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SwimNews.com - Craig Lord: Speedo 'Race System' Lifts Off From 2007
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Speedo 'Race System' Lifts Off From 2007

Nov 30, 2011  - Craig Lord

Almost four years on from the LZR Racer that lit a torch to the suits crisis in swimming and culminated in a ban on all non-textile apparel and the bodysuit cut, Speedo has just launched its "Fastskin3 Racing System" in East London along the road from the Aquatics Centre where the next chapter in Olympic swimming will be written next July and August.

The kit for elite sportsmen and women is said to "work in harmony: a trilogy of advanced swimwear products (cap, goggle and suit) offering swimmers a cohesive, hydrodynamic solution to help cut through the water with maximum efficiency".

Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Rebecca Adlington, Liam Tancock, and Leisel Jones were among star swimmers who helped to develop Speedo's new race line-up, alongside coaches Bob Bowman (Phelps), Gregg Troy (Lochte) Stephan Widmer (Jones) and Ben Titley (Tancock).

"With a distinctive and futuristic design that considers both the physiology and psychology of the elite swimmer, the Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System enhances hydrodynamic efficiency and comfort, while improving the athlete’s focus to perform," says Speedo.

Michael Phelps, the Olympian most decorated in gold in Games history, says this: "Speedo FASTSKIN3 makes me feel completely at one with the water. I feel confident, I feel comfortable and I feel like I am wearing the fastest." And Britain's double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, star of the launch today, asserts: "It all comes together. I feel fast. I feel strong."

There are no claims for speed, nor buoyancy nor endurance. Today, Speedo does use the word speed - carefully. It has launched apparel that "communicates the feeling of movement and speed, reinforcing the athlete’s confidence giving them a wide field of vision, helping them to remain aware of their surroundings and other competitors". 

There is science aplenty, fitting markers (that must be removed before racing) helping the swimmer fit the suit for best hydrodynamic), while psychologists were consulted to seek the best colour and shape for goggles: "Psychological design elements include a blue/grey tint on the goggle lens aimed at achieving a sense of calm focus and confidence, and complementary print symbolising speed, energy and movement through graphic lines and colour".

More on all of that when the smoke clears and the lights begin to fade here at the launch. For now, the details in full in Speedo's words (references to LZR mean the post-2009 textile LZR):

SPEEDO FASTSKIN3 RACING SYSTEM FACT SHEET 

MISSION

  • To enable every athlete wearing Speedo swimwear or using Speedo products to achieve their full potential in the water.
  • To create groundbreaking products through the application of pioneering technology based on feedback from athletes, sports scientists and coaches.
  • To develop the world’s first Racing System, engineering cap, goggles and suit to work in harmony to optimise the swimmers performance in the water.

THE DESIGN CONCEPT

The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System is engineered to work in harmony: a trilogy of advanced swimwear products (cap, goggle and suit) offering swimmers a cohesive, hydrodynamic solution to help cut through the water with maximum efficiency.

Up until now, caps, goggles and swimsuits have been designed separately. But all three elements of Speedo’s FASTSKIN3 Racing System have been designed to work together as one to optimise the athlete’s comfort and performance in the water.

Developed by considering both the psychology and physiology of the competitive swimmer for a focused, holistic approach to peak performance.

A striking and futuristic design aesthetic communicates the feeling of movement and speed, reinforcing the athlete’s confidence giving them a wide field of vision, helping them to remain aware of their surroundings and other competitors.

Intuitive fitting systems, high levels of comfort, and confidence-inspiring design all help the athlete feel comfortable, locked in and focused to perform.

Hydrodynamic body shape, low profile optimised design across every product detail and low drag fabrics deliver vital gains with every stroke.

Speedo’s most advanced swimwear and equipment technology since the introduction of new FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation ) guidelines in January 2010.

Fully approved by the FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) Swimwear Approval Committee (SAC) after submission in July 2011.

SPEEDO FASTSKIN3 RACING SYSTEM (CAP, GOGGLES AND SUIT)

THE RESULTS

  • The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System reduces full body passive drag 1 by up to 16.6%*.
  • The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System delivers an 11% improvement** in a swimmer’s oxygen economy 2
  • The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System delivers a 5.2% reduction** in a swimmer’s body active drag3.
  • The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System delivers up to 3% improvement** in starts.

*Speedo FASTSKIN3 Cap, Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Goggle and Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Suit when compared to a flat silicone cap, Speedo Aquasocket goggle and standard suit, on a male athlete.**Speedo FASTSKIN3 Cap, Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Goggle and Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Suit when compared to a flat silicone cap, Speedo Aquasocket goggle and standard suit.

  • The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System reduces full body passive drag by up to 5.3% vs LZR Elite*** in starts.

**Speedo FASTSKIN3 Cap, Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Goggle and Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Male Jammer when compared to a flat silicone cap, Speedo Aquasocket goggle and LZR Racer Elite Jammer on a male athlete.

SPEEDO FASTSKIN3 RACING SYSTEM FEATURES

  • IQ Fit technology features in all three elements of the Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System - cap, goggle and suit, - to maximise swimming comfort while minimising resistance and drag.
  • A new anatomical marking system, ‘Fit Point Markers’*, in the form of tactile and visual graphics at key physical points, indicate how to fit and align the Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System accurately on the body to achieve the best performance.
  • Speedo consulted sports psychologists to explore methods of applying psychology into swimsuit design. Psychological design elements include a blue/grey tint on the goggle lens aimed at achieving a sense of calm focus and confidence, and complementary print symbolising speed, energy and movement through graphic lines and colour.

* Fit Point Marker stickers are applied to the Speedo FASTSKIN3 suit in order to aid correct fitting prior to use. However, in line with FINA regulations regarding approved swimwear, the Fit Point Markers MUST be removed before participating in any competitive event.

SPEEDO FASTSKIN3 SUPER ELITE SUIT

The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Suit incorporates the revolutionary 3D Zoned Compression fabric system throughout. Exclusive to Speedo, the system ensures effective compression in key areas to sculpt the body into the most efficient form for swimming, producing the optimum return for each kick and stroke. The main body fabric reduces skin friction drag by up to 2.7% compared to the LZR Pulse fabric

The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Suit is treated with C6 Water Repellancy Technology. Exclusive to Speedo, the technology reduces water absorption and suit weight in the water.

A world first and exclusive to Speedo the ‘Body Stability Web’, is a framework of bonded or sewn seams and panels, providing targeted support to promote a hydrodynamic, neutral swimming position and return the energy used on starts and turns.

The suit’s bonded Power Seams are ultrasonically welded to offer less water resistance and increased comfort and strength.

Speedo’s FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Male Jammer features an IQ Fit Waistband with a ‘snap back’ band, eliminating the need for drawstrings and ensuring a flatter, more efficient profile. This reduces soft tissue bulges, reducing force over the waistband by 10.4% when compared to a classic low-cut corded jammer.

In the female suit, a unique Armhole Entry system makes it easier to get into while maintaining the best possible fit, providing increased compression and fabric coverage around the bust and key areas and optimising the suit’s hydrodynamic properties.

SPEEDO FASTSKIN3 SUPER ELITE SUIT - FABRICS

  • Hydro K-Zone 3D Fabric - Delivers multiple layers of high-power, graduated compression in a single suit, achieving the optimum hydrodynamic profile for athletes by suit silhouette and gender. Hydro K-Zone 3D delivers up to 3.3% reduction in skin friction drag*.
  • Pulse-Flex Fabric - Used on the shoulders and panels of the Speedo FASTSKIN3 suit, Pulse-Flex offers has high stretch in one direction to allow freedom of movement in key areas, with powerful compression in the other to contour the body’s shape to the most efficient form. The fabric construction of Pulse-Flex delivers a 2.00% decrease in skin friction drag*, while the durable C6 water repellent finish minimises water absorption.

* When compared to a completely smooth benchmark test surface

Male Speedo Fastskin3 Super Elite Suit: The Results

Speedo Fastskin3 Super Elite Jammer reduces force over the waistband by 10.4%* *CFD testing compared with a classic drawstring waist jammer

Female Speedo Fastskin3 Super Elite Suit: The Results

Up to 8.1% Change in body shape*

*based on circumference measures of females wearing the Speedo Fastskin3 Super Elite Closed Back Suit

SPEEDO FASTSKIN3 SUPER ELITE GOGGLE

Our first IQ Fit Goggle Seal based on accurate global 3D head scanning data, designed for real head and face contours. The IQ Fit Goggle Seal offers improved accuracy of fit, leak resistance and comfort, while the IQ Fit Goggle Strap is designed to enable precise, consistent tension and reduce drag. Western and Asian fit variants have been developed.

The radical new style of the Speedo Fastskin3 Super Elite Goggle helps to reduce full body drag forceiiii by 2.2% compared to the Speedo Aquasocket, improving to 5.7% when the goggles are coupled with the Speedo FASTSKIN3 Cap.

The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Goggle is the first to feature a Dive Stream outer profile, contoured to protect the eye during dives and turns and improve the hydrodynamic profile of the swimmer’s head. The goggle delivers a 63.4% force reduction compared to the Speedo Aquasocket Goggle, improving safety and reducing the risk of movement on the face during a swim.

The low profile Hydroscopic Lens is a unique lens shape that affords swimmers 180 degrees of horizontal peripheral vision, enabling swimmers to remain aware of competitors with minimum energy-wasting head movement. Frontal lens size optimised for foveal vision (sharp central vision of the eye) enabling focus. Extended goggle side arms move strap connection points further round the head for improved hydrodynamics, while interchangeable nose bridges offer choice for optimum fit.

Speedo Fastskin3 Super Elite Goggle: The Results

Speedo Fastskin3 Super Elite Goggle delivers a 63.4% force reduction* on the goggle.

Speedo Fastskin3 Super Elite Goggle reduces full body drag force [active or passive] by 2.2%* *vs Speedo Aquasocket Goggle

SPEEDO FASTSKIN3 CAP

The world’s first swimming cap created based on global mass 3D head scan data. The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Cap is the first to feature IQ Fit Cap Profile and delivers optimum comfort, improved fit and ease of use. It reduces full body drag force by 3.4% when coupled with the Speedo Hair Management System.

For swimmers with long hair, Speedo has developed the first ever Hair Management System, a bonded fabric cap with a non-slip edge, structured to hold and shape longer hair in such a way that it enhances the swimming form and significantly improves hydrodynamics by filling a gap at the curve of the neck.

Speedo Fastskin3 Cap: The Results

Speedo FASTSKIN3 Cap reduces full body drag force by 3.4%**

**whilst wearing Speedo FASTSKIN3 Cap and Hair Management System vs Speedo Flat Silicone Cap

THE COLLECTION

The Speedo FASTSKIN3 collection features three different levels of technology, each one tailored to the needs of swimmers of differing abilities: SUPER ELITE for professional athletes; ELITE for advanced competitors, and PRO for intermediate swimmers.

SILHOUETTES

  • Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite
  • Female - Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Recordbreaker kneeskin Male - Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite High Waisted Jammer
  • Equipment - Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Goggle, Speedo FASTSKIN3 Cap, Speedo Hair Management System
  • Speedo FASTSKIN3 Elite
  • Female - Speedo FASTSKIN3 Elite Recordbreaker Kneeskin, Speedo FASTSKIN3 Elite Recordbreaker,
  • Male - Speedo FASTSKIN3 Elite Jammer
  • Junior - Girls Speedo FASTSKIN3 Elite Woven Recordbreaker Kneeskin, Girls Speedo FASTSKIN3 Elite Woven Recordbreaker, Boys Speedo FASTSKIN3 Elite Woven Jammer
  • Equipment - Speedo FASTSKIN3 Elite Goggle
  • Speedo FASTSKIN3 Pro
  • Female - Speedo FASTSKIN3 Pro Knitted Recordbreaker Kneeskin, Speedo FASTSKIN3 Pro Knitted Recordbreaker,
  • Male - Speedo FASTSKIN3 Pro Knitted Jammer
  • Junior - Girls Speedo FASTSKIN3 Pro Knitted Kneeskin, Girls Speedo FASTSKIN3 Pro Knitted Recordbreaker, Boys Speedo FASTSKIN3 Pro Knitted Jammer

(All models approved by FINA)

SPEEDO FASTSKIN3 RACING SYSTEM TEAM AND TESTING PROCEDURES

  • The Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System has been developed by Speedo’s in-house research and development unit, Aqualab, based at Speedo’s global headquarters in Nottingham, UK.
  • Speedo has worked with world-class athletes and coaches during the research, development and testing of the Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System including:
  • Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte (USA), Rebecca Adlington, Liam Tancock (GBR) and Leisel Jones (AUS).
  • Bob Bowman - Michael Phelps’ Coach, Greg Troy - US Coach, Stephan Widmer - Australian Coach and Ben Titley - GBR Coach.
  • Aqualab’s global research and design team also includes the following experts and/or research entities:
  • Leeds University - Dr. Jeff Peakall provided laser measurement of fabric drag and coating effect in water.
  • 4D Max Scanning - Provided 3D head scanning for development of ergonomically designed goggle and caps. Provided full body scanning of Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System for use in CFD drag analysis.
  • ANSYS (CFD) - Provider of Computational Fluid Dynamics software and research. Provided drag validation of product prototypes and final product.
  • Nottingham University - Academic, Herve Morvan, acted as a CFD advisor.
  • Progressive Sports Technologies - Sports technology consultancy specialising in experimental design as well as equipment / facility development. Supported in early prototype proof of principle testing.
  • AIS - Australian Institute of Sport comprising facility and staff including Dr. Bruce Mason and Dave Pease for swim suit validation on athletes in the AIS Aquatic Testing, Training and Research Unit (ATTRU)
  • InnosportLab NL - Instrumented pool in Holland for swim equipment validation on athletes. Loughborough University - Sports psychologists, Chris Harwood and Julie Douglas, completed focus groups to understand athlete motivation at the initiation of the project.
  • Aston University - Dr. Colin Fowler, expert in Opthalmic optics, advised on optical design of the Speedo FASTSKIN3 Super Elite Goggles.