Beachwear, which includes bikinis and tankins, is all about making a fashion statement on the beach or poolside. Performance swimwear, whilst looking good, is all about helping you achieve the maximum speed your body can sustain through the water. Another major requirement of any competitive swimwear is it must not break down in the water due to the high levels of Chlorine present in all swimming pools. Swimwear from the major players in the performance swimwear market all have different materials and technologies to help your performance both in and out of the water.
Maru has two major technologies called Pacer and MX1. Both offer Chlorine resistance using Xtra life lycra and a contoured to fit your body as smoothly as possible. MX1 takes things a stage further by ensuring the fit is perfect for optimum muscle compression and oscillation control – a major cause of muscle fatigue in swimmers.
Speedo has just launched it’s new LZR Racer range. By harnessing the expertise of NASA and other top research institutes Speedo has created a suit that has 10% less passive drag than Speedo FS-PRO (Launched in 2007) and has seen swimmers break 46 world records as a result. Made from an ultra lightweight, water repellent, chlorine resistant fabric unique to Speedo is the world’s first fully bonded unltrasonically welded swimsuit. Combined with taut materials that compress the body to reduce the profile even further enables the swimmer to cut through the water with ease.
“When I hit the water, I feel like a rocket”, says Michael Phelps, holder of six World records, who has been involved in the development and will be sporting the LZR RACER as he sets out to achieve a world record breaking 8 gold medals later this year. “I can’t wait to race in it…this is going to take the sport of swimming to a new level”.
Swimsuit styles range from open backs (leaderback and powerback) to semi enclosed backs (racerback) to legsuits, kneesuits and ultimately to bodysuits. Because the materials used in competitive swimwear are modelled on the skin of a shark, to improve drag through the water, the more material covering your body the faster you can swim through the water.
All the recent world record beating swimmers have broken the exiting speed records whilst wearing bodyskin swimwear and if maximum speed is your priority, look for as much skin coverage as possible. If you are a club swimmer then a racerback would be more suitable. General swimmers need not pay the premium for the top end swimsuits and should choose a leaderback or powerback suit with decent chlorine resistance. Always ensure you wash your swimwear after the pool to remove the Chlorine and prolong the life of your swimwear.