'Like a Rocket coming off the wall' - That's what Olympian Swimmer, Michael Phelps, winner of eight medals at the 2004 Summer Olympics, has to say about his new swimsuit designed by Speedo. Dubbed LZR (pronounced 'Laser'), Racer, this new suit is set to be the rage with all swimmers at the summer Olympics in Beijing!
Introduced in mid-February, the swimsuit is being credited for helping to break 40 of the 44 new world-swimming records set since. Michael, who broke his own 400 meters individual medley record in Omaha last weekend, attributes it entirely to his new swimsuit, which he says helps especially in the last stretch, when his body is a little fatigued. Two other records broken that day were by swimmers who were also wearing the LZR Racer. So what makes this $550 USD full body swimsuit so amazing?
Well for one, Speedo has spent thousands of dollars in its research. They started by asking scientists to scan over 400 top athletes to figure out where the biggest areas of friction were. After identifying the areas, they were able to strategically place low friction fabric in those areas. Next Speedo asked NASA to help them perform some tests on drag-reducing fabrics. They discovered that the fastest fabrics were coated with polyurethane, a smooth rubbery substance that glides through the water, providing very little resistance.
After that they started to test out their new suit. However, the first few attempts were total failures. One suit that they thought was ready, bloated up like a parachute in the water. Then a girdle-like structure built in the suit to streamline swimmers ended up restricting their breathing. Even when they finally got it right, it was a tough suit to put on. A lot of swimmers, including Phelps himself went through mishaps as they tried to put it on. However, now it sounds like Speedo's finally got it right.
For all you budding swimmers who badly want this suit but can't afford it, Speedo is coming up with a replica version for kids - which will be available soon at a much more palatable price tag of between $40-$78USD.
Sources: wikipedia.org, sportsscientists.com