The Arena Powerskin Carbon Pro Jammer is the latest entry in the high-stakes battle by the company, following the banning of their fully polyurethane “X-Glide” after the 2009 World Championships. Their new suits were worn by many of the high-profile swimmers and sprinters, including Rebecca Soni and Eric Shanteau at the 2012 London Olympics.
Unlike the full-body “X-Slide” Arena’s new jammer is biker-shorts length. The suit is constructed of stiff carbon fibers combined with elastomer, which allows the material to stretch. This combination of materials are woven together to create, according to Arena, an unprecedented compression of the muscles, allowing the wearer to perform better, especially when they would usually start to tire. While the suit has a snug fit, it doesn’t squeeze the muscles hard enough to affect performance negatively. In the past athletes needed to choose whether they wanted comfort without compression, or muscle compression with compromised freedom of movement. Arena claims that the Powerskin Carbon Pro Jammer makes this decision obsolete, combining both benefits in one suit. No longer does the swimmer need to decide between these two features.
Not only is the new Arena suit better at providing mobility and compression at the same time, but the carbon fibers make it stronger and less likely to tear or get damaged while putting it on. The fact that it doesn’t easily tear or fray means that the surface remains smooth longer than normal jammers, which reduces drag and keeps the surface waterproof, unlike other low- mid-range suits, which have a tendency to feel stiff and can soak up water. The weight of the suit has been tested to have the perfect strength to weight ratio for the best possible power and speed.
Arena chose carbon because it is the most important element in our lives. Almost 20 percent of our body is carbon, which means that only oxygen is more plentiful. Carbon is found everywhere in the universe and is the most important ingredient in a number of important things in nature, including DNA and eye lenses. It has the ability to bond to elements that aren’t metal, which makes it unlike other metals and has led most scientists to call it the essential building block of life.
The Arena Powerskin Carbon Pro Jammer is the first competition swimsuit to utilize carbon in its design for a truly revolutionary set of features. The combination of materials that make up the suit allow the swimmer or sprinter to move freely while the muscles remain compressed to vastly improve performance. While swimming’s regulatory bodies continue to limit the materials and designs allowed for competition swimwear, the advances that Arena has come up with should change the world of swimming now and well into the future.
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