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  • Sep

    Trending in Rio

    It’s been a month since the swimming competition ended in the Rio pool but we thought we’d look back on some trends that we spotted on the pool deck this year with a few thoughts of our own:

    1) Cupping – Cupping has been around for years, centuries even as a physio treatment first used in Asia -- but it’s only recently been catching on in sports and swimming. For the uninitiated, cupping essentially suctions the skin away from the muscle as a relaxation therapy – like a giant hickey really. And like a hickey, it leaves a telltale sign!

    Most recently we’ve seen Nathan Adrian sporting the odd purple circles on his back regularly at meets along with a few pro athletes in other sports and celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow. But leave it to Michael Phelps to take the therapy mainstream and have it get national news coverage during Rio. Some college programs have been cupping for a few years but we have a sneaking suspicion a lot more teams will be cupping this year!

    And while we don't offer tools for cupping, we have plenty of other muscle relaxation aids such as our Trigger Point The Grid Foam Roller or the Moji Curve PRO Total Body Massager.

    2) Curved Lenses – We noticed more and more swimmers using curved lenses as their race goggles during the Rio Games. Aqua Sphere, the brand collaborating with Michael Phelps on his namesake MP brand has been known for its curved lenses for many years and Phelps extolled the virtues of his new XCEED goggle: “When I’m competing, I’ve always had a hard time sighting the lane lines. With the XCEED goggle, I can see two or three lanes over. The visibility is insane. I’ve never worn anything like it,” he said. So clearly, the curved goggles are an improvement in his opinion.

    Credit: MP Michael Phelps

    Other top brands are also featuring curved lenses as part of their top of the line racing goggles, including the Arena Cobra Ultra and Speedo’s Fastskin 3 Elite.

    Swim industry veteran Todd Mitchell, who oversees development of the MP line, highlights that curved lenses need to be designed with precision: “Aqua Sphere patented its specific curved lens design, protecting the geometry to maximize vision and eliminate distortion.  It’s important to recognize that not all curved lenses are the same.  If the curve is too great, it will create distortion, having a negative effect on vision.  If the curve is to slight, there will be no added advantage.  It’s important to validate the vision claims to ensure an undistorted, wide field of vision.”

    3) Traditional Brands Dominate – There’s no question that since the previous Olympics, numerous upstart brands have launched their own elite tech suits, providing consumers – and pro swimmers – with a lot more suit options on the market. You can read about some of the new brands in our annual Tech Suit Review.

    Credit: Speedo

    But when it comes to the Olympics, the traditional brands especially Speedo and Arena still dominated the pool in Rio. Arena won 33% of all medals awarded to individual swimmers and was worn during four of the six world records that were broken. Having Katinka Hosszu as one of its main endorsers certainly helped Arena with those stats, as well as Sweden’s star Sarah Sjostrom. And on the men’s side Ryan Murphy was a three-time gold medalist wearing his all black Arena jammers.

    Credit: Arena

    The other two world records broken were by Katie Ledecky wearing the Speedo LZR X. Speedo had a big edge among the U.S. women. Along with Ledecky, Speedo also outfitted Simone Manuel and Maya DiRado, the second- and third-most decorated female swimmers at the Games. That’s 13 medals right there among the three. Canada’s Penny Oleksiak also nabbed four medals wearing a Speedo suit.

    TYR notched a golden performance with Lilly King wearing the TYR Avictor during her 100m breaststroke victory and Cody Miller gave TYR some nice visibility during the 4x100m medley relay with its Omaha nights print.

    Credit: TYR

    MP Michael Phelps brand was only worn by Phelps himself but the XPresso suit nabbed six total medals thanks to another golden performance from Phelps. It will be interesting to see which swimmers become the first to wear the MP line other than the man who’s name is emblazoned on the suit.

    Perhaps the most surprising brand on the pool deck in Rio was Mizuno. The Japanese sport brand, known in the U.S. for running shoes and baseball cleats, doesn’t even distribute its swimsuit to consumers in America. Mizuno won a host of medals including gold from Kosuke Hagino and Joseph Schooling. The brand is a popular jammer on the men’s pro side.

    And not to be missed, Rie Kaneto of Japan represented Jaked with a gold medal in the women’s 200m breaststroke.

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