Swimwear companies have invested millions designing high-performance suits for the upcoming Beijing Olympics. Can design help swimmers finish faster?
Following the 2004 Athens Olympics, officials at swimwear giant Speedo had good reason to celebrate: Athletes clad in their latest suits at the time, called Fastskin FSII, won 46 medals in the pool. Yet when the company's in-house design team, Aqualab, gathered soon after the games at company headquarters in Nottingham, Britain, they were already focused on how to innovate the next generation.
"We looked at all the suits and the competition and what was good and bad," recalls Jason Rance, worldwide head of Aqualab. Four years later, after a multimillion-dollar research …show more content…
However, at a meeting held over the weekend at the World Championships in Manchester, Britain, to consider the criticisms, FINA confirmed, "All swimsuits approved so far are complying with specifications."
Still, Speedo's Rance maintains it takes more than a suit to win a race. "LZR is the fastest suit out there, and the suit helps," he claims. But, he adds, "it is the cumulative effect of the suit and the swimmer" that wins the race, not merely the suit itself.
Born on Bondi Beach near Sydney, Australia in 1928, Speedo® is the world's top-selling swimwear brand. The brand's heritage derives from its leadership in competitive swimming, where more Olympic Gold Medals have been won in Speedo than any other brand.
World Champion Michael Phelps is among the elite athletes wearing Speedo; Phelps wore Speedo as he made history in Beijing, winning eight gold medals and rewriting the record books. Phelps' belief in Speedo's history of innovation and the Speedo Aqualab is shared by fellow Team Speedo stars Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte and Katie Hoff.
Building on its authentic base, the Speedo product line has expanded over the years. Now sold in more than 170 countries around the