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Women's 1972 Australian Olympic team-inspired swimsuit

Date: 1972
Overall: 590 x 320 mm, 0.08 kg
Clothing size: 10
Medium: Nylon, cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Speedo International Ltd
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00019041
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This one piece women's swimsuit, featuring the 1972 Australian Olympic swimming team uniform design, was designed by Gloria Smythe and produced as a commercial release in Australia under license from Speedo. The nylon tricot swimsuit uses the fabric print known as the 'Southern Cross', an all over design of green, yellow and white clouds and stars. The official swimsuit worn by the Olympic women's team in Munich featured a quarter skirt, scooped contour back, also known as a Masterback, and an Australian fabric badge. This commercial example has a Racerback, and has been made without a skirt.

    Speedo first released commercial ranges of the designs they produced for various national Olympic teams in the 1960s.

    SignificanceProduced as a stock item, this swimsuit demonstrates the influence of Olympic team designs on Speedo's commercial swimwear ranges in the 1960s.

    HistoryIn 1955 Speedo introduced nylon into its competitive swimwear designs, and the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne saw the widespread use of the new fabric. At the Rome Olympic Games in 1960 the Australian swimming team first wore the Prestige Nylon Tricot fabric. 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 followed this trend.

    Gloria Smythe (now Mortimer-Dunn) started working for Speedo in 1962, at a time when the company was establishing its reputation for performance swimwear. Focusing on experimenting with the cut of the swimsuit and eye-catching print designs, Smythe's attitude was always that Speedo was a global player selling to swimmers everywhere.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Women's 1972 Australian Olympic swimsuit

    Assigned title: Women's 1972 Australian Olympic team-inspired swimsuit

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