Competitor® Swim has always been a company that puts their customers first. In 2012, multiple customers of Competitor brought it to their attention that their white discs were yellowing faster than their other colors. To confirm that they were always providing the best quality product, they decided to run a few tests. The results confirmed that they had a solid product, but they also knew the potential that it could be. After Brad Underwood took ownership of Competitor Swim that same year, he decided that it was time to upgrade and improve the quality of the disc.
This is the story of how LifeSpan+ was born.
Competitor Swim engaged the world-renowned University of Akron, Department of Polymer Engineering and polymer engineer, Xing Lu, to address this potential issue. Their goal was to develop the best possible polymer material for the most brutal pool environment.
Over the course of a year, the Competitor team dedicated over 2,000 lab hours, performed 225 tests and conducted hours of research to perfect the components that would result in long lasting lane lines. Competitor also brought in A. Schulman, a leading international supplier of high-performance plastic compounds and resins, to assist with the development and production of the high-quality material.
According to Xing, “At the start of the project, Competitor had a set of very aggressive benchmarks that would define the success of the project. Given the realities of the pool environment, my colleagues and I questioned the reasonableness of attaining these benchmarks. With the help of A. Schulman and the Competitor team, we were shocked that not only did we meet these benchmarks… we exceeded them. LifeSpan+ is truly an amazing product and I am proud of this accomplishment.”
“This is a game-changer. Lane Lines are a significant investment for aquatic facilities and we understand that. It is relatively easy to produce and manufacture a simple plastic disc. On the other hand, it is very difficult to manufacture a disc with the same qualities of LifeSpan+.”
The results came back showing that LifeSpan+ was 7 times better than the Knock-Off brand in resisting oxidation under the standard test. The standard test added multiple harsh variables to the product to ensure the discs could handle any situation or pool environment. After being exposed to a high amount of heat, oxygen and pressure, LifeSpan+ began to deteriorate after 70 minutes while the Knock-Off brand began to deteriorate after 10 minutes. The visual appearance of LifeSpan+ and the Knock-Off brand was shocking. After 60 days of ageing in that extreme pool environment, the LifeSpan+ still maintained its white gloss with oxidation, while the Knock-Off brand became yellow with oxidation. After witnessing the results in person, Competitor knew that LifeSpan+ was not just a product; it was a swimmers way of life.
Competitor listened to the critiques, put in the long hours and ran multiple tests to ensure that they created the best product for their customers. LifeSpan+ is more than just a lane line; it is a gold medal, a blue ribbon, breaking a swimming record and so much more. The Knock-Off brand has not put in the hours or time and the proof is in the testing results. They simply cannot compete- Competitor Swim will only continue to improve their products each year with their customer always in mind.
Since 1960, Competitor has been the international leader in the production of lane lines and other swim products for competitions around the world. As the official racing lane line of FINA, Competitor has been used in nine of the past twelve Olympic Games. Competitor lane lines provide superior wave quelling, leading to faster swim times. Molded and assembled in the U.S. with American-‐made components, Competitor products are durable, easy to set up and store, and are sold through distributors, licensees and dealers. The Competitor line also includes store lane reels, pace clocks, backstroke flags, and the Original Swedish goggle. Visit www.competitorswim.com for more information.
Swimming News is courtesy of Competitor, a SwimSwam partner.