A new high-performance swimsuit, developed by mimicking the skin of sharks, will be worn by top athletes in Athens from this week.
The revolutionary new fabric, developed by Speedo, is the result of four years of research and development that began with the study of shark skin at the Natural History Museum .
The new swimsuit, called Fastskin FSII, increases a swimmer's speed by reducing passive drag through water by up to 4% more than the next best swimsuit.
Research into shark skin texture and movement through water was carried out under the guidance of Natural History Museum fish expert Ollie Crimmen.
Tiny 'teeth' cover the surface of a shark's skin and the shape and positioning of these 'teeth' vary across the body to manage the flow of water.
With these findings Speedo created a full 'bodyskin' with different fabrics on different parts of the body and for the first time, male- and female-specific and stroke-specific swimsuits.