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Speedo Fastskin Bodyskin worn by Craig Stevens at the 2003 Barcelon World Swimming Championships

Date: c 2003
1240 x 330 mm
Medium: Polyester, elastine
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Craig Stevens
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00040498

User Terms

    This Speedo Fastskin full body swimsuit was worn by champion swimmer Craig Stevens at the 2003 Barcelona World Championships. Made in Australia, the navy, yellow and green polyester elastane fabric has dense green and navy flatlocked seams. With a zipper that runs up the centre of the back, the main body of the suit has been textured to form a denticular pattern similar to that of a shark.

    The suit is decorated in white with Speedo's logo, the Southern Cross, the text 'AUS', the Telstra logo, and the text '2003 World Championships Barcelona'.
    SignificanceThis Australian made Fastskin Bodysuit was worn by champion swimmer Craig Stevens at the 2003 World Swimming Championships held in Barcelona. It is an important example of the technological developments in competitive swimwear made by Speedo in the 2000s.
    HistoryThe Speedo Fastskin was launched in 2000 at Homebush Bay in Sydney. The design was developed by a core research team of scientists, swimmers, a swimming coach, a computer clothing company, a Japanese textile company, a bio mechanist and a shark expert, who all found that the unique texture of a shark's skin allows it to move faster through the water.

    The Fastskin fabric mimics the rough dermal denticles of shark skin to reduce drag in key areas of the body. The polyester and elastane fabric compresses the body to stop skin vibration and muscle oscillation, with the effect of saving energy and further reducing drag.

    The suit aids in connecting muscles through a combination of panels and unique seaming. It follows an anatomic pattern where the seams act like tendons and provide tension in the suit, while the fabric panels act like muscles, stretching and returning to their original shape.

    The Fastskin FSII was launched in 2004 for the Athens Olympics. The new range featured male and female specific, and stroke specific swimsuits. The FSII fabric contains a special material made from a titanium alloy, which is knitted into the costume, with a silicon crystalloid knitted into the chest and back. Seams have been engineered to follow the flow of the water, with greater stretch to allow freedom of movement.

    Seams are an essential element in minimising drag and optimising performance. As seams play a vital role in allowing fabric to be stretched to maximum tension, which gives complete freedom of movement, the number of stitches is very high.

    Craig Stevens (born 1980), who wore the Fastskin, was little known before he was propelled into the media spotlight in 2004 after Ian Thorpe toppled from the blocks at the start of the 400 metres freestyle event at the Australian Olympic swimming trials in Sydney. Having qualified second after Grant Hackett, Stevens was put under personal and media pressure to give up his place in the 400m freestyle at the Athens Olympics for fellow team member Thorpe, who was considered to be Australia's best gold medal chance in the event.

    Stevens did give up his spot to concentrate on his other Olympic qualifying events - the 1500m freestyle and 4 x 200m relay. Ian Thorpe went on to win the Olympic gold medal in the Men’s 400m freestyle final at Athens with Grant Hackett finishing second. Stevens won a silver Olympic medal as part of the Australian Men’s 4 x 200m relay team and also reached the final of the Men’s 1500m freestyle event.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Full body suit swimming costume

    Web title: Speedo Fastskin Bodyskin worn by Craig Stevens at the 2003 Barcelon World Swimming Championships

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