February 14, 2008 Following three years of research that included input from NASA, tests on more than 100 different fabrics and suit designs and body scans of more than 400 elite swimmers, Speedo has launched its most hydro-dynamically advanced - and fastest - swimsuit to date. The SPEEDO® LZR RACER™ is made from a unique lightweight, water repellent and fast-drying fabric that has been developed to reduce drag and help hold the swimmer’s body in a more streamlined shape. Speedo says the suit has been independently tested as the "world's fastest", a claim that translates to up to 5% more efficiency for swimmers and hopefully, at least for Michael Phelps and other elite athletes donning the suit in Beijing later in the year, more gold medals.
The new suit has 10% less passive drag (meaning the drag present when the swimmer is gliding through the water after a dive or turn) than Speedo’s 2004 FASTSKIN FSII and 5% less passive drag than the FASTSKIN FS-PRO® - which has seen 21 swimmers break World Records since its release in March 2007.
The specially engineered, highly flexible fabric called LZR PULSE™is ultrasonically welded so as to appear seamless. It incorporates low drag "LZR" panels designed to create a corset-like effect that supports the swimmer in the optimum body position in the water and helps them hold it for longer.
The LZR RACER’s unique design also provides swimmers with up to 5% more efficiency** in terms of their oxygen intake, enabling them to swim stronger for longer. “It makes it easier to swim faster,” said Rick Sharp, Exercise Physiologist, Iowa State University.
Coming a decade after the introduction of the full-body racing swim suit and coinciding with Speedo's 80th anniversary, the LZR RACER was developed by Speedo’s Aqualab research team, drawing on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software from ANSYS, Inc. and the expertise of research institutes such as the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Otago University in New Zealand, as well as the NASA Langley Research Center. International fashion label Comme des Garçons' founder Rei Kawakubo also contributed to the design.
Already approved by FINA (Fédération International de Natation Amateur), the Speedo LZR RACER will debut at national trials around the world from March 2008 and will be worn by elite swimmers like Michael Phelps (US), Libby Lenton (AUS) and Grant Hackett (AUS) in Beijing come August.
A retail version is set to hit the shelves in May 2008 in a price range of between USD$290 and USD$550.