Alain Bernard: Full-Body Swimsuits Will Return To Pool Swimming

Alain Bernard 2008 Olympics
Photo Courtesy: Presse Sports

Alain Bernard has been out of the spotlight since retiring from competitive swimming in 2012, but he recently sat down for an interview with to talk about a wide range of topics that could get people talking about him again.

Bernard’s face was on world newspapers for many days during the 2008 Olympics as he exemplified the agony and ecstasy of competing in Beijing. He was denied a gold medal in the 400 free relay when Jason Lezak passed him in the final strokes and gave the United States a gold medal, relegating France to silver. A few days later, Bernard was all smiles as he won the 100 freestyle over Australia’s Eamon Sullivan, setting a world record at the meet.

He would win several medals at the 2009 and 2011 world championships, but never returned to the top of the podium at a major international meet. He only qualified for France’s 400 free relay as an alternate at the 2012 Olympics, and earned a gold medal as a prelim swimmer.

Below are comments Bernard made in his interview.

Alain Bernard on the polyurethane suit era:

“I don’t think that ‘super swimsuits’ morphologically changed swimmers, or they weren’t the only reason. What really changed is training: the way swimmers train today is very different from five years ago, and will change again in the next ten years. I’m sure that, one day or another, male swimmers will come back to full-body [swimsuits], but without [the complete rubber covering] of the past.”

Alain Bernard on the current French swimming talent and sport’s popularity

Florent Manaudou “has the capacity to be [French swimming’s] leader, if he continues past Rio 2016, and I think he will. The national team is going through a difficult time, but with the tough criteria imposed [for selection to the Olympic team] the team will be smaller but very competitive.

“For a while, the French swimmers were seen as rigid. Then, swimmers [became celebrities] with gossip and tattoos. Suddenly, French swimming was cool to young people. The popularity of French swimmers is second only to soccer.”

Alain Bernard on surviving the aftermath of the Argentina helicopter crash that killed Camille Muffat and others

Bernard was on the scene when two helicopters crashed last March while filming a French TV show in Argentina, but was on the ground. Bernard has a passion to fly airplanes, and said “I didn’t stop [flying] after that terrible accident. It may sound selfish, but the truth is that it must be accepted as inevitable, like a car accident. I took strength from those around me. I have a desire to live now in the memory of Camille Muffat, an extraordinary champion and a girl with an immense joy of living.” article


  1. Matti Harvala

    Today women already have full body swimsuits – why not men alike

    • Andrew Brower

      Cause social protocol says cover a woman’s breasts whereas a man doesn’t need it? Women are still cut at the knees too!

    • Matti Harvala

      Of course but – why women need to have covered stomach? Men could use same type suits that women are having

  2. Mikey Mouser

    i think they should be the same as women’s ie: sleeveless not like the 1s Thorpe used to use. its about how fast the athlete can swim not how fast the suit makes the swimmer cut through the water

  3. Joshua Judge


  4. Charlie Carson

    Click-bait. And I’m sure he never paid for one in his career.