Boston vs. New York, Jammers vs. Briefs

Boston vs. New York, Jammers vs. Briefs

Since 18th century, Boston and New York have been intense rivals as cities.

Alexis de Tocqueville, a famed French political thinker and historian known for his book, Democracy in America, described Boston in glowing terms and New York as quite the opposite.

What we have seen of the inhabitants [of Boston]…differs completely from what we saw at New-York. Society [in Boston]…resembles almost completely the upper classes in Europe. Luxury and refinements reign. Almost all the women speak French well, and all the men…their manners are distinguished, their conversation turns on intellectual matters, one feels oneself delivered from those commercial habits and that financial spirit that render the society of New-York so vulgar.”

While this is certainly one man’s view published in 1830, what in the world does this rivalry have to do with modern-day open water swimming?

The cities have another difference specific to the open water swimming community: the use of briefs vs. jammers.

At the Boston Light Swim, male swimmers are allowed to swim with jammers while at the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim only briefs are allowed.

Male suits for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim have to be made of a porous material, sleeveless, legless, and not cover the torsos. Any suit that extends to the thighs or shoulders, reduces drag in the water, increases buoyancy, or improves heat-retention is not allowed a la the Channel Swimming Association.

A small difference, but one in which one athletes can be very heated about.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones
Steven Munatones