Explore our History
From fabric world-firsts to iconic sporting moments, our journey to international swimwear brand is rich in history and innovation. Discover how it all began with a young Scotsman in 1910
Explore our History
Alexander MacRae, a young scot, emigrates to Australia to seek his fortune.
Johnny Weissmuller becomes the first man to break the one minute barrier in the 100 m freestyle.
At the Stockholm Olympic Games, women swam competitively for the first time.
MacRae sets up a knitwear factory in Sydney’s Regent Street, using the name ‘Fortitude’, taken from the family crest.
Fortitude makes socks for the Australian army during World War 1.
Lane dividers made of cork are used for the first time at the Paris Olympics, and lines on the pool bottom aid orientation.
Jim Parsons wins a competition to name the new swimwear with his entry “Speed on in your Speedos”. The Speedo name is born.
Fortitude launches the world’s first non-wool swimsuit in the figure-hugging ‘Racerback’ style, freeing wearers to swim faster.
The Swedish swimmer’s world record achievement establishes Speedo in the hearts and minds of swimmers and the general public.
The first heated swimming pools are introduced.
Despite her medal and world record, Claire Dennis’s Speedo swimsuit causes controversy for showing ‘too much shoulder’.
Los Angeles Olympics: Speedo-wearing Claire Dennis becomes the first Australian woman to set a swimming world record and win a gold medal.
Americans David Armbruster and Jack Sieg invent the double over-the-water arm recovery and dolphin kick respectively, forming the ‘butterfly’.
First topless men’s swimsuits are worn in America.
McRae forms strong links with Australia’s Surf Life Saving Association, an association which continues to this day.
Speedo’s popularity continues. Australia’s men’s swimming team wear Speedo, including a daring, bare-chested swim shorts design.
During World War Two, over 90% of output is given to the war effort, making knitwear, underwear, mosquito nets and signal flags.
The bikini is invented in Paris.
After the war, Speedo opens a new factory to cope with increased demand for swimsuits – spearheaded by the bikini.
Not yet commonly regarded as decent, the bikini is banned by Australian beach inspectors.
Speedo Knitting Mills (holdings) Ltd becomes a publicly traded company on the Sydney Stock Exchange.
Speedo’s relationship with the lifesaving community leads to the creation of a brand new style of men’s swimwear – the Speedo Watershort.
The Melbourne Olympic Games sees the introduction of the ‘flip-turn’, which helps swimmers change directions at the pool-end more quickly.
Sponsorship of the entire Australian team transforms Speedo into a world famous brand. The team sweep the board with 8 gold medals.
An established pioneer of swimwear innovations, Speedo launches a swimsuit in the new wonder fabric, Nylon.
The company is based in Nottingham, England – later to become home to Speedo’s International headquarters, in 2011.
Speedo begins exporting to the USA and forms a new international division to monitor markets in New Zealand, Japanese and South Africa.
44 countries compete in Speedo swimwear at the Mexico Olympic Games.
Of the 29 gold medallists, 27 wear Speedo suits. Meanwhile, 22 of the 23 world records are set by swimmers wearing Speedo.
Speedo is the first company to start producing swimwear made of nylon/elastane – still the most popular swimwear fabric today.
At the Munich Olympics, a staggering 21 out of 22 world records are broken by swimmers wearing Speedo, while 52 of 58 nations compete in Speedo swimwear.
Speedo is made official swimwear licensee for the 1976 Montreal Olympics, with 52 of 54 teams competing in the brand.
Swimmers finally allowed to wear goggles to compete.
By now, manufacturing and distribution licenses are held in Belgium, Italy and Spain, amongst other countries.
Speedo remains the go-to brand for elite swimmers, with 21 gold, 20 silver and 16 bronze Olympic medals going to Speedo athletes.
Speedo’s reputation for innovation continues with the new S2000 suit, designed to reduce drag by 15% compared to conventional swimwear fabric.
53% of all swimming medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics are won by swimmers wearing the newly-launched suit.
The trailblazing continues as Speedo launches Endurance, the world’s first chlorine-resistant fabric.
At the Atlanta Games, 77% of all swimming medals are won are by athletes wearing Speedo’s latest AQUABLADE swimsuits.
Hot on the heels of the S2000 is AQUABLADE – a new suit design with 8% lower surface resistance.
Benoit Leconte swims 5,600km across the Atlantic Ocean in 72 days, swimming up to 8 hours daily.
Speedo launches the pioneering FASTSKIN® swimsuit. Inspired by shark skin, it proves a hit with world-class athletes, including Michael Phelps.
At the Sydney 2000 Olympics, 13 of the 15 World Records and 83% of all swimming medals are won by swimmers wearing FASTSKIN suits.
Simon Whitfield wins gold wearing Speedo TriathELITE at Sydney 2000, as triathlon is contested at the Olympics for the very first time.
To mark its 75th year, fashion designer Melissa Odabash designs a limited edition anniversary collection, modelled by Naomi Campbell and Yasmin Le Bon.
Speedo begins a long-standing relationship supporting malaria charity World Swim Against Malaria Foundation.
Fastskin FS-PRO, the fastest, most powerful lightweight suit on the market, launches and 21 world records are broken within 6 months.
The world’s most technically advanced swimsuit, The LZR Racer, launches and is famously worn by Michael Phelps as he wins 8 golds at the Beijing Olympics.
Speedo’s FINA-compliant LZR Racer Elite, LZR Racer Pro and LZR Racer Comp launch, catering for grass roots to elite-level swimmers.
Alongside a new range of TriathELITE wetsuits, suits and goggles, Speedo launches the first triathlete-specific iPhone App.
Speedo collaborates with sustainable fashion designers ‘From Somewhere’ to create dresses using surplus Speedo LZR Racer suits.
The body-shaping swimwear provides the nearest thing to a made-to-measure swimsuit on the market.
HRH The Princess Royal officially opens Speedo House, the new global headquarters located in Nottingham’s NG2 business park.
More swimmers at the London 2012 Olympics wear Speedo than all the other brands combined.
At the London 2012 Olympic Games, 57% of all swimming medals are won by athletes wearing Speedo.
Speedo launches the Fastskin Racing System: cap, goggle and suit engineered to work as one efficient streamlined form, reducing drag.
Wearing Speedo, Michael Phelps wins his 22nd medal, becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time.
All of Michael Phelps’ Olympic medals between 2004 and 2012 were won whilst wearing Speedo suits.
The world’s most successful suit is reengineered with improved fabrics, powerful compression, new suit colours and a 40% increase in durability of water repellency.
Speedo launches its first body positioning swimwear range, designed to enhance technique and help swimmers achieve their fitness goals.