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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Speedo Announces Swimwear Faster Than Ever Before

A few years ago, the main issue in the swimming world was the extraordinary number of world records set in the latest technical swimsuits. Issues of buoyance and compression and unfair advantages led the international coaching community to push FINA to outlaw the technical swimsuits.

"Swimming in plastic bags" was the term often used as swimmers of all ages were swimming times that were previously unheard of.

Swimmers were even swimming with two technical swimsuits on in order to swim even faster. In a wink of an eye and the goal to swim faster, the term "Speedo" - the generic term used for swimming briefs of the 20th century - morphed into highly technical swimming equipment that was quickly banned.

The channel swimming organizations around the world, governing bodies and FINA worked to better define the swimwear, enabling the sport returned to some sort of a level playing field.

But Speedo announced yesterday another revolution in swimwear - a swim cap, goggle and swimsuit that work together as one integrated racing system, promoting maximum efficiency in the water. The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System, that has obtained FINA approval, helps reduce body drag and improve swimmers’ oxygen economy. The world's most well-known and accomplished swimmer, Michael Phelps, said: "Speedo FASTSKIN3 makes me feel completely at one with the water. I feel confident, I feel comfortable and I feel like I am wearing the fastest [suit]."

While suits, caps and goggles are conventionally designed separately, Speedo has engineered the three elements together to generate a unified system that serves to reduce body drag forces. Using technologies that go way beyond a sewing machine and stitching, Speedo is offering a Super Elite version for professional swimmers, an Elite version for advanced swimmers and a Pro version for intermediate swimmers.

The FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Goggles and Cap use 3D global head scanning data to make the fit to swimmers's head and face contours while the FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Swimsuit uses compression fabric to sculpt the body with the aim to reduce skin friction drag.

And Speedo and its most visible athletes are confident that the new system will be even faster than the previously outlawed swimsuits. With that expectation, world records and faster swimming than ever before are predicted for the upcoming Olympic year.

Back in 2009, the outcry against the "plastic suits" was loud and global. But the elite swimmers, including Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin, are confident they are now back in the game with Speedo's latest efforts to help them swim faster than before and produce more world records during the Olympics. Michael believes the records set in the now-illegal tech suits will be old news. "You're going to see a lot of fast swims and hopefully we're going to see a lot of new records in the next year and I think we will."

With FINA's approval of the new system, the issue for the pool swimming world is "Does the FASTSKIN3 live up to its name?". But for the open water swimming world is, the issues include "Does the new Speedo system aid in buoyancy? Is there any neoprene involved? Does the system aid in heat retention? Does the system comply with the established rules at the governing bodies in terms of cut and compression panels? Will the new system - and the inevitable competing systems that will be produced by Speedo's competitors in the marketplace - be accepted by the governing bodies of the open water swimming world?"

Depending on what those answers may be, sales of the systems may take off as the Olympic year brings some really fast swimming for swimmers of all ages and abilities.

Men's FASTSKIN3 can be seen here.

Women's FASTSKIN3 can be seen here.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

2 comments:

  1. The problem is now competitive swimming has become more about the equipment (swimsuits, caps etc) than who is fastest. Should they all have to wear the same? That way we would know who is really fastest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. When this technical swimsuit issue came up a few years ago, the leading coaches lobbied and led the movement to ban such swimwear. American, European and Australian swim coaches were quite adamant about leveling the playing field. In a relatively quick turn of events, they were successful in eliminating the technical swimwear from FINA and national governing body competitions. It will be interesting to see if when the leading coaches will collectively and globally lobby to change the current direction. The swimmers, it appears, simply want to swim with the best and fastest swimsuits. At the elite level, everyone has access to the current suits (notwithstanding the cost issue) so they have the CHOICE to wear the same suits. However, it will be difficult to mandate that all athletes have to wear the same suits. With so much on the line in the coming Olympic year, it will be interesting to see the developments and decisions among the swimmers and coaches.

    ReplyDelete

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