In 2009, an astonishing 168 swimming world records were smashed after the introduction of Speedo‘s full-body LZR racing suit. The sport’s governing body decided to investigate, then banned the outfits, stopping manufacturers from using materials that aided “speed, buoyancy or endurance”. As a result, swimming apparel-makers went under the radar for a while.
But it’s all change for London 2012. In a new push for competitive swimming gear, “streamlined” has become the buzzword. [...]
What the athletes might not know, however, is that their swimwear was created with the help of a cohort of British academics. Speedo’s bid to create a suit with the lowest possible level of fabric drag – the measure of how easily a material enables water to move over it – saw it sign up academics at the Sorby environmental fluid dynamics laboratory at Leeds University.
Read the whole story at The new Olympic swimsuit | Education | The Guardian.