Record Setting Swimsuits to be Banned: Titanium Alloys Lose Out

Who would have thought that swimsuits could be so controversial? As it turns out, FINA (Fà ©dà ©ration Internationale de Natation) has decided to, “limit the amount and type of materials” that can be used to make the fancy swimsuits worn by elite swimmers such as Michael Phelps, according to a recent article from Scientific American.

The controversy stems from the unprecedented number of world records broken (108 last year) according to a recent New York Times article. The big transition in suits occurred back in 2000 when both men and women switched from lycra briefs in the case of men and lycra suits in the case of women to the full one piece body suit.

But it took us a little digging to discover that not only do these full piece suits streamline like seals, but they can be made of either polyurethane or titanium alloys and other composite materials according to the Scientific American article. The new rules will specifically require smaller suits (in other words, suits that show more flesh) ” men can only wear coverage between the waist and knees whereas women can’t wear suits that extend beyond the shoulders or lower than the knees. The second part of the new rules state that materials can only come from textiles which would take these titanium alloys suits out of the mix.

We can see why the rules went into effect. We all know that titanium is a high strength light-weight metal. We’d put it on for a swim race over Lycra anyday!

–Lisa Reisman


  • I’d be curious to find out exactly why ti has been used.

    Strength yes, but I don’t think the weight aspect makes that much of a difference over some of the more exotic composites – perhaps it can be so finely woven that it is practically impermeable without being buoyant?

    The companies making them could have a grander sales scheme in mind when creating these suits so perhaps longer-term issues like corrosion resistance and lack of allergic reactions make it a preferred choice?

    In the racing case it looks like the stickiest wicket is the degree of body coverage.

  • Hi Thomas, Thanks for your comment. I was only speculating on weight. From what I’ve gathered, there may also be something in terms of how much body hugging the suits provide but I’ll look into the corrosion resistance and allergic reaction angle. Interesting! LAR


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