American Olympic medalists Amanda Beard, left, Natalie Coughlin, right, and Michael Phelps pose with in new, high technology Speedo LZR Racer swimsuits. // Swimwear (Kathy Willens/file/AP Photo)

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American Olympic medalists Amanda Beard, left, Natalie Coughlin, right, and Michael Phelps pose with in new, high technology Speedo LZR Racer swimsuits.

It turns out that swimming is not that different from flying - at least not where physics is concerned. Swimsuit maker Speedo turned to scientists at NASA's Langley Research Center for their considerable knowledge of friction and drag principles to help design new high-end racing wear. Researchers there tested numerous materials in a wind tunnel before settling on a weave of elastane-nylon and polyurethane, which ultimately became Speedo's LZR Racer line. The suits made their debut at the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, where they were worn by every male swimming event winner.

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