BEIJING - With as many as 19 gold medals up for grabs, the 25-year old US swimmer Aaron Peirsol was the first to dash to one at the National Aquatics Center Tuesday morning, clocking in 52.54 seconds in the men's 100m backstroke, matching his own world record of 52.54 seconds set during the American Olympic trials in July. Only moments before that Michael Phelps set the swimming pool on fire to grab his third gold in the 200-meter freestyle, clocking another world record and staying on course to his aim of eight golds. During this Games, and in the events preceding it, there has been such a rush of records that it has raised many an eyebrow. On Tuesday morning here alone, three records were matched while in three days of swimming contests here another eight world records have already been rewritten. Some experts are of the view that improvement in training, pool design and swimsuit technology have all contributed in this notable increase in the pace that swimmers are now setting. Maybe this is only a coincidence, or maybe there is more to it than meets the eye, that of the 37 world records set in recent weeks, 35 have been by swimmers wearing the Speedo LZR. The gear has indeed been given the sobriquet of ''space age" swimsuit and its laser-bonded seams are said to have two great attributes: reducing drag and aiding buoyancy in the water. Talking about the new swimsuit, the French swimming federation's technical director Claude Fauquet was of the opinion: "When technology is used in a sport, it is important to be in control of the way it is being developed and where it might lead us". There are others who do not have such a vague and benign view, their standpoint being that since the suit aids buoyancy in the water, it is in violation of performance-enhancing parameters set by FINA, the global governing body of swimming. The Italian national swim coach, Alberto Castagnetti (by the way his team is sponsored by a rival brand) has rather strong views against the Speedo LZR, and he goes to as far as terming it "technological doping." Only the other day, New York Times reported that the new-fangled suit could boost performance by about two percent. Those against such overbearing intrusion of technology are adamant that it might cast a shadow over the performance of the swimmers. Still others believe that marked improvement in swimmers performances may have more to do with the depth of the pool here at the National Aquatics Center " three meters instead of the more common two meters in most racing pools in the world " than anything else for the increased depth dissipates wave action.