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Virtual Swimmer Helps Speedo Create a Faster Swimsuit

March 11, 2004
Courtesy of Fluent Inc.

Fluent Europe Limited has been working with Speedo International Limited, a leading swimwear brand, to bring Formula One design methodologies to the Olympic swimming pool with the launch of the fastest swimsuit in the world, FASTSKIN FSII on the 9th March. Born in the Speedo Aqualab (Speedo's research and development headquarters), FASTSKIN FSII increases speed by reducing passive drag by up to 4% more than the next best suit and is set to help swimmers improve their performance in Athens this summer.


CFD simulation of water flow over a typical male elite swimmer showing contours of surface pressure and water flow pathlines over the body. Courtesy of Speedo and Fluent Inc.


CFD simulation of water flow over a typical male elite swimmer showing pulsed water flow pathlines over the body colored by local static pressure. Courtesy of Speedo and Fluent Inc.

Speedo's research and development team began the development of FASTSKIN FSII after the Sydney Olympics by evaluating emerging engineering technologies that would enable them to take swimsuit design to a new level. Speedo identified a technology never before used in swimwear development - Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Speedo has worked closely with Fluent, a leading Computational Fluid Dynamics software company, to develop a "virtual swimmer." This allowed Speedo to monitor fluid flow and make FASTSKIN FSII as hydrodynamic as possible. Fluent's ground breaking CFD software has been incorporated into Speedo's research and development engineering design process to evaluate the drag and fluid flow characteristics around swimmers. During the development of FASTSKIN FSII, Fluent's program eliminated the variability of the results and allowed Speedo to conduct a greater number of tests and achieve more accurate results.


CFD simulation of water flow over a typical male elite swimmer showing oilflow lines over head and upper torso colored by local dynamic pressure. Courtesy of Speedo and Fluent Inc.


CFD simulation of water flow over a typical male elite swimmer showing oilflow lines over the body colored by local dynamic pressure. Courtesy of Speedo and Fluent Inc.

Dr. Keith Hanna, director of marketing and communications at Fluent, said: "What Speedo has achieved by transferring motor racing technical
design methodologies to the hydrodynamics of swimming and swimsuits is probably a first for an Olympic discipline, and certainly a milestone of applied engineering. I believe that in its wake this integrated technical design approach will be used in many other Olympic sports."


CFD simulation of water flow over a typical male elite swimmer in the glide position showing contours of surface shear stress on the swimsuit region. Courtesy of Speedo and Fluent Inc.


CFD simulation of water flow over a typical female elite swimmer in the glide position showing contours of surface shear stress on the swimsuit region. Courtesy of Speedo and Fluent Inc.

Essential to the success of any swimsuit is its acceptance by the world's leading swimmers and coaches. Speedo has been working with elite athletes from around the world to develop FASTSKIN FSII. Known as the Speedo FSII Team, the athletes will be at the forefront of Speedo's challenge in Athens and will include the latest phenomenon from the US, 18-year-old Michael Phelps. Phelps, who became the first person to break five world records in a single meet when he won four gold medals at the 2003 World Championships, will be wearing FASTSKIN FSII in Athens in a bid to match Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals. If successful, Speedo will pay Phelps a one million dollar bonus.

About Fluent

Fluent is the world's largest provider of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software and consulting services. Fluent's software is used for simulation, visualization, and analysis of fluid flow, heat and mass transfer, and chemical reactions. It is a vital part of the computer-aided engineering (CAE) process for companies around the world and is deployed in nearly every manufacturing industry. Using Fluent's software, product development, design and research engineers build virtual prototypes and simulate the performance of proposed and existing designs, allowing them to improve design quality while reducing cost and speeding time to market. Fluent's corporate headquarters are located in Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA, with offices in Belgium, England, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and Sweden. Its CFD software is also available around the world through joint ventures, partnerships, and distributors in Korea, Australia, Brazil, China, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Middle East, and most European countries. Fluent Europe is a member of the SportsPulse consortium in the UK.