Some view the development of swimsuits that help athletes to go faster as a natural evolution of the sport, but others believe that training and technique should be the deciding factor that separates winners from losers. After seeing numerous world records get smashed by suited up swimmers, the sport's governing body decided to side with the latter camp and put the brakes on the high tech sportswear. The Corsuit however, is not designed to be worn during competition, and its inventor believes it could help swimmers to achieve natural speed advantages without breaking any rules.
Sam James, a 23-year-old industrial design student from Queensland University of Technology, believes that his new training device can help swimmers achieve similar advantages to high-performance body suits while staying well within the regulations.
Polyurethane or neoprene swimsuits help core stability through the middle of the body, with posture and with awareness of what the body is doing. James says: "what that would do was make a better connection between your arms and legs. So without any extra effort, your arms and legs were more powerful."
James believes that when used as part of a training regime, his Corsuit device could help swimmers gain such benefits without the needing to rely on the now banned swimsuits. When worn so that it runs down the spine, it is claimed to help with posture. Worn to the front, it can be adjusted to generate some resistance and encourage the wearer to use muscle power to push back on the device while correcting spine positioning.
"The idea is for the swimmer to build their core strength," said James. "So they can maintain good swimming posture using their own muscle power."
The Corsuit is currently on display at the State Library of Queensland as part of the Design Institute of Australia showcase – will be entered in next year's James Dyson Award competition.