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A Brief History Of Speedo Swimwear

Few companies have been able to weather the turbulent economy of recent times as well as Speedo. Since being founded near the white sands of Bondi Beach, Australia way back in 1914, the company has been instrumental in the swimwear industry. It’s been so influential that their brand name is often used to refer to a single product: “Did you bring your speedos?” It’s an honour that precious few companies have earned, but it’s one that Speedo truly deserves.

The racer-back costume

Speedo’s long history of quality swimwear products began with a single garment, known as the racer-back costume. In 1927, the company’s founder, Alexander McRae, had found success providing the Australian army with socks during the First World War. He invested this good fortune back into the company, and branched out into swimwear. The racer-back costume was the result. The brand name followed soon after when a slogan competition within the business produced the tagline: “Speed on in your Speedos”. The business gained worldwide recognition by sponsoring events such as the Olympics in 1932 and 1936.

The post-war world

Speedo’s swimming trunks continued to dominate the market all the way through until World War II. Once again, Speedo chose to funnel much of its funds into the war effort – giving the brand yet more recognition. But it wasn’t until the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games that the ‘classic’ men’s swimming briefs made their first appearance. The new swimming trunks were made of nylon for the first time, and were worn proudly by the Australian swimming team, who took home eight gold medals. This exposure solidified Speedo’s hold over the market, and led to Speedo becoming the sole manufacturer and distributor of Jockey-branded underwear in Australia.

 

The 1970s and beyond

By the mid-seventies, Speedo had a number of subsidiaries, including its now headquarters in Nottingham, England. Its product line expanded to include not only men’s and women’s swimwear, but also general sportswear. One key development during the 1970s was the company’s pioneering use of elastane, also known as spandex. This paved the way for all new styles of swim and sportswear, and is still used in many of Speedo’s products to this day.

The modern age

Speedo has never been a company to drag its feet, especially in regard to technology. Following a majority acquisition from British sportswear company Pentland Group in the early 90s, the company shifted its focus somewhat. It began to produce more fashion-oriented pieces such as beachwear and a range of accessories designed for use during triathlons. It also started to specialise in low-resistance swimsuits, such as the S2000. Its Aquablade line of swimsuits was a favourite amongst Olympians, and the company even developed chlorine-resistant garments through the Endurance range. Speedo has also ventured into the world of sports technology, with an ever-growing range of water-resistant digital watches, as well as its own take on MP3 players with the Aquabeat line of digital music devices.

Looking forward into 2013 and beyond, Speedo continues to be a force to be reckoned with, not only due to its 100-year history, but also its track record for trying new things and pushing new sports technologies.

Author: This post was supplied on Simply Swim UK, online speedo swimwear retailers.

Author: This post was supplied on Simply Swim UK, online speedo swimwear retailers.

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image source: http://speedo.com.au/australia/history

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