Blog: just-style examines record breaking swimsuit

Joe Ayling | 24 April 2008

Pentland's Speedo brand wasn't kidding when it billed its LZR Racer as the "world's fastest swimsuit" back in February, because since then the sport has been rocked by an unprecedented 19 world records being beaten by swimmers wearing the suit.

More will undoubtedly follow during this August's Beijing Olympics, and other swimwear makers are rising to the challenge too, just look at TYR's Tracer Rise.

As you can see below, just-style gave the Speedo suit a closer inspection at a press event in London this week, in a quest to find out how technology seems to have overtaken human performance.

The string of record breaking performances left sceptics wondering whether the LZR suit was a 'bit too slick'. Indeed, the split-second time margins of swimming events mean that significantly thinner suits can have dramatic results.

However, swimming's world governing body has moved quickly to extinguish any such controversy ahead of the Olympics, by whole-heartedly backing the LZR. 

Following a meeting with swimwear manufacturers earlier this month, Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) said: "FINA is always willing to examine issues in connection with the swimsuit approval.

"However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no objective scientific evidence on the alleged buoyancy advantage provided by ‘Speedo LZR Racer’, ‘TYR Tracer Light’ or any other swimsuit approved by FINA."

So what is just-style's verdict on the LZR racer?

Well, the suit is clearly a marvel of textile technology, being ultra-lightweight and yet extremely water-repellent. It is ultrasonically welded together in a butterfly-like formation from three constituent torso/leg parts. And while the swimsuit is a triumph for textiles, it also shows that the sport itself is not willing to 'tread water' with existing technology.

There is only so much you can take from merely viewing and touching the suit though, with the swimming pool itself the only real test.

Something tells me an all-body wetsuit would stick out like a sore thumb at my local baths though, so let's leave it to the professionals.

By Joe Ayling, news editor.



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