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Swimmer in swim cap and speedsuit

A speedsuit is a skin-tight garment, generally made of spandex, covering the torso and usually the arms and legs. It is designed to streamline the body to speed up competitors in swimming, cycling or skiing races.

Suits for competitive swimmers are so tight that they take a long time to put on, and may require two assistants to do up the zip. Those for males should be tight over the crotch.

The sensation of wearing one has been described as like a second skin, with obvious implications for fetishists.


Such suits were pioneered by the Speedo company. It claimed that the textured surface would reduce drag compared with bare skin. For the Olympic Games, in 1992 the S2000 suit was claimed to have 15% less drag than conventional fabrics. It introduced the Aquablade in 1996 "with 8% lower surface resistance than S2000", the Fastskin "sharkskin-based design" in 2000 with "up to 7.5% drag reduction" and furher designs in 2004 and 2008. Another firm, Tyr, produced the "Aqua Shift" in 2004, claiming it to be better than the Speedo suit. Swimmers wearing such suits won many medals, and they were banned with effect from 2010 as giving their wearers an unfair advantage. Whether they do indeed provide an advantage is debated.

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