Speedo’s space age swimsuit set for take off March 19, 2008Posted by grhomeboy in Business, Fashion.
Tags: Fashion, Speedo
To celebrate its 80th anniversary, Speedo, the world’s leading swimwear brand has launched Speedo LZR Racer suit, which independent testing has shown to be the world’s fastest swimsuit.
Speedo has harnessed the expertise of the United States space agency NASA amongst a number of international research institutes to create a faster suit which has 10% less passive drag than Speedo’s Fastskin FSII launched in 2004 and 5% less passive drag than Speedo FS-PRO, which was launched in March 2007 and has seen swimmers break 21 World records as a result.
Made from an ultra lightweight, low drag, water repellent, fast drying fabric, unique to Speedo, called LZR Pulse, the LZR Racer is the world’s first fully bonded swimsuit that is ultrasonically welded and gives the effect of no seams at all. Ultra low drag LZR Panels are embedded into the base fabric to create a ‘Hydro Form Compression system’ helping to compress the entire swimmer’s body into a more streamlined shape and enabling them to cut through the water with more power and agility.
“When I hit the water, I feel like a rocket”, says Michael Phelps, holder of six World records, who has been involved in the development and will be sporting the LZR Racer suit as he sets out to achieve a world record breaking 8 gold medals later this year. “I can’t wait to race in it – this is going to take the sport of swimming to a new level”.
His comments, echoed by other elite swimmers, are gratifying for Speedo’s research and development team, Aqualab, who have spent more than three years in intensive research and development to create their most hydro-dynamically advanced swimsuit to date.
Speedo scanned the bodies of more than 400 elite swimmers and held technical tests involving more than 100 different fabrics and suit designs in the world’s leading flume and test centres. Their quest to enable swimmers to swim faster than ever before, took them all over the world from the NASA Langley Research Centre to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Otago University in New Zealand and working with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software from ANSYS, Inc., whose technology is also used in F1 motor racing and America’s Cup yachting.
The result is an engineered swimsuit whose 3D anatomical shape has a Core Stabiliser with a corset-like grip to support and hold the swimmer so they can maintain the best body position in the water for longer without losing freedom or flexibility of movement.
The LZR Racer suit’s unique design also provides swimmers with up to 5% more efficiency in terms of their Oxygen intake, enabling them to swim stronger for longer. “It makes it easier to swim faster,” says Rick Sharp, Exercise Physiologist, Iowa State University.
The Speedo LZR Racer suit has been declared ‘out of this world’ by swimmers involved in its development and testing. “It’s like swimming downhill” says World record holder, Libby Lenton (AUS). According to Women’s World and Olympic backstroke champion, Natalie Coughlin (USA), “It’s super tight but it really feels like part of your body when you put it on”, while double Olympic champion Grant Hackett (AUS) comments “It’s the best suit yet and looks like something out of a futuristic movie.”
The unique ‘space age’ design of the Speedo LZR Racer suit brings about another world first – where elite performance meets avant-garde fashion, through the involvement of international fashion label Comme des Garçons whose founder Rei Kawakubo formed a key part of the design team.
Her striking design on the side panel of the suit incorporates the character ‘kokoro’ meaning Heart, Mind, Spirit, by celebrated Japanese calligrapher, Inoue Yu-ichi. Kawakubo said: “When we come to combine the development of the highest technology that is the realm of Speedo, with the force and spirit of the art of Yu-ichi, records will surely be broken.”
Speedo co-President, David Robinson said: “Speedo has been leading the world in swimwear design since 1928 and our commitment to innovation in design and technology is the backbone to everything we do. We are particularly proud, in our 80th year, to be launching the Speedo LZR Racer which has broken new boundaries in performance swimwear and which we know will help elite athletes achieve their ultimate performances in 2008. It’s our 80th birthday present to the world of swimming.”
The Speedo LZR Racer suit, which has been approved by FINA (Fédération International de Natation Amateur), will debut at national trials around the world from March 2008. A retail version of the suit will go on sale in May 2008.