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Hi-tech swimsuits unveiled for London 2012 Olympics

Thursday 1 Dec 2011 9:52 a.m.

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Swimwear giant Speedo, the company responsible for the bodysuit war that reduced the 2009 swimming world championships to a farce and effectively turned the sport into a battle of technology, unveiled its new design for next year's Olympics in London.

The "Fastskin3" suit is the culmination of four years of research and development and the first of its kind where cap, goggles and suit have been engineered to become one racing system.

Britain's 2008 Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington was among those to model the new suits and told Reuters Television she was impressed and pleased after all the trouble that surrounded 2009.

"Obviously now the new kind of rules that have come in, since 2010, it's very difficult now, we don't have legs and obviously they (suits) can only come down to the knees," Adlington said.

"There's loads of restrictions now. But this one just kind of feels so good regardless of those restrictions and I guess it matters what you wear. You've got to be comfortable and you've got to feel confident.

"For a cyclist, they've got to make sure their bike's in order, for us, it's our suit. This is the most important thing."

Adlington has spent the last month in California training as she builds up to Britain's Olympic trials in March.

She said having to qualify for the Games was keeping the Olympic champion from Beijing right on her toes.

"Everyone doesn't really understand and thinks 'Oh, she's going to the Olympics'. But it doesn't work that way.

"I've got to come top two in Britain and I've got to get a certain time. There's five or six girls all fighting for those two spots and it's going to be extremely tough and I just hope to God I qualify."

As for the suits, American 14 time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps was expected to take the catwalk in New York to launch the new outfit in the United States.

Phelps was bitterly opposed to the now-banned swimsuits that were used in Rome two years ago, refusing to wear them because he believed they aided buoyancy, but he is getting ready to promote a new space-age suit.

More than 40 world records were set during the championships, setting off howls of protests, and Phelps, who said he considered quitting the sport, was vindicated when the sport's world governing body FINA agreed to ban them and place a limit on technology.

Makers Speedo say the new suits are both revolutionary and innovative and will produce a flood of world records at the Olympics.

"In 2010, FINA, which is the world governing body of swimming, change the rules of competitive swimming. We very quickly got back into market but the Fastskin3 racing system is the first time we've really been able to come out and innovate in those new rules," Vice President of Product and Marketing at Speedo International Sean Hastings said.

"FINA's job is the set the rules, we're always going to push the boundaries and innovate within those rules. But this is the world's
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