Nottingham Scientists Make a (Smaller) Splash

Nottingham experts in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) have played a large part in the development of a Swimsuit worn by Rebecca Adlington, Britain’s first female Olympic swimming champion in 48 years. Rebecca, from Mansfield, won gold in the Women’s 400m freestyle and is amongst 50 others to set records wearing the Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit. The suit, which was tested in NASA wind tunnels, owes much of its physics to Nottingham University research departments headed by Dr Herve Morvan.

The ultra-tight swimsuit has brought a new edge to the sport, and the effectiveness of the swimsuit is such that the sports federation, which ensures equal opportunities between athletes, has stipulated that it should be available to all swimmers at Beijing, resulting in Speedo taking 3000 with them. Speedo claim that drag reduction and the forcing of correct swimming posture are the result of four years’ research into the specialised fabric. However flattering or fattening the LZR may be, Rebecca Adlington will certainly be thankful to our very own scientists who have produced something truly revolutionary, a universally acclaimed instrument for smashing records.

Don’t, however, expect to be seeing it on the beaches; with a price tag of £320 it’s only for the hardcore swimmers, plus I don’t think they have my size.

James Sanderson


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