Back in the day (just over 110 years ago) swimming was just about making it to the Olympics.
Swimming back then was nothing like swimming back now.
In the first swimming Olympic Games in 1896 there were only 5 events, only men could compete, and they all swam either front crawl or breaststroke. There was even a special race for sailors.
The most awesome thing, at least from my point of view, was that they did all this in a woolly swimsuit. Wool. Crazy.
Wool, as I’m sure those of you who have washed your own clothes before know, is a rather good absorber of liquids. Imagine then that you have to swim 100m, or even 1500m in a swimsuit that weighs you down by about 3 or 4kg! On top of the fact that you have to carry yourself through the water too. Madness.
These days swimsuits are made from man-made materials like polyester. And some even have Carbon Fibres in them. It’s awesome.
On Thursday Dec 5th I’m going to be at the Pythagorean Cabaret in Belfast, talking about how we went from Wool to Carbon Fibres in swimsuit design.
But I need props. I have my own Speedo Sharkskin suits from when I was swimming. I even have a Speedo LZR (one of the super fast ones that were banned) that someone gave me because they can’t use it anymore. I might even (fingers crossed) be allowed to borrow a Carbon Fibre containing Arena swimsuit.
Getting my hands on a wooly one has proved more challenging. No-one I know (or don’t know – thanks for asking around peops) has one. And some of the ones on E-bay are going for more than £200! As a freelancer on a budget, I decided DIY Swimsuits was the way forward.
So this evening I have spent some time with a needle, thread and a woolly jumper, making my very own woolly swimsuit in time for Thursday’s show. I think it looks rather fetching….
If this won’t get a laugh on stage… I don’t know what will.
Wish me luck!