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Published on Feb 12, 2008
Speedo launches the world's fastest swim suit which has been tested at NASA to prove it's superiority in the pool.
The LZR ("Laser") RACER suit, tested in wind tunnels used by NASA to test the aerodynamic qualities of space shuttles, makes elite swimmers 5% more efficient in their oxygen intake so it is 'easier' for them to swim faster for longer .
Test performances have led experts to believe the new suit will help swimmers shave valuable seconds off their times, which athletes are confident will result in more medals being won and more world records being broken by Speedo swimmers this year.
The suit works by reducing the friction (or 'drag') that slows a swimmer down. Since the properties of water can not be changed, the goal is to make the swimmer's body as smooth and streamlined as possible.
Developed over the past three years, the LZR RACER is made from an ultra light-weight fabric that actually repels water. It is ultrasonically welded together to form the world's first fully bonded suit, cutting down friction even further.
By scanning more than 400 elite athletes including Michael Phelps (US) and Grant Hackett (Aus), the R&D team were able to place laser-cut ultra low-friction 'panels' specifically on those areas, which, along with the suit's corset-like compression, makes each individual swimmer as hydrodynamic as they can be.
This means that each swimmer is held in the optimum shape and position to cut through the water in the most effective way, therefore saving them valuable energy which they can then use to swim faster!
In tests the new suit reduced passive drag (the position a swimmer is in following a dive or a turn) by 10% compared to the Speedo suit worn in Athens in 2004. It also reduced skin friction or 'surface drag' (i.e. when the swimmer is on top of the water), by a massive 24% compared to the Speedo FASTSKIN (2000) and 38% more than standard Lycra.
The results led World Record holder, Libby Lenton (Aus), to describe the experience as being "like swimming down hill"!