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“……I feel like a rocket” says Phelps

12th February 2008, London. To celebrate its 80th anniversary, Speedo, the world’s leading swimwear brand has launched SPEEDO LZR RACER® suit, which independent testing has shown to be the world’s fastest swimsuit.

Speedo has harnessed the expertise of the United States space agency NASA amongst a number of international research institutes to create a faster suit which has 10% less passive drag* than Speedo’s FASTSKIN FSII launched in 2004 and 5% less passive drag* than Speedo FS-PRO, which was launched in March 2007 and has seen swimmers break 21 World records as a result.

Made from an ultra lightweight, low drag, water repellent, fast drying fabric, unique to Speedo, called LZR PULSE, the LZR RACER is the world’s first fully bonded swimsuit that is ultrasonically welded and gives the effect of no seams at all. Ultra low drag LZR Panels are embedded into the base fabric to create a ‘Hydro Form Compression system’ helping to compress the entire swimmer’s body into a more streamlined shape and enabling them to cut through the water with more power and agility.

“When I hit the water, I feel like a rocket”, says Michael Phelps, holder of six World records, who has been involved in the development and will be sporting the LZR RACER suit as he sets out to achieve a world record breaking 8 gold medals later this year. “I can’t wait to race in it………..this is going to take the sport of swimming to a new level”.

His comments, echoed by other elite swimmers, are gratifying for Speedo’s research and development team, Aqualab, who have spent more than three years in intensive research and development to create their most hydro-dynamically advanced swimsuit to date.

Speedo scanned the bodies of more than 400 elite swimmers and held technical tests involving more than 100 different fabrics and suit designs in the world’s leading flume and test centres. Their quest to enable swimmers to swim faster than ever before, took them all over the world from the NASA Langley Research Centre to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Otago University in New Zealand and working with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software from ANSYS, Inc., whose technology is also used in F1 motor racing and America’s Cup yachting.

The result is an engineered swimsuit whose 3D anatomical shape has a Core Stabiliser with a corset-like grip to support and hold the swimmer so they can maintain the best body position in the water for longer without losing freedom or flexibility of movement.

The LZR RACER suit’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,” says Rick Sharp, Exercise Physiologist, Iowa State University.
The Speedo LZR RACER suit has been declared ‘out of this world’ by swimmers involved in its development and testing. “It’s like swimming downhill” says World record holder, Libby Lenton (AUS). According to Women’s World and Olympic backstroke champion, Natalie Coughlin (USA), “It’s super tight but it really feels like part of your body when you put it on”, while double Olympic champion Grant Hackett (AUS) comments “It’s the best suit yet and looks like something out of a futuristic movie.”

The unique ‘space age’ design of the Speedo LZR RACER suit brings about another world first – where elite performance meets avant-garde fashion - through the involvement of international fashion label Comme des Garçons whose founder Rei Kawakubo formed a key part of the design team. Her striking design on the side panel of the suit incorporates the character ‘kokoro’ meaning Heart, Mind, Spirit, by celebrated Japanese calligrapher, Inoue Yu-ichi. Kawakubo said: “When we come to combine the development of the highest technology that is the realm of Speedo, with the force and spirit of the art of Yu-ichi, records will surely be broken.”

Speedo co-President, David Robinson said: “Speedo has been leading the world in swimwear design since 1928 and our commitment to innovation in design and technology is the backbone to everything we do. We are particularly proud, in our 80th year, to be launching the Speedo LZR RACER which has broken new boundaries in performance swimwear and which we know will help elite athletes achieve their ultimate performances in 2008. It’s our 80th birthday present to the world of swimming.”

The Speedo LZR RACER suit, which has been approved by FINA (Fédération International de Natation Amateur), will debut at national trials around the world from March 2008. A retail version of the suit will go on sale in May 2008.

Please see the following fact sheet for further details.

For further press information, imagery or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Isobel Klempka
t: 0207 940 7178
e: Isobel@brandnation.co.uk

Alice Caldwell
t: 0207 940 7183
e: Alice@brandnation.co.uk

Alina Wallace
t: 0207 940 7185
e: Alina@brandnation.co.uk

Note to Editors:

*Passive drag affects a swimmer in the streamlined position which is achieved after the initial dive and after a turn. During a 50m race, a swimmer is likely to be in the streamlined position for up to 15m. In tests the swimmer is in an immobile streamlined position in a flowing water flume, hence passive.

** In tests comparing LZR-RACER and training swimwear

¹Skin friction or surface drag is the force that tends to slow a swimmer down by means of the water passing along the surface of the suit and/or skin. As the characteristics of the water can’t be changed the solution for the swimmer is to make the suit/skin as smooth as possible. Essentially the rougher the surface the more likely it is to ‘grab’ onto the water that is moving by. Greater body coverage with low frictional materials that don’t restrict movement is required to reduce skin friction drag.

The Speedo LZR RACER suit has 10%* less passive drag than Speedo’s FASTSKIN FSII launched in 2004 and 5%* less passive drag than FASTSKIN FS-Pro (which has already resulted in 21 world records broken since its launch at the FINA Worlds Championships at Melbourne in March 2007).

Strategically placed LZR Panels reduce skin friction drag¹ by a massive 24% in comparison to Speedo’s previous market-leading material, FASTSKIN - and an enormous 38% less drag than ordinary Nylon Lycra.

The 100% bonded seams provide 6% less skin friction drag than a conventionally stitched or woven seam.

The Speedo LZR RACER suit makes it easier to swim faster. In tests comparing LZR-RACER and training swimwear, Swimmers have up to 5% more efficiency** in terms of their Oxygen intake – thereby requiring less effort for a given speed of swimming.

Speedo LZR RACER®
A series of firsts

First...

...fully bonded bodysuit with ultrasonically welded seams

...3D 3-Piece pattern for an elite racing swimsuit...

...fashion collaboration on an elite performance product through the involvement
of Comme des Garcons

...engineered Core Stabiliser to help maintain the swimmer’s body position

...development of strategically placed LZR Panels to enhance a swimmer’s form

...time a swimsuit has been developed with the involvement of NASA

...time economy tests have been used in the development of a performance
swimsuit

...time the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) revolutionary new testing pool has
been used in the testing of a new suit

About Speedo®

Synonymous with swimwear, the iconic brand celebrates 80 years of dominance creating revolutionary new technologies, designs and innovations. In the 1920s Speedo® made history with the Racerback: the world’s first non-wool suit. In 2008 Speedo® redefines swimwear again with Fastskin® LZR RACER® - the fastest and most technologically advanced swimsuit ever created; meanwhile designer collaborations with Comme des Garçons put Speedo® at the cutting edge of design. As the world’s leading swimwear brand, Speedo® is passionate about life in and around the water, supporting swimming from beginners through to elite level, including the phenomenal Michael Phelps. Speedo® is owned by Pentland Brands and distributed in over 170 countries around the world; to find out more visit: www.speedo.com. SPEEDO, the ARROW device, LZR PULSE and LZR RACER are registered trade marks of Speedo Holdings B.V. The LZR RACER suit has worldwide design rights and patents pending.

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