Speedos, spandex, and singlets take some getting ‘used to’ for Comet athletes

Charlie MacKenzie | Staff Writer

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Illustration by Visual Editor Madison Krell

When American author and humorist Mark Twain said “clothes make the man,” he probably wasn’t talking about Speedos, spandex, or singlets.

These uniforms all have one thing in common– they are extremely tight and revealing. Sports that require form-fitting uniforms can pose serious insecurity problems and outline parts of the body that athletes may not want exposed.

Swimmers and water polo players wear Speedos because their compact size allows for easy mobility and less drag in the water. The athletes, however, can only gain this competitive edge through the use of the skimpy apparel. Junior Trevor Gibb has been wearing a Speedo since eighth grade. Like most new things, Gibb said that the experience was uncomfortable at first, but he became accustomed to it overtime.

“I avoided wearing a Speedo my eighth grade year and my freshman year,” Gibb said. “All the guys wear a Speedo and as you are in the locker room more and more you just get comfortable with the guys. You eventually give in, and say ‘okay, fine I’ll wear it.’’’

Head swimming coach Mark Sullivan agrees with Gibb that his swimmers become more complacent to wearing Speedos the longer they have been exposed to them. Swimmers and water polo players have the opportunity to wear “jammers,” which are tight fitting nylon suits that end above the knees. While many athletes may feel awkward sporting a Speedo, the alternative can be less attractive- being the only competitor not wearing standard gear.

“If a boy starts swimming really early in life, they are generally used to the suit and grow accustom to the suit,” Sullivan said. “If a swimmer starts later around middle school they generally feel awkward, so the jammer works best for them. It’s funny, after about a year or so those late bloomers will generally drop the jammer and move to a (Speedo) because everyone else wears one.”

Girls’ volleyball uniforms include spandex shorts that are used for mobility and speed, similarly to Speedos. Senior volleyball player Emily Carlin said that she understands why girls may stray away from spandex, but she does not feel awkward in the shorts.

“(Wearing spandex) could make people feel uncomfortable because they are very tight and short,” Carlin said. “But when you get over that, they are very comfortable.”

Wrestlers wear tight body suits called singlets, and have been for about fifty years. Unlike Speedos and spandex, the purpose of singlets is to prevent injury on the mat. While helping with mobility, the tight nylon allows for wrestlers to easily grab their opponent without having to fish through with excess material. Senior Cole Tibbs has been wrestling for eleven years. He has grown up sporting singlets, but said that wearing the revealing fabric can still be discomforting.

“I think that because I grew up doing it and have been wearing it for so long it isn’t as weird,” Tibbs said. “But still knowing that you are going out in front of hundreds of people in something that is such a tight fitting thing can be a little uncomfortable for a lot of people, but you grow into it.”

A player can pick their sport, but not always their uniform. Tibbs said that almost everyone gets used to wearing singlets, similarly to most uniforms.

“Some people do have concerns with (the tightness) and it is brought up a lot, especially with the newer wrestlers,” Tibbs said. “After the first couple weeks though everyone gets used to it.”