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Record Breaking Records Broken By New Sportswear

Apr 2, 2008
For all the grossly overweight and cumbersome Olympic hopefuls this year, we have some new technology. There are none, I hear you say. Exactly, so why is there such a hue and cry over the new swimsuits from Speedo?

Technology working with sports is nothing new. For years, scientists have looked for ways of enhancing the performance of sportsmen and women, with great success.

We have go faster trainers to propel the runner faster, sportswear that wicks away moisture and sports equipment that will hit balls further. All this while keeping the equilibrium between athlete's performance and legal intervention steady is a true balancing act.

However, it seems that there are concerns over whether or not Speedo may have overstepped the mark in their new invention of sportswear. Speedo are the sponsors of the British Olympic swimming team and so have a vested interest in creating the best legal sportswear possible in their field.

They have come up with a swimsuit that athletes are haling as the item of sportswear that makes them feel like they are effortlessly gliding through the water. The Speedo LZR Racer costume had already been cleared by Olympic officials but the plethora of speed records that have been broken since its launch are giving the officials cause for concern.

Scientists have used computer software to determine the parts of the swimmers body most likely to cause drag. They have then taken their findings and created a swimsuit that eliminates this drag. It acts like a corset streamlining the body to the max. A compression effect reduces skin vibration and muscle oscillation and is embedded with special low-drag panels.

The suit is coated in water-resistant Teflon and welded together in a seam free fashion. Swimmers have noticed a significant change in their performance whilst wearing this 320 pound sportswear and in the six weeks since its launch, sixteen world records have been broken.

This has made the Olympic governing bodies sit up and take notice. Why? Ok, records are being broken and this is aided by the use of a swimsuit. However, how can they be deemed illegal? It's not like they are being jet propelled through the water through means other than their own athletic force.

Speedo are not the only ones to have discovered this new way of using fabrics in sportswear. Their rivals, Arena, also are developing similar products and are anticipating a good competition.

The corset type effect of this sportswear streamlines the swimmer, reducing stress. The competitors themselves say they have noticed huge differences in how the swimming action feels. However, when did you last see a fat Olympic swimmer? When did you ever see an athlete that was in need of streamlining?

And more to the point, can this technology be incorporated into other items of clothing? If so, I'm first in the queue at Debenhams to pick up my streamlining trousers and go faster knickers. Will they produce a complete body covering underwear garment modelled on this sportswear that can suck in all extra layers of 'warmth' and if so, where does it all go?

Are we going to see a new body shape emerging with super streamlined bodies but massive great hands and feet where all the spare has been squeezed out? Maybe such a look won't catch on after all and we should just leave this technology for the sportswear.
About the Author
Sports expert Catherine Harvey looks at the new swimsuit that has been added to sportswear shelves all over the country.
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