High-technology swimwear fabric

High-technology swimwear fabric

High-technology swimwear fabrics are scientifically advanced materials used for swimwear in competitive water sports such as swimming and triathlon. Materials of this type are normally lycra and nylon composite fabrics with features to reduce drag against the water. The fabrics include features that increase the swimmer's glide through the water (said to mimic marine animal skin) and reduce the absorption of water by the suit as opposed to regular swimsuits.

Some companies claim that their fabrics reduce drag even more than the water's normal friction against the skin. To do this they design high-end lines of competitive swimwear that cover the arms and legs.

High-tech fabric lines by swimwear manufacturer:

*Speedo - Aquablade, Fastskin, Fastskin 2, Fastskin PRO and LZR Racer
*Nike - LiftSuit
*Diana - Submarine
*Arena - Powerskin, Powerskin Xtreme and Powerskin R-Evolution
*Adidas - JetConcept
*Tyr - Fusion, Aquapel, Aquashift and Tracer

Whether high-tech fabric lines such as these give substantial advantages to swimmers is heavily debated. For example, Speedo claims their lineup will increase one's swimming velocity by 3–7%.Fact|date=August 2008 Their most popular suit, the Fastskin, is worn by most Olympic swimmers and increases speed by reducing drag by up to 4%. It is meant to resemble shark's skin; therefore, it has tiny triangular projections that point backward so that the water spirals off the athlete's body. A 2000 study, by Joel Stager of Indiana University's Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming, reportedly found an increase of only 0.34%. Most of the manufacturers counter with their own studies though touting the advantages of their own individual lines overall and against their competitors.

The materials are sometimes very expensive ($300–$400 US for a full suit), limiting their use to highly competitive and professional levels of the sport. However, in recent years with the advance of technology the most basic 'high-technology swimwear' can be purchased for approximately $100.

References


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