Bob Bowman on Arizona State’s Techsuit Meet: It’s a Learning Experience

Bob Bowman on Arizona State Techsuit Swims: It’s a learning experience

Arizona State caused quite a stir nearly two weeks ago, blitzing the NCAA leaderboard — not to mention Stanford and California — in doubles. It came with the Sun Devils, the men’s team who are already ranked No. 1 in the nation and wear techsuits.

The reason to coach Bob Bowmanwas easy.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more people doing that because, #1, it’s a lot more fun. And #2, I just think it’s going to make the sport better,” Bowman said on a Zoom call with media on Wednesday. “I think the days of people trying to be as slow and tired as possible all season and end up with something wonderful are over, I think. It just doesn’t make sense to me, and I hope it doesn’t make sense to anyone else.”

Whether they were a miracle or not, Arizona State’s swim against Cal was historically fast. Until the end of the weekend Leon Marchand held an NCAA record in the 400 singles medley among NCAA lead times in four events. Grant house lowered his national best in the 200 Free. A host of others lined up as potential NCAA finalists.

And much of that was because Bowman chose not to keep the Sun Devils powder dry for NCAAs.

The team wasn’t resting for the meet – even in the bidding, Marchand alluded to a bright day before the back-to-back opponents meet the Northern California opponents. So what was happening at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center was all about the suits that reinforced the swimmers’ months of work.

And that’s the point for Bowman. (It’s not a new perspective from him, either.) He’s pretty clear that hard work year-round is “the key ingredient” as he hopes to lift Arizona State from sixth-place in the NCAAs last year, its best finish in four Decades to bring up to fight for a title. But when you’re shaving, tapering, and dressing up for championship season, it’s hard to figure out just how much each element helps.

Wearing the techsuits early not only gets swimmers used to them, but also gives valuable information to the coaching staff.

“We decided to wear the tech suits because, #1, why don’t we want to be fast in competitions?” Bowman said. “Why do we force ourselves to be slow if we don’t have to? We’d love to learn how to swim in the techsuits, and these meetings are really the only time to learn how to do that, apart from a few drills where we use them. We wanted to be able to do that under racing conditions. And #2, we also want to know about our training schedule. And if you go your whole season without techsuits and end up putting on a techsuit and training shave and rejuvenate, there are three variables you just changed and you don’t know what made the difference or how much of a difference.

“So let’s take one out of the equation. We’ll know what the suits are doing for us, so we’ll have a much better idea of ​​how we plan for the championship season and whether or not our taper was successful.”

As for timing of donning suits against Cal, the reigning national champion and a program not worse than second at the NCAAs since 2010, rather than say this week’s meet against rival Arizona — Bowman doesn’t see it that way The equation between two teams battling for Pac-12 and NCAA crowns will be fundamentally changed.

“I think the best way for us is to use these suits and learn how to swim in them, and by the end we’ll all know,” he said. “Everyone will be fully prepared at the NCAAs and we’ll see how it plays out.”

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