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Swimsuits and drag reductionFeatured science projectScience project video


The hypothesis that the Speedo Fastskin swim suit should have the least amount of drag and give the fastest time is proven to be true.

In the Beijing 2008 Olympics,  the legendary Michael Phelps was able to break many records by using modern "fast" swimsuits. The development of new materials that have a lower drag in water compared to the human skin allows the swimmer to have the edge in completing the lap in a shorter time. Modern swimsuits that cover the whole body effectively reduce human skin contact with water and help to compress and reshape the body to reduce water resistance.

Also consider

What would happen if the experiment was repeated using weights of different shapes?
The experiment can also be repeated in seawater.


The Y2K swimsuit -

Fastest swimsuit -

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hours to prepare, 2 hours for observation
Material availability:
Swimsuits may be purchased from a swimming gear retail outlet or department store. Alternatively, you might be able to borrow these from friends.
Safety concerns:

Always be careful and aware of the risks of getting/falling into a pool. Adult supervision required. Only swimmers should enter pools.