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Swimming goes space-age!
Around the Academy:

We investigate the latest advance in swimming technology
Some of the world's top stars will wear the new suit
When it comes to swimming, seconds count - and the world's top stars have a new weapon in the battle to rule the pool.

Swimwear company Speedo has developed a new all-in-one bodysuit called the Fastskin FSII, which it reckons will blow the competition out of the water.

So how does it work?

The suit is designed to help the swimmer glide through the pool as efficiently as possible.

In this picture the areas of highest friction are red, medium are yellow and low are blue
Friction varies across the body

Believe or not, your body creates friction as you move through the water.

That causes 'passive drag' - a tiny amount of resistance that means you don't move as smoothly as you may think.

How was the suit developed?

In order to help you swim like a fish, experts from the Natural History Museum were called in to study the ultimate underwater mover - the shark.

They discovered that the feel and shape of a shark's skin varies across its body, enabling it to manage the flow of water and move with maximum efficiency.

Not surprisingly, humans aren't built like that! But the new suit works on the same principle.

It's made up of several different materials, designed to create a free-flowing, friction-free swimmer.

How was it tested?

When they wanted to test out their new creation, Speedo called in the body scanners!

The swimmers weren't sure about the Spiderman design!
Spidey loved to swim

CyberFX is an American special effects company more used to making movies - they worked on Spiderman, The Matrix and Charlie's Angels.

A computerised virtual swimmer was created, around which they could re-create a real-life swimmer's movement through the water.

What will they think of next? Maybe a sharks fin!

Who wears it?
Michael Phelps (USA)
Grant Hackett (AUS)
Michael Klim (AUS)
Inge de Bruijn (NED)
Jenny Thompson (USA)
Massimiliano Rosolino (ITA)
Katy Sexton (GB)
Hannah Stockbauer (GER)
Amanda Beard (USA)
Lenny Krayzelburg (USA)
Kosuke Kitajima (JPN)

Did you know?
The new suits were worn for the first time at the 2004 Olympic Games

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