Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe

DALLAS, Jul 19, 2003/ FW/ — adidas, the leading sports brand, introduced today a new swim suit called the adidas JETCONCEPT.

This full bodysuit shows a revolutionary approach by not only reducing the drag that the swimmer faces in the water but also influencing the way the water flows over the swimmer’s body.

Small “riblets”, integrated in the new suit, channel the water and thereby shift the turbulence that occurs on the swimmer’s body and reduce the amount of water a swimmer carries on his back.

Ian Thorpe will be the first swimmer to use the adidas JETCONCEPT this week at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona.

adidas was the first company to introduce a full bodysuit in competitive swimming in 1998. This new innovation clearly changed the face of swimming.

Ian Thorpe started to use this full bodysuit in 1999. He set numerous world records and won three gold medals and two silver medals at the Olympic Games in Sydney and six gold medals at the World Championships in Fukuoka in 2001 using the full bodysuit.

Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe

But the adidas innovation team wasn’t satisfied, and began working on a new concept after the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

The idea the adidas innovation team came up with was unique: Instead of focusing on friction drag (caused by the surface of a swimmer) that only accounts for 8% of the drag a swimmer faces in the water they looked into the effects of form drag (caused by the shape of a swimmer) that account for 56%.

Adapting a technology already used by commercial aircrafts they created the adidas JETCONCEPT. The greatest obstacle was to add the so-called riblets to the suit without sacrificing the stretch ability and close fit of the suit.

But they succeeded and tests showed a real benefit. Swimmers not only felt “higher” in the water (due to less weight on their back) but also achieved better times.

Ian Thorpe, who was part of the development process right from the beginning, is excited about the new suit: “I am really pleased about the result. I think it is the most refined product that has ever been made in swimming. It allows me to have the best opportunity in the water that I can possibly have.”

Photos of Ian Thorpe wearing JetConcept courtesy of adidas