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SPEEDO Introduces Fastskin -- the Fastest Swimsuit Ever Made.

Business Editors/Retail & Fashion Writers

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 16, 2000

SPEEDO(R), the world's number one brand of swimwear, introduces Fastskin(TM), the most technically advanced competitive swimsuit ever made.

SPEEDO(R) Fastskin(TM) combines a new fabric with revolutionary design features to create a suit that has been scientifically proven to be significantly faster than all other swimsuits.

Among the most dramatic elements is the introduction of a full-body silhouette, the first to be offered in the company's history.

"The ultimate test on SPEEDO(R) Fastskin(TM)'s strengths comes when you wear it," says world record-holder Lenny Krayzelburg, who was among a select group of international swimmers involved in the development process. "You can feel the difference."

Four years ago, SPEEDO(R) set out to further improve on what was the fastest swimsuit ever produced, the SPEEDO(R) Aquablade(TM), worn by 77% of the medal winners at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Warnaco Inc.(R) CEO and Chairman Linda J. Wachner said, "Having developed the SPEEDO(R) Aquablade(TM) swimsuit, which was faster than any previous swimwear, it was difficult to know how we could advance on that, beyond producing a suit in Aquablade(TM) fabric that covered more of the body. Therefore, we focused our efforts beyond the traditional boundaries of conventional swimwear development."

SPEEDO(R) looked to a creature that is fast in the water but not naturally hydrodynamic -- the shark, whose highly developed skin minimizes drag and maximizes swimming efficiency.

The secret behind the shark's skin is its dermal denticles, which look like tiny hydrofoils with V-shaped ridges. As a shark moves through water, it creates turbulence and drag. Its dermal denticles decrease drag and turbulence by directing water flow over the body, which allows surrounding water to pass over the shark more effectively.

The SPEEDO(R) Fastskin(TM) fabric has ridges that are scientifically calculated for height and width to the exact proportion of the shark's dermal denticles -- the most efficient formula for speed.

Other fabric highlights include a "super stretch" element that improves shape retention and a muscle compression component that reduces the muscle vibration, a major source of power loss and fatigue for swimmers.

Aiding the development of the SPEEDO(R) Fastskin(TM)'s superior fit was a specially-commissioned body scanning system. The scanner was used in all areas of product development to produce a library of body profiles so that SPEEDO(R) could create the best-fitting suits for competitive swimmers.

Besides Krayzelburg, Olympic Gold Medalists Jenny Thompson (USA) and Amy Van Dyken (USA) and Pan Pacific Championships Gold Medalist Joanne Malar (CAN) were the other North Americans that provided input during the development process. Their input was vital in the creation of the "gripper."

The athlete's initial concerns with full body silhouette focused upon a loss of the "feel of the water" along the inner forearm, an area critical to generating propulsive forces.

To combat this, the SPEEDO(R) Fastskin(TM) incorporates a gripper fabric on the forearm, which mimics skin, and enhances the sensory feedback for the swimmer.

The advent of pioneering technology in sport often leads to a debate as to the level of influence technology should play.

"We've been very careful in making sure that the Fastskin(TM) concept will only focus on the management of existing forces rather than generating active forces," maintains Stu Isaac, Vice President of SPEEDO(R), a division of Warnaco Inc.(R)

SPEEDO(R) Fastskin(TM) was fully approved by the Federation International de Natation Amateur (FINA) in November 1999.

The SPEEDO(R) Fastskin(TM) is expected to be available for retail sale in September. Although the full body silhouette has been the most talked about style, the SPEEDO(R) Fastskin(TM) will be available in other silhouettes, including traditional racing cuts.

The SPEEDO(R) Aquablade(TM) styles will continue to be available to those swimmers who feel most comfortable with the design of that award-winning fabric.

SPEEDO(R) is a division of Warnaco Inc.(R), Symbol WAC on the New York Stock Exchange.

SPEEDO(R) is a registered trademark of and used under license from Speedo International Ltd.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 16, 2000
Words:688
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