Dunkirk, France - Swimwear maker TYR Sport Inc. launched a new competition suit, the Tracer Rise, at a 23 April press conference in Dunkirk during the French Olympic Trials. TYR claims that, in trials, the suit's streamlining and drag-reduction technology gave up to a 4-percent improvement in swimming performance.
According to its developers, the Tracer Rise features the "first woven high-performance urethane fabric ever used in competition."
Wearing this suit, Doug Van Wie set a world record in the 4x100m Freestyle S.C. Relay in Dunkirk. TYR said in a 24 April statement that the patent-pending technical swimsuit was approved for competition by the sport's international regulatory body FINA on 12 April.
TYR's new development follows competitor Speedo's launch of its LZR suit, also using polyurethane, earlier this year, which gave rise to some controversy. Some 37 swimming world records had been broken up to mid-April this year - 35 of them in the LZR.
One part of the controversy arose when other swimsuit makers complained to FINA that the polymeric panels of suits such as the LZR were not woven and therefore broke the association's rules regarding fabric: the association ruled that all swimsuits it has approved - including the LZR and the Tracer Rise - meet its criteria for materials.
Some commentators also feel that using such highly designed and structured suits amounts to 'technological doping."
TYR, which claims to be the second-largest performance swimwear company in North America, says it is the first company to distinguish three elements in a racing swimsuit's drag: form drag, pressure drag and wave drag.
And it has used this understanding in designing the Tracer Rise, using what it calls, "Rapid Boundary Technology." With the aid of the suit's non-permeable polyurethane micro-coating, fused to a proprietary lightweight water-repellent woven fabric, the swimmer achieves a higher body position in the water, reducing drag.
Other benefits of the suit, TYR said, are:
* muscle contour seaming. This limits muscle undulation and maximizes oxygen efficiency to the swimmer's core muscles.
* hydrophobic properties. Maximum water repellency eliminates absorption and restricts air trapping during high-velocity strokes.
High-tensile strength, flat seams in the strong micro-fibre also help to streamline a swimmer's body through the water via compression and muscle contouring, according to the developers.
"Tracer Rise propels the sport into an entirely new direction by pushing the innovation envelope. Our athletes believe in the Tracer Rise and their swimming results prove it. Fast just got faster," said Steve Furniss, TYR co-founder and 1972 Olympic swimming medalist, in TYR's statement.