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credit: Roger Viollet

Watching the current Olympic swimmers got me pondering the evolution of the bathing suit, especially as it pertains to sport. Couldn’t help noticing last night that the suits Olympian ladies wore bear a remarkable resemblance to this circa 1900 suit.

The materials have advanced, but look how styles get recycled…

Picasso, 1918

1916 bathing suit

The material of swim suits started as wool, but eventually evolved to incorporate some form of latex, jersey or other fabric. Imagine trying to swim in wet wool…

6-15 Jul 1912: Portrait of The British Women’s 4 x 100 Metres Freestyle Swimming Team during the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. The British Women’s Team won the gold medal in this event. Credit: IOC Olympic Museum /Allsport

Even the ubiquitous swimwear brand Speedo started life as MacRae Knitting Mills, renaming itself Speedo in 1928 and using the slogan “Speed on in your Speedos.” Smart marketing change and now a brand interchangeable with the sport world of swim, no?

Aileen Riggin, 1920, Diving Gold medalist

Albina Osipowich, American Gold medalist 1928 Olympics, 100 meter freestyle-image credit: Brown University’s Department of Athletics

And circling back to just yesterday– history does indeed repeat itself…

AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS XAVIER MARITFRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/GettyImages Photo: Francois Xavier Marit, AFP/Getty Images / SF

 

2 responses to “Ladies Lounge: Swimwear of Olympic Proportions”

  1. Terry Shumker says:

    The article on bathing suits was quality interpretive historical research..
    Terry Shumaker

  2. jason norman says:

    my grandmother is second from left in the next to last photo. They won a gold medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay. She turned 99 last week. Thanks for the article and including the photo.

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