SwimSwam Podcast: Fred Bousquet Explains Why Super Suits Were Good for Swimming

On the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman Hodges and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

We sat down with perhaps the most artistic swimmer of all-time, Fred Bousquet. Fred opened up about what it was like when he first got to America and started training at Auburn University under David Marsh and Dave Durden, admitting that it took him a year just to make the decision to leave France. Bousquet also explains why he loved the super suits: because of the attention that they brought to the sport. Bousquet admits that swimming now is “purer”, but he still thinks the super suits added an interesting dynamic to the sport.

Music: Otis McDonald
www.otismacmusic.com

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Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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IM FAN
15 days ago

In a way, the technological breakthrough was inevitable. The suit was just too good, even altering swimmers body positions, and that’s where it crossed the line to becoming an aid like fins. Still, I do not believe that the sport would be reaching the heights it is today without the high barriers set by the supersuits. It was a net positive in retrospect, though in 2010 or so it felt like those records would never be touched for generations. However there are a select few records, most infamously the men’s 200 free and women’s 200 fly, that are flat out comical in how obviously assisted they are. Those very well may take another decade if not more to fall. The… Read more »

Yeet
Reply to  IM FAN
15 days ago

Great Comment

DMacNCheez
Reply to  IM FAN
15 days ago

Breaking news: Usain Bolt runs quick 9.58 100m, but falls well short of rocket shoe aided world record…

JustAnotherSwimmer
Reply to  IM FAN
15 days ago

As opposed to Phelp’s 2008 200 free win which was obviously unassisted because LZR racer had no effect and absolutely did not introduce the use of polyurethane into swimming? You’re talking like that 1.42 swim had its own special suit, and no other world class swimmer attempted to swim the same race in that same suit without getting that result. Could it be that Biederman deserves credit for that amazing swim?? You people come off as being pissed because athletes other than your beloved Phelps or team USA had the spotlight…Otherwise, you would have started spouting these arguments the moment LZR racer ad campaign came out (claiming like 80 brand new world records or something ridiculous) but no, the moment… Read more »

Erik
Reply to  JustAnotherSwimmer
15 days ago

ESPN, July 28, 2009: “The suits make a difference,” Biedermann said. “I hope there will be a time when I can beat Michael Phelps without these suits. I hope next year. I hope it’s really soon.”

IM FAN
Reply to  JustAnotherSwimmer
15 days ago

At no point did I insult Biedermann or insist that Phelps deserved the 2009 title. Neither athlete was responsible for the technological revolution they found themselves participating in. I simply used the 200m free world record as an example of remaining scar left on the swimming world from the tech suits. Regardless of the man who touched the wall and wrote the time into the history books, the result was achieved utilizing a superior tool that that hasn’t been available since, and the results speak for themselves. The only other man to have swum under 1:43 is Phelps, and you pointed out that time was assisted as well. Under the modern rules the only swim that falls in the same… Read more »

john
Reply to  IM FAN
15 days ago

Bro wrote a whole essay haha. Atleast its wonderfully written and nice to read

Khachaturian
15 days ago

Suits were unfair. They were cool but at the end of the day they were unfair.

nuotofan
Reply to  Khachaturian
15 days ago

Yes. Talking about Bousquet, he was third in the 100 free at Worlds 2009 and become so highly competitive in the 100 free LCM only in that year (his lone other placement in the 100 free final was at Worlds2003, when he was sixth). Considering his results in the 100 free, his first 8 performances (from 47.15 to 48.48) were swum in the 2009 with the most efficient 100% poly suits of last generation, and then there are 3 performances swum in 2008, with the 50% poly suits (from 48.52 to 48.71), another 48.85 in the 2009 (in the heat of Nats Champ.) and finally a 48.93 swum in the 2006. So, his best swim in a not-poly suit was… Read more »

Xman
Reply to  nuotofan
14 days ago

You’re overlooking the his 47.08 relay split from 2003. In addition to this he was going low 48s on relays in the years after. In short course (yards and meters) his 100 splits were significantly lower then his dead start. He had the proven ability to swim 100 meters in a low 47, it just took him 6 years to do it from a dead start. In this interview and the one with Lezak he drills in the importance about a part of a team, and swimming as a unit. Perhaps it was the suit or the confidence he had from his relay swim in 2008, but something changed in 2009 where he was able to take the confidence he… Read more »

nuotofan
Reply to  Xman
14 days ago

1) Yes, “something changed in 2009” and re-changed since 2010. In the next three years, these were Bousquet’s best times in the 100 free LCM: 49.34 in 2010, 49.34 in 2011 and 49.09 (Bousquet’s best time after 2009) at Olympic trials 2012. No qualifications for Worlds and Olympics in the 100 free, after that bronze medal at Worlds09. 2) All of us, swimming fans, know the difference between a relay swim and 3 rounds of the individual race. Moreover, like Bousquet’s rightly says, certain swimmers, like him and Lezak, swimming in a team give the best of them, and this is a great merit, no doubt about it. But it’s pretty clear that those 2009 suits deeply changed many individual… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by nuotofan
CoachD
15 days ago

The suits did not help swimmers equally. Some more than others and generally less help to the more fit athlete.
Cost to young families and non sponsored athlete created unfair playing field. At the time they were legal, they were many times hard to obtain. Some kids would have a good tech suit, and then some monster would walk in with an Xglide and trash people. It was a lot about “where to get the next best suit” and a lot less about “how can I train/prepare better”.

I understand the value of promoting an exciting sport, and I believe we all support that. Just please don’t go back to
unfit kids squeezing into $800.00 suits.

Tea rex
Reply to  CoachD
14 days ago

The barrier to entry is a very good point. Even at the highest levels, there were swimmers who could afford to regularly train in poly suits. I remember Kukors talking about that. Even when I retired in 2006 it seemed crazy to train all season and then put on a leg suit that gave you a different body position than you practiced.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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