When super-swimmer Caeleb Dressel hits the pool in Tokyo next month, he’ll be sporting the updated version of Speedo’s Fastskin technical racing suit that was introduced in 2019.
The swimwear giant last week unveiled the 2021 iterations of the U.S. Federation Suit with their updated fabrics and colorways. These are the suits that will be worn by Dressel — the two-time Olympic gold medalist who will be competing in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and 100 butterfly — as well as other Speedo-sponsored athletes Hali Flickinger, Jamal Hill, Becca Meyers, Ryan Murphy, Andrew Seliskar and Abbey Weitzeil at the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.
For these games, athletes will be able to choose between the Fastskin LZR Pure Intent and Fastskin LZR Pure Valor, depending on the specific demands of their race. The Intent, which features flexible zoned compression, gives the swimmer a wider range of motion, while the Valor is Speedo’s most lightweight suit and features moderate compression along with bonded seams for comfort and speed. Three new fabrics have been employed for these suits that are designed to offer more flexibility, compression and drag reduction in areas that need it.
“We are proud to support athletes on the world stage with the most technologically advanced racing suits, with over 20 years of innovation guiding our current Intent and Valor offerings,” said Speedo North America president Jim Gerson. “We are honored to be on this journey with these special athletes as they represent the USA and compete against the world’s best. We hope to see more records broken and medals won in Speedo suits this summer.”
Gerson characterized Speedo’s place in the sport as “the support mechanism” that allows athletes to compete at their best. And he revealed that since the Fastskin was introduced two years ago, 62 percent of all the world records in the sport were set while swimmers were wearing one of the suits.
While the 2021 version of the Fastskin is not dramatically different than that used in the last Games, Gerson said research continues to further enhance the technology. He showed a video of the brand’s vision of Fastskin 2040 that could feature adaptive lock seals, a built-in exoskeleton and even a chip that would provide live feedback to coaches and athletes on their performance.
Fastskin was created by working with research institutes from around the world and by studying sharks and how they reduce drag when they swim. For the latest version, Speedo also worked with the Natural History Museum in London and Formula 1.
Last year, PVH Corp. sold the Speedo North America business to Pentland Group, the U.K.-based parent of Speedo International, for $170 million in cash.