Swimsuits with aerospace technology for the Olympics

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Swimsuits with aerospace technology for the Olympics

Thursday, July 11, 2024, 3:07 pm

Swimmers hoping to win medals at the next Olympics in Paris are hoping to take advantage of technological advances in swimwear, which can be decisive in competitions where victories are decided by tenths or hundredths of a second.

Speedo has introduced a new version of its famous Fastskin LZR Racer, built with aerospace technology for a lighter feel. Among the swimmers wearing the Australian company’s new swimwear are Australia’s Emma McKeon, USA’s Caleb Dressel and England’s Adam Beattie. “I think the new swimsuit will help me,” Dressel, who won five gold medals at the Tokyo 2021 Games, and McKeon, who won seven medals at the last Olympic event (four gold), said of the new model. As “the fastest I’ve ever used”, it highlights how it allows it to glide efficiently through the water.

Speedo’s new design incorporates technology used to protect satellites in space, marking a recent breakthrough in competition with other brands such as Arena, Mizuno and Jaked, which seek to improve swimmers’ performance.

Kevin Netto, professor of health sciences in Perth (Australia), emphasized the importance of reducing water resistance to improve swimmers’ speed. “Any progress that reduces this resistance will be critical,” he said.

Speedo, 61% gold

Racing swimwear has evolved significantly over the years, from materials like flannel and cotton to nylon and lycra. However, controversy arose at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when Speedo’s full-body swimsuits, developed with the help of NASA, were accused of offering an unfair technological advantage. As a result, the World Aquatic Association now requires that suits be made of permeable materials and limit their body coverage.

The previous model, the Fastskin LZR Pure Intent and Fastskin LZR Valor, introduced in 2019, significantly contributed to breaking 52% of all individual swimming world records, including 75% set in 2023. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Speedo technology also shined, with Speedo winning 61% of all gold medals and almost half, 49%, of all medals. Therefore, it is expected that the new model will lead to further improvement of the results.

Despite technological advances, the impact of swimwear on performance remains a matter of debate. A study from the European University of Madrid reviewed 43 studies and concluded that there is “no clear evidence” of how they affect performance, although some believe they improve overall performance.

With their sights set on the Paris Olympic Games from July 26 to August 4 at the Paris La Defense Arena, swimmers are ready to unleash the potential of these technological advances in their pursuit of Olympic glory. 18 Spanish athletes will participate in the Games, with 200m backstroke world champion Hugo Gonzalez standing out. However, the absence of Miria Belmonte is noticeable, she could not reach the minimum Olympic score to overcome her physical problems.

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