How Swimwear has Developed
Professional swimmers will know that having the correct swimwear and accessories is vitally important when taking part in competitive events. Just like in online betting, every second is important and can mean the difference between breaking a record. Having swimwear manufactured from the right fabric can shave off seconds.
The Early Years
After World War II many companies began looking into materials for swimwear that would help swimmers to increase their speed. Swimwear has been used since 1800 and has gone through many changes over time. During the 20th century swimwear was made from a knitted material which was not at all flattering and very cumbersome. When this fabric got wet it would become very heavy which made swimming very uncomfortable.
During the Olympics of 1924 hosted in Paris the swimmers were allowed to wear silk swimwear which was much lighter. The 1930s bought with it an artificial silk fabric and in the 1940s swimwear technology was greatly improved. Swimwear manufacturers started developing swimwear that was not only comfortable but also looked attractive and was still modest. With the use of man-made fabrics such as nylon swimwear became much lighter, more comfortable and cheaper to make.
During the 1960s swimming became even more popular and swimmers were just getting faster and faster. Friction was still a big problem and as a result swimmers were still not able to swim at optimum levels. Even seconds could make the difference between a gold or silver medal. Speedo was the first to develop nylon/lycra swimwear during the 1980s and these are still a popular option for swimwear today.
In 2000 Speedo came up with the biggest innovation in swimwear, the all-in-one bodysuit. This swimsuit was designed in such a way that it mimicked the way a shark moves. This new swimwear caused some controversy, as many swimmers were able to better their times in a big way. Big swimming names like Michael Phelps wore all body suits, neck to ankle suits during the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Many swimming records were broken during this time and this prompted an investigation by The Federation International De Nation (FINA), which is the governing body for swimming. The outcome of the investigation was that non-textile swimwear was banned and swimmers were only allowed swimwear that covered the waist to the knees for men and not further than the shoulders or below knees for women.
Swimwear developers had to look for new ideas to maintain speed and still adhere to the guidelines. Speedo designed the Fastskin3 that was made up of a swimming cap, goggles and a swimsuit that were designed to work together. This new system was a benefit to swimmers in all of the areas that slowed them. This included improving oxygen economy by 11%, which meant swimming for longer with more endurance.
Swimwear developers are still developing new and improved swimwear that will enable swimmers to improve their time, which is especially significant for professional swimmers taking part in events such as the Olympics.