Speedo Fastskin LZR Racer - Fastest Swim Suit in the World for 2008!

That Might Depend On Who Is Swimming In The Swimsuit...

US Swimmers Debut in the Speedo LZR
US Swimmers Debut in the Speedo LZR. Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Speedo's new swimsuit, the Fastskin LZR Racer (Laser Racer - get it?) is out there, and it is fast. In the USA it debuted on the NBC Today Show in February 2008. The suit looks fast, and with swimmers like Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Leisel Jones, Park Tae-Hwan, and Kate Ziegler in them, I bet they will be the fastest swimsuit on the planet in Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympics. To quote Michael Phelps, "when I hit the water, I feel like a rocket." And Ryan Lochte: "Putting on the suit kind of makes you feel like a super hero."

What do you think? Does the suit give swimmers an unfair advantage? Is the suit legal (FINA said it was). Is it too expensive? .

What makes the suit fast? Design News reports on the suit, listing one of the improvements that aids swimmers is the use of a new low-drag, water-repellent polyurethane membrane. According to the Speedo USA Website:

  • Speedo used NASA to help design the suit. Yup - rocket scientists.
  • Lots of tests in water flumes to test passive drag (10% better than the Fastskin FSII - 2004's fast Speedo swimsuit - and 5% better than then the FS-PRO, the fastest Speedo suit from 2007.
  • Tests to show where the most drag occurs on a swimmer's body led to a suit designed to minimize drag in those areas.
  • Body scanning of 400 elite athletes to help develop an efficient suit pattern for construction.
  • Bonded seams, so no stitches to cause drag.
  • A hidden zipper - again, less drag.
  • LZR polyurethane panels reduce drag in some areas of the swimsuit by as much as 24% compared to other Speedo suits.
  • And a bigee - 5% less effort to go the same speed - a swimmer can use less energy to go a given speed, so they ought ot have more energy to go faster or hold that speed longer.

We'll see the suit in action over the coming months. It looks fast, I'm sure other suits will be out to compete with it, but the standard has been set by the Speedo Fastskin LZR Racer.

Some of the other swimsuits that will be worn at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games:

  • TYR has the new Tracer Rise, with "lightweight fabrications, extreme water repellency, and precision compression on key muscle groups to aid in reaction time, recovery, and stamina" to help swimmers go faster.
  • Arena's new suit, the R-Evolution, will be out in March.
  • Diana's SubmarineTF features a super-slick water-repellant fabric treatment, thermofused seams, and seals that help keep the suit in contact with the swimmer's body, preventing water from flowing between the fabric and the swimmer's skin.
  • In Japan, Mizuno, Asics, and Descente/Arena will have new suits for Beijing.
  • There is even a cross-over possibility from the world of triathlon wetsuits with the blueseventy pointzero3, at least for open water swimmers.

Swim On!

Updated by Dr. John Mullen, DPT, CSCS on January 28th, 2016.