Ever since Arne Borg set a world record whilst wearing Speedo in 1929, the world’s most famous swimming brand has been committed to helping swimmers go as fast as they can in the water.
By constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation and new technologies, Speedo evolved into the brand of choice for gold medal-winning swimmers thanks to features which reduced drag and surface resistance, as well as being the first to use fabrics including nylon in their swimsuits.
However, the Speedo development team – based in the company’s Aqualab centre – refused to rest on its laurels and, in 2000, the firm introduced the world to its pioneering Fastskin swimsuit.
Inspired by the varying skin texture of a shark, the original Fastskin suit incorporated compression and ridges in key areas as Speedo developed a fabric which mimicked nature and helped swimmers glide through the water. In Sydney later that year, 83% of swimmers who won a medal were wearing the suit.
Following its introduction, 13 of the 15 world records broken were done so by swimmers wearing the new Fastskin suits. As a result, its designer was shortlisted for European Inventor of the Year, signalling that a new dawn had broken in the world of swimming.
Four years later, Speedo launched the Fastskin II. Research and development for the suit included the use of a body scanner in Hollywood; the same scanner used by a special effects company working on the latest Spiderman movie. The suit was worn by swimmers who notched up 47 medals at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
The Fastskin legacy continued in 2007 when the Fastskin FS-PRO was unveiled. The suit was the fastest and most powerful lightweight suit on the market and within six months of its launch, 21 world records had been broken whilst wearing the suit.
However, just a year later, Speedo would shock the swimming world with the launch of the Fastskin LZR Racer. The suit was Speedo’s smoothest offering yet, having worked with biomechanical engineers, physiologists and more than 100 elite swimmers, as well as NASA, in the development stage.
In 2018, at Beijing, 94% of victorious swimmers – and 98% of those who won any swimming medal – were wearing the latest suit.
As the world records continued to tumble, FINA –the sport’s governing body – changed the legislation around the body-length swimsuits and certain fabrics, effectively banning Speedo’s latest suit for being too fast. Continuing its commitment to sustainable fashion, Speedo sent its surplus of stock to London’s Chelsea College of Art and Design to aid their projects.
In response, the Speedo team went back to the Aqualab and applied the same hydrodynamic principles to create a new FINA-approved Fastskin LZR collection, which catered for everybody, from grass roots to elite-level swimmers. The collection was launched in 2009.
Two years later, ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games, Speedo unveiled its Fastskin3 racing system, consisting of a new cap, goggle and competition suit. The system featured fit point markers which allowed the three items to align and helped the swimmers gain the ideal fit and become one with the suit.
The next year in London more swimmers wore Speedo than any other brand, with 57% of all swimming medals won by Speedo athletes, including the four gold and two silver won by Phelps to make him the most decorated Olympian of all-time. All of those 22 medals had been won in Speedo.
In 2013, Speedo updated the Fastskin racing system by releasing the Fastskin LR Racer Elite 2, offering 40% more durability in water repellency, together with a bright new range of colourways.
Two years later, The Fastskin LZR Racer X was launched to help swimmers feel their fastest by combining compression, construction, sensitivity and support to give the swimmers the feeling of being fast, which in turn led to real improvements in performance. Swimmers wearing Speedo took 46% of all the medals in Rio with Speedo once again being the suit preferred by the majority of elite swimmers.
In 2019, ahead of the Tokyo Games, Speedo unveiled the Fastskin LZR Pure Intent and LZR Pure Valor. The original LZR Pure Intent and LZR Valor swimsuits were the trusted choice of champion swimmers including Caeleb Dressel, Emma McKeon and Adam Peaty. Since then, 52% of all individual world records have been broken by athletes wearing the suits, including 75% of world records set in 2023. Speedo Fastskin technology also thrived at the highest stage at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, with 61% of all gold medals and 49% of all medals won in Speedo.
Now, ahead of a huge year in the swimming world, Speedo has unveiled the Fastskin LZR Pure Intent 2.0 and LZR Pure Valor 2.0. Each Fastskin development has been about progress and this is no different, as Speedo looks to continue to pioneer innovation and technology, helping swimmers reach their full potential and break new records.
As such, Speedo’s latest releases were produced in collaboration with Lamoral®️ whos’ original coatings were developed for use in the harshest of environments, space. Speedo have worked in collaboration with Lamoral’s ® team of world-leading experts to create a bespoke coating that provides the ultimate performance in swimsuits. The latest innovation delivers optimal water repellence to provide a feeling of weightlessness in the pool. The suit will be worn by the world’s best in Paris 2024.
The world’s leading swimwear brand, Speedo® is passionate about life in and around the water, creating revolutionary new technologies, designs and innovations, and supports swimming from grass-roots through to the elite level. In the 1920s Speedo® made history with the Racerback: the world’s first non-wool suit. In 2008 Speedo® redefined swimwear again with Fastskin® LZR RACER® – the fastest and most technologically advanced swimsuit ever created. 2011 saw Speedo unveil another world first with the Fastskin Racing System – a cap, goggle and suit designed to work together as one. Speedo® is owned by Speedo Holdings B.V and distributed in over 170 countries around the world. To find out more visit: www.speedo.com
Speedo is a SwimSwam partner.