18 Jul 2012

Faster swimsuits at Olympics

7:55 am on 18 July 2012

The watchword for London Olympic swimmers is more "barracuda".

'Sharkskin' suits were introduced by Speedo International in 2000 for the Sydney Olympics.

After four years and 55,000 hours of research and testing, a new version called Fastskin3 has been developed with many individual modifications by Speedo International.

The suit was first used in competition this year. It includes caps, goggles and suits that redistribute water flow around a swimmer to decrease drag, partly by compressing the body's silhouette along the lines of a barracuda.

The suits will be on display next week at the London Olympic Games.

While other suits absorb water, Fastskin3 repels it. Speedo says less weight from the suit means each stroke propels a swimmer farther. The complete outfit reduces drag by 16.6% compared to standard gear, .

That translates into an approximately 0.11% potential increase in speed.