A swimsuit is a statement.
It defines a swimmer for who they are and what they do.
It is an extension of their body, a shield and sword against a swimmer’s greatest enemy. Due to constant desire for improvement and innovation, we are now able to experience a race in a remarkably different way than just twenty years ago. The racing suit is the ultimate symbol of how far our sport has come — it has changed as much as the sport has itself. Regardless of whether or not a suit was banned, they still were able to improve competitive swimming by forcing us to focus on what was really important: the actual swimming.
Here are six racing suits that revolutionized modern swimming:
The Aquablade was introduced in 1996, just in time for the Olympic games in Atlanta. The suit was a huge success. Worn by most medal winners, the Aquablade was a major improvement over its predecessor, the S2000.
blueseventy Nero Comp
Worn by a multitude of swimmers at Beijing, the Nero Comp was a lesser-known alternative to the LZR.
A discussion could be had for hours about which suit has had the most impact on the sport, but the LZR has my vote. “The world’s fastest swimsuit” was worn by a whopping 98% of medal winners at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Speedo Fastskin II
The FSII was an incredibly innovative suit for its time. Modeled after sharkskin, the FSII not only reduced drag, it did so with style. You were the cool kid on the deck if you had the FSII when it came out, as it was an obvious improvement over the Aquablade. Nonetheless, the FSII is a remarkably durable suit, and can still be occasionally seen today, ten years later.
Arena’s response to Speedo’s success with the LZR, the suit brought a wave of controversy with it. At the 2009 World Championships, Paul Biedermann smashed two world records, which many attributed to the suit itself.
The 01 helped Jaked become the Italian Swimming Federation’s official sponsor in 2008. A suit that combined heat-sealing technology that improved muscle oxygenation, the Jaked 01 was similar to the X-Glide in that it was 100% polyurethane.