ELITE SWIMMERS RACE INTO BUSINESS

Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

NEW YORK — Two world class swimmers, Keith Hughes and Andreas Roestenberg, have plunged into the swimwear business with H2O Velocity.
Based in Sea Girt, N.J., the company is developing and marketing performance-oriented and active-inspired swimwear, which is aimed at triathletes, surfers, volleyball players and lifeguards. H20 Velocity is a supplier of the U.S. Lifesaving Association, and earlier this month the company sponsored the U.S. National Surf and Rescue Team at the world championships in Sydney, Australia, said Roestenberg, who is based in Sea Girt.
The Olympic hopefuls — Hughes for triathlon and Roestenberg for the 100 meter freestyle and 200 meter freestyle — met at last year’s International Open Ocean Challenge in Hawaii and first talked about starting their own company. The men, who are also training for this year’s Iron Man triathlon, became friendly after realizing they had served as lifeguards at the same New Jersey beach.
“As swimmers, we know what is needed for peak performance and will incorporate that into our product,” said Hughes, president and chief executive officer. “There seems to be an opportunity for a smaller, more knowledgeable swimwear maker in this category.”
The eight-piece women’s line, which wholesales from $30 to $45, will be shipped to specialty stores in the next month or two. Consumers can order swimwear from the company’s e-commerce store, H2Ovelocity.com.
Ten percent of the sales of a select style will be donated to the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps keep oceans clean.
First-year projected wholesale volume for H2O Velocity’s women’s swimwear is $500,000, said Hughes, who is based in Las Vegas.
Earlier this month, a print advertising campaign broke in the April issues of Triathlete, Swimming World and Fitness Swimmer .
Next month, while Hughes is gearing up for the Olympic trials for triathlon, Roestenberg is heading to Waikiki, Hawaii, for this year’s International Open Ocean Challenge. Roestenberg said he plans to spread the word about the brand to attendees and visit stores.