It’s that time of year again when the swimming giants release their new ranges. Adidas and Arena have pitched in with a new swimming suit, Speedo have joined forces with Misfit, and there are a few new companies on the horizon with some new swim tech.
Arena, with the help of Professor Hideki Takagi of the University of Tsukuba in Japan, and the team at Descente Ltd, have developed the Aquaforce Lightning swimsuit based on the movement of a dolphin. Professor Hideki Takagi wanted to develop a technology with the potential to help all elite swimmers, and the one-thing common amongst the elite is the dolphin kick (just off the blocks and after turns). Using a waterproof biomechanics (much like VICON) and E.M.G (electromyography) system, the researchers in Japan claim a 2.4% increase in speed when wearing the new swimsuit.The new “powerbands” have been strategically placed on the front and back of the legs to increase proprioception and release stored energy during movement. This type of claim has been proposed by many in the industry but research remains unpublished. However, Professor Hideki Takagi does have a long history of publishing swimming related research, even developing a robotic swimming hand back in 2003 to analyse the stroke.
The second swimsuit in this series is the Adidas ADIZERO XVI . Adidas claim this is its fastest suit ever, but don’t cite an exact improvement. Remarkedly similar to its techfit series and Arena’s new offering, the ADIZERO XVI features three advancements; energy optimisation (X-Tra Energy), intelligent materials (X-Tra Flow) and a stroke-specific biometric fit (X-Tra Fit). Taken from the press release, X-Tra Energy utilise strategically placed “powerbands” to ensure the swimmer’s expended energy is returned during movement. X-Tra Flow is an aerodynamically inspired suit material (surely they mean hydrodynamically?) and X-Tra Fit is a tailored fit (and placement of bands) for the different swimming strokes. It looks great, and I am sure X-Tra Flow and X-Tra Fit are likely to improve performance, but the jury is still out on the “powerband” syndrome until some research is published.
Speedo have joined forces with Misfit, to create the Speedo Shine. Very similar to original Misfit shine modelsin looks, there is little that is revolutionary or new. In time, I imagine Speedo will release stroke monitors and counters, with feedback on technique, and that it when it gets really exciting:
Two other new companies aiming to compete in the lucrative world of swimming are Swimmo, and Moov. Swimmo launched on kickstarter with huge success, funded 472%. Swimmo claim to capture laps, distance, swimming pace, duration, heart rate and calories burned. Let’s see what it is like when its finally released. Moov have released their second activity band to great acclaim in the UK. Used in all triathlon sports, it has been our fastest selling product ever at Kit Radar. I will await telling more once one of our independent product testers post their review on this site