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Written by: Jane Li
Written on: March 21st, 2017
Tags: biomedical engineering, health & medicine, lifestyle, material science, mechanical engineering, water, physics
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About the Author
Jane is an animal-loving sophomore studying Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation in the Iovine and Young Academy at USC.
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Volume XVIII Issue I > From Shark Skin to Speed


Unlike the transportation and medical fields, the fashion industry experienced less direct advancements using shark skin-inspired technologies. In the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, Michael Phelps received media attention for his shark skin-inspired swimsuit, represented in Fig. 5 [7]. Before the 2000 Olympic games, Speedo had already developed a line of shark skin inspired swimsuits called the Fastskin line [10]. During that year’s swimming competitions, 80% of medals won were awarded to swimmers wearing Speedo’s Fastskin suits, and of the 15 swimming world records broken, 13 of them were achieved by swimmers wearing Speedo’s sharkskin suits [10]. One of Speedo’s sharkskin swimsuits, a full body suit called the LZR Racer, was so successful that the International Swimming Federation (FINA) outlawed it by banning zippers and restricting the coverage of a men’s competition suit from navel to knees [7][21].
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Fig. 5: Michael Phelps Wearing Speedo’s Fastskin Suit [13].