way, as opposed to steroids…Yeah, does it change your body position in the water, maybe, but again, I think it goes back to the comparison that it’s probably better than playing basketball on flat-footed shoes. I don’t know if it’s making athletes better, but I do think that it’s evolving the sport.
Q: So let’s say some Division III schools and individual student-athletes can afford the suits. Is it fair that some people are able to use it but others aren’t? Obviously it kind of creates an unlevel playing field.
Folkert: …That’s true, but we can say that about technology in a lot of sports…The technology is there, and to say no one can use that suit because everyone can’t use that suit would be a long and hard debate…not everything about sports is fair, and that’s going to be something that we’re going to have to come to terms with regarding this kind of technology until it gets cheaper – and I think that day will come.
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