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Olympic swimsuits may give competitive swimmers an edge

They’re being called barracuda swimsuits and you’ll see them on Olympic swimmers in London next week. While some swim suits absorb water, these suits repel it, helping athletes swim faster.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- They’re being called barracuda swimsuits and you’ll see them on Olympic swimmers in London next week. While some swim suits absorb water, these suits repel it, helping athletes swim faster.

And they're being worn in local pools too. Seventeen-year-old Jack Robinson, a senior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, is trying to shave off one second of his time for the 100 meter back stroke.

Robinson wears the new suit in his major meets.

“Swimming in it, it’s a really cool feeling. You definitely go a lot faster and it makes a difference in the races just the material they use; goes a lot faster in the water,” Robinson said.

The suits have a smooth finish, streamlining the body and repelling the water to reduce drag, which slows swimmers down.

“It’s worn for just our biggest meets of the year. You can tell that you’re floating in the water better and projecting off of it,” said swimmer, Maggie Fletcher.

Back in 2009, certain materials were banned from Olympic swimsuits.

Studies done on these new Olympic suits, show it could increase speed by up to .11 percent, which seems small, but can make all the difference.

Syracuse Chargers coach Adam Zaczkowski says, “Swimming is one of the sports where 100th or 200th of a second, inch, inch-and-half is the difference in the race. So, when we’re talking about shaving a second off is, especially the shorter races, it’s much more difficult than it sounds.”

And with every stroke, Fletcher and Robinson are reaching for their goal of swimming in Junior Nationals in a few weeks.

The suits are custom made for each Olympic athlete. The ones high schoolers wear can be bought online and in stores, but they aren’t cheap. One swimsuit could cost more than $500 and they're only good for about 10 uses before getting worn out.
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