Speedo Brand

1910’s – The Origins

The Speedo brand originated in 1914 under the brand name ‘Fortitude’. Taken from the motto on the clan MacRae crest. It didn’t become known by its now famous brand name until 1928.  The company was started by a young Scot called Alexander MacRae.

He migrated to Australia in 1910, and set up an underwear manufacture business called MacRae Hosiery manufacturers.  In response to the growing beach culture in Australia. MacRae quickly expanded his operations to include swimwear and changed the company name to MacRae Knitting Mills.

1920’s – Creating a Classic

During the 1920’s the swimwear market grew rapidly. Thanks to the acceptance of swimming as a sport and a more liberal attitude towards mixed bathing. In 1928 MacRae introduced the classic, figure-hugging “Racerback” costume. This permitted greater freedom of movement. Allowing wearers to swim faster.

This inspired staff member Captain Parsons to coin the slogan ‘Speed on in your Speedos’. And the Speedo brand name was born in 1928. By 1929 the first Speedo swimsuits were being produced. The newly-named brand soon established itself in the hearts and minds of swimmers and the general public. Thanks in part to Swedish swimmer Arne Borg, who set a world record in Speedo swimwear.

Speedo History

1930’s – Style and Performance

Swimwear fashions changed constantly throughout the 1930’s. The Speedo brand products began to make the headlines for their style and performance. In 1932 at the Los Angeles Olympic Games Australian Claire Dennis took gold in the 200m breaststroke. She caused controversy in her Speedo swimsuit that “showed too much shoulder”.

Four years later, the 1936 Berlin Games saw an Australian Men’s swim team all wearing Speedo. Including a daring, bare-chested swimming shorts design. Alexander McRae also formed strong links with the Surf Life Saving Association. This continues up to the current day.

1940’s – War and a 2-Piece

The Second World War saw the Speedo brand dedicate over 90% of its capacity to supplying vital equipment to the armed forces. After the war, Speedo quickly re-established itself. Even opening a new factory to cope with increased demand for swimsuits – spearheaded by the bikini.

Two-piece swimsuits for women had first appeared just before the war. But were not yet commonly regarded as decent – in fact, the Speedo bikini was banned by Australian beach inspectors!  Speedo continued to dominate competitive swimming. With an increasing number of athletes choosing to endorse the Speedo brand.

1950’s – Shore to Shore Expansion

 The foundations for expansion were laid in 1951. When Speedo Knitting Mills (Holdings) Ltd was incorporated and became a publicly traded company on the Sydney Stock exchange.  At the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Speedo’s sponsorship of the entire Australian team transformed the Speedo brand into a world famous brand when the team swept the board with 8 gold medals.

Speedo began exporting to the USA in 1959. Also forming a new International Division to monitor the New Zealand, Japanese and South African markets. Speedo also moved into Europe. Buying a 30% share of Robert Shaw and Company Ltd. in Nottingham, England.

1960’s – The Sky’s the Limit

The global growth of the Speedo brand continued during the 1960s. The Speedo (Europe) subsidiary was established in London, England, and Speedo swimwear manufacture and distribution licenses were granted to corporations in Japan and South Africa.

The Mexico Olympics of 1968 saw some brilliant performances, with 27 of the 29 gold medallists wearing Speedo suits. In addition, 22 out of the 23 world records set at the Games went to swimmers wearing Speedo.

1970’s – Ripple Effect

Speedo is the first company to start producing swimwear made of nylon/elastane. This is still the most popular swimwear fabric today.  Meanwhile, Speedo’s international presence expanded significantly. New ventures were launched in Eastern Europe, Brazil and Mexico. While the Japanese licensing deal was renewed, and Speedo Canada was established.

At the 1972 Munich Olympics, a staggering 21 out of the 22 world records were broken by swimmers wearing Speedo. 52 out of the 58 nations competing in the pool were wearing the Speedo brand.  Speedo was also the official swimwear licensee for the 1976 Montreal Olympics, where 52 out of 54 countries wore their swimsuits

1980’s – Faster than the Wave

A historic agreement is signed between China and the Speedo brand. Providing the Chinese team with training and equipment. This allowed them to return to Olympic competition after an absence of 40 years.  Companies in Belgium, the Netherlands, Iceland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland are all licensed to have Speedo products manufactured and distributed.

By now, the Speedo trademark is protected in 112 countries.  Breaking new ground again, Speedo became the first ever official sponsor of the Australian Institute of Sport.

Speedo Brand

1990’s – On the Shoulders of Giants

Speedo International Ltd. The Pentland Group also took ownership of the Speedo brand in this decade. In 1992 Speedo launched S2000 15% less drag than conventional swimwear fabric. At the Barcelona Olympics 53% of all swimming medals won were by swimmers competing in Speedo S2000.

In 1994 Speedo launched Endurance, the world’s first chlorine resistant fabric. Two years later in 1996 Speedo launched AQUABLADE 8% lower surface resistance than S2000. At the Atlanta Olympics 77% of all swimming medals won were worn by swimmers competing in Speedo AQUABLADE swimsuits.

2000’s – Unleash Confidence

The Speedo brand kicked off the 21st century in style. Launching the revolutionary FASTSKIN swimsuit. Its award winning sharkskin-based design was eagerly received by swimmers like Grant Hackett, Michael Klim, Inge de Bruijn and Lenny Krayzelburg.

The 2000 Sydney Olympics saw 13 of the 15 World Records broken in the suit and 83% of medals won by swimmers. In 2013 Speedo celebrates its 85th Anniversary and launches ‘Get Speedo Fit’, a new campaign aimed at helping people to reach their optimum fitness through swimming.

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Determine Your Size With Our Bra Size Calculator

1. Underbust Size

2. Overbust Size

Measuring Your Underbust

Stand straight with your arms hanging casually by your side; if you can get a friend to measure you around your chest, directly under your bust.

Ideally, measure yourself while you are not wearing a bra, or if you are wearing one, be careful not to sit the tape over any part of your bra.  The tape should sit directly under your breasts (where your bra band would normally sit), should be horizontal all the way around and be as tight as possible without being uncomfortable (exactly like your bra’s underband).  This measurement is your Underbust.


Measuring Your Overbust

Still standing straight measure horizontally around the fullest part of your bust (usually over the nipples).  This is best done while you’re wearing a good fitting bra.  The tape should not be to tight resting lightly on your body. Make sure the tape is straight across your back and is parallel to the floor.  This measurement is your Overbust.

Finding Your Perfect Fit

Finding your correct Australian Bra Size is as easy as 1, 2, 3. One; follow the instructions below to find your underbust and overbust size. Two; slide the bars to your correct size position to discover your recommended size. Three; start shopping!

  1. Underbust Size; measure around your chest, directly below your bust. Read more below.
  2. Overbust size; measure around the fullest part of your breasts. Read more below.

Crop Tops

Crop tops can fit differently to cupped bras.  Generally speaking they are more similar to women’s clothing sizes.

XS = 8    S = 10   M = 12   L = 14   XL = 16    XXL = 18

Sports Bras Direct recommends crop tops for cup sizes A-D only. You must also check the specific style of crop top suits the level of impact you require.  Breasts that are bigger than a D cup require more specific support from a cup size sports bra.

Each Brand has a slight variation in their actual measurement guidelines for crop tops. Please check brand specific sizing below to establish the best size crop to suit you.

If you are still unsure on your size we would love to help you, please contact us to arrange your personal fitting appointment.

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Speedo Size Guide