In August 2014, the most decorated Olympian of all-time, Michael Phelps, announced he was entering into a partnership with southern California-based Aqua Sphere to create a new global swim brand that will develop innovative products that are inclusive and accessible to a broader range of swimmers and non-swimmers across the full swimming lifecycle beginning in early 2015.
Aqua Sphere was previously known best for its line of fitness swimsuits, Italian-made swim goggles, open water wetsuits and accessories, but gained instant credibility in the performance tech suit market with the new Phelps relationship.
Todd Mitchell: Aqua Sphere had been looking to expand into the competitive swim segment and, like most people, we have followed Michael Phelps’ and Bob Bowman’s careers for more than a decade. When we learned Michael was looking to do things differently in the world of swimming, we reached out and the partnership seemed like a natural fit for both parties. We are very excited to partner with the most decorated swimmer of all time and one of swimming’s greatest coaches to launch this new brand.
SB: It must have been an exciting and busy time for you guys around the announcement that you are partnering with the greatest swimmer of all time…
TM: It’s a fun busy; Aqua Sphere is proud to collaborate with such accomplished individuals to further develop the knowledge of our team and grow into new markets. We’re expanding our resources to service this new swim segment while maintaining focus on the Aqua Sphere brand and its commitment to the active swim and triathlon markets.
SB: What is the timeline for working together on launching the new line of performance products under the Michael Phelps brand and any advance overview of the product range?
TM: Michael‘s currently wearing the Aqua Sphere K180+ goggle. For this new brand, we’re creating an expanded competitive line of products based on his feedback, including a new FINA-approved technical suit, which will be introduced to the market in early 2015. In addition to the competition products, we will also be introducing some new training aides.
SB: We’re imagining that this will be a pretty tight turnaround for any company, especially if FINA-approval is going to be a key component… no slow days on the horizon…
TM: Luckily, we had a running start on the process, as we knew we wanted to get into the competitive space in advance of this partnership. Integrating Michael and Bob into the development process was seamless. They have some great insight and are eager to contribute.
SB: What are the important inputs & feedback that Michael, or any elite swimmer for that matter, can have on the product development of a performance line?
TM: The needs of a competitive swimmer are unique to those of a fitness swimmer or triathlete. It’s important for us to fully understand the objectives of a competitive swimmer relative to their training and performance so we can deliver products that help to maximize their goals. Michael Phelps is a global icon in all of sports and Coach Bob Bowman is a true swimming mastermind. Their combined knowledge and positive impact on the swimming community is vital to creating this new brand and both Michael and Bob are fully integrated into the product cycle, from inception to design and testing.
SB: Can you give us any hints about the name or logo of the brand or will you keep us guessing?
TM: The brand we are creating with Michael and Bob will be a truly unique line of products that represents Michael Phelps. As for the name and logo, we will keep you guessing for now.
SB: Thanks for your time, we look forward to seeing those first products out there!