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Women's 1976 Australian Olympic swimsuit

Date: 1976
Overall: 590 x 320 mm, 0.08 kg
Clothing size: 14
Medium: Nylon, elastane (spandex or Lycra), cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Speedo International Ltd
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00019040
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This 'Australian map' print swimsuit was based on the design created by Gloria Smythe (Mortimer-Dunn) for the Australian women's Olympic swimming team in 1976. In the fabric pattern the word 'Australia' has been printed over green maps on a yellow background, producing a stenciled effect. The garment is skirtless, with wide shoulder straps, a cross back and a high scooped neck. It has a white gauze gusset, and white and green seams.

    When first released, the 'Australian map' print was described by the press as 'gimmicky', and was featured on the front page of the Daily Mirror. The design proved to be commercially successful, however, and was sold world wide.
    SignificanceProduced as a stock item, this Australian made swimsuit demonstrates the influence of Olympic team designs on Speedo's commercial swimwear ranges.
    HistoryIn 1955 Speedo introduced nylon into its competitive swimwear designs, and the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne saw the widespread use of the new fabric. The Australian swimming team first wore the Prestige Nylon Tricot fabric at the Rome Olympic Games in 1960. 1976 was the first year in which lycra was introduced as part of a blend with Nylon. This allowed a two-way stretch that gave swimmers greater freedom of movement.

    From 1957 the half skirt was replaced with the quarter skirt, and the introduction of the panel at the front gave more shape to the body and a better fit. By 1972 the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) allowed women to swim skirtless, though it was not until the 1976 Montreal Games that the Australian team design followed this trend.
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