UK swimwear maker Speedo has seen high demand for its swimwear in Japan since launching its LZR Racer suit there - blowing domestic brands out of the water in the process.

Sparked by the success of LZR in international trials, Japanese consumers have turned from popular domestic brands and are demanding LZR Racer type swimsuits and other Speedo lines despite their much heftier price tag.

Compounding Speedo's rise and the misfortune of Japanese sports clothes makers, Japan's Olympic committee has decided to release its athletes from an obligation to wear Japanese made swimwear in the Olympics.

The decision has boosted Speedo's sales in Japan to about double of last year.

Demand for Speedo products, in a market that is receiving a tremendous boost from the forthcoming Olympics, means shoppers will have to wait until way after the Olympics close to receive their Speedo LZR swimwear.

Those who cannot wait that long are looking to other Speedo products or those of its competitors.

Athletic swimsuits represent JPY20bn (US$188m) of Japan's JPY1.2trn sporting-goods market.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.