6 racing suits that revolutionized modern swimming

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:

  1. Speedo Aquablade

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.

  1. blueseventy Nero Comp

Worn by a multitude of swimmers at Beijing, the Nero Comp was a lesser-known alternative to the LZR.

  1. Speedo 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Arena X-Glide

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.

  1. Jaked 01

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.

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Which suit was the one that burst open in the back when Ricky Behrens tried to do a relay start while wearing it at the 2009 WC? LOL! That was MY favorite! 😉

I can’t see the brand of the suit. It was 2009 at Worlds in Rome. When Ricky retired, we got him to retell the story in photos. It’s in this video, starts at 3:44.


LOL! Mel, you have a great sense if humor! I hesitated to write my joking comment because it could be viewed as insulting a swimwear manufacturer who might even support this site, but I decided if I didn’t include their name it was OK! Incidentally, I think Ricky swam (in a suit without holes) in the final of the 4×200 free at the ’09 WC too, and that the time that Team swam is still the WR! 😉


Ooops! Ricky’s “blowout” was in prelims for the 4×100 free relay, which is not a WR (due to Lezak’s heroics in Beijing), but Ricky did swim on that 4×200 relay WR.

Incidentally, Mr Behrens is a class act, and had a wonderful career! I wish more athletes would copy his smooth as silk freestyle technique. I only wish he had made that 200 free Olympic final in London, because I think it would have been the cherry on the top of the whipoed cream of his swimming career sundae! I hope his second career is going well!


Totally right bro ! he had one of the smoothest stylish effective beautiful to watch freestyle stroke ever ! my second favorite is this thin category is Ian Thorpe of course .


he also had one of the most incredible underwater one swimmer can have !

i remember when my buddy split his aquablade taking his marks in long course 50 fly back in the late 90’s. never forget how i was in the next event, and everyone lost it laughing. he was responsible for like 6 heats of time gain because everyone was LOL’ing to hard to focus on swimming


The 2007 speedo fs


The 2007 speedo fs pro II worn by top swimmers at 2007 worlds was a huge improvement over the previous version.