Different techniques to enhance athletic performance has always been a source of hot debate, just think about the (relatively) recent ruling of the World Athletics Organisation to limit the stack height of running shoes in official competitions, in light of people breaking worlds records left-right-centre using the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%. Now Speedo is adding even more fuel to the fire by introducing the world to its latest wetsuit concept, the Speedo Fastskin 4.0.
You see, the Fastskin 4.0 is not your average swimsuit. Speedo, which launched the Fastskin series 20 years ago, created the new swimsuit in partnership with its research and development team Aqualab and looked at the evolution of current swimsuits and combined them with forecasted technological advancements to create a suit that the brand predicts could lead to an improvement of upto 4% across sprint events by 2040.
4% might sound a marginal gain but it could actually help the men's 50m freestyle record finally break through the 20-second barrier and could also see the women’s 100m Breaststroke time finally fall below the 60-second mark. All this wouldn’t be too controversial but wait until you’ve heard how Speedo is trying to achieve these not-so-marginal gains.
Speedo Fastskin 4.0: features
The Fastskin 4.0 is crafted with 3D scanning, AI prediction, and 3D bio-engineered printing, featuring customisable compression and adaptive buoyancy cells that “push what is possible in the pool to a new limit”, as Speedo puts it. And the AI involvement doesn’t end there: there is built-in AI functionality in the swimsuit monitoring vitals and live coaches athletes mid-race.
One might argue that live AI coaching during races might be a bit too much as is but there is more: the Fastskin 4.0 also features an in-built exoskeleton that “flexes for explosive power, snap and maximum amplitude” as well as an adaptive bioengineered surface which “replicates shark skin for optimum flow through water.”.Apparently, there is even a core reactor that !equalises the body position for added hydrodynamics and streamlining”, just for good measure.
The suit will not only be high-tech but also highly sustainable. As a matter of fact, it’ll be grown: the suit’s fabric is crafted with “bio-engineered, genetically modified bacteria” that means 80% of the suit will biodegrade once finished with. Apparently, athletes will also be able to power the sensors with this “Energy Harvesting Fabric.” The smart yarn used for the suit converts every race into energy which is used to power the AI system.
Speedo Fastskin 4.0: image gallery
Of course, it’s all just a concept and a lot can happen in the next 20 years that might change how the actual Fastskin 4.0 might look like. Take this concept as a time capsule you can revisit in 20 years’ time and see what you thought the swimsuit is going to look like.
For now, Speedo is focusing on its LZR Pure Intent and LZR Pure Valor suits, not least because since their launch in 2019, the suits have been responsible for 62.5% of all world records to fall. Speedo hopes they will perform well in Tokyo this year too, worn by some of the biggest names in swimming on the global stage they were designed for.