Spanx on Steroids: How Speedo Created the New Record-Breaking Swimsuit
By Jim Morrison on Smithsonian.com
After Olympic officials banned the swimsuit that caused records to fall at the 2008 games, scientists are back with a new outfit that might break even more
In 2009, Speedo’s research team began to brainstorm innovative ways to help swimmers go faster. The polyurethane bodysuits that contributed to an astonishing number of swimming world records over the previous 18 months had been banned. To think outside the box, the Speedo representatives met outside the lab, joining academics, coaches and research consultants at hotels, conference centers and even an English country house to spawn ideas, ideas inspired more by Captain Avenger than Mark Spitz.
“Lots of conversation was had around wild and wacky ideas,” says Joe Santry, the research manager for Speedo’s Aqualab in Nottingham, England. “Some of the initial sketch concepts brought to the table looked like a superhero suit with a sleek cap, goggle, and suit combination that wouldn’t look out of place in a Marvel comic.”
They were trying to replace the now infamous full-body LZR suit. Dubbed “the rubber suit,” it compressed a swimmer’s body into a streamlined tube and trapped air, adding buoyancy and reducing drag. Speedo says 98 percent of the medals at the 2008 Olympics were won by swimmers wearing the LZR. Michael Phelps set world marks in seven of his eight events at Beijing wearing the suit, but applauded its ban… [Read the complete article]
Originally found on Smithsonian.com
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