Since the launch of the MP brand earlier this year with the XPRESSO competitive swimming suit, Michael Phelps, Bob Bowman, and Aqua Sphere have collaborated to design an expanded line of premier competitive swim gear and training equipment, available January 2016.
With their vast expertise, Phelps and Bowman had very clear ideas about what should be improved in the world of competitive swim gear. Aqua Sphere relied on them to drive the product development priorities and provide feedback throughout the process in order to convert those ideas into working products. “It was exciting to see Michael compete at such a high level at the U.S. National Championships in August. Wearing the MP XPRESSO suit, he produced three of the fastest FINA legal textile times in history,” said Todd Mitchell, USA Business Line Manager for Aqua Sphere.
The new XCEED goggle leverages Aqua Sphere’s patented curved lens providing perfect clarity and expanded field of vision. “With these goggles, you’re getting almost 180-degree vision. That peripheral sight is really important when you’re racing,” said Bowman. “It allows the swimmer to sight walls and the competition without altering their head position.” Engineered with Exo-Core technology, the goggle combines two materials for maximum performance while offering stability and durability. The ultra soft anatomic Softeril gaskets provide a watertight seal with an exceptionally comfortable fit.
Phelps and Bowman worked with Aqua Sphere engineers to incorporate hydrodynamics into the design of the new X-O swim cap to maximize drag reduction, especially along the hairline and along the back of the head. With integrated, dual-density stretch zones, stabilizing ribs, and internal dimpling, the cap offers a sleek and secure fit. “The swim cap is very important to a swimmer’s performance,” said Bowman. “We’ve created a cap that’s going to provide maximum control of the hair with a minimum of wrinkles for the most streamlined movement through the water.”
In 2016, Phelps will integrate the new XCEED goggle and X-O swim cap, along with the XPRESSO suit, into his complete racing kit. He will train using the entire line of MP swim gear heading into the 2016 Olympics.
“I finally have a complete kit that’s perfect for me,” said Phelps. “When I’m competing outside, I’ve always had a hard time sighting the lane lines. With the XCEED goggle, I can see two or three lanes over. The visibility is insane. I’ve never worn anything like it. And the cut of the X-O cap is perfect. It doesn’t ride, it doesn’t wrinkle. It’s not completely over my ears, so I can hear.”
The new 2016 MP line also includes training gear such as suits, snorkels, fins, and paddles, all developed to support the coaching and training best practices support by Phelps and Bowman.
The MP line of training suits meets the durability demands of competitive swimmers. Made of a chlorine-proof fabric, the suit’s elasticity remains the same even after 240 hours in the pool. In addition, it has a long-lasting resistance to sweat and sunscreen. Swimmers will enjoy not only the technologically-advanced features, but the visual appeal of the designs as well.
Another exciting addition to the MP line is the Focus swim snorkel, one of Bowman’s favorite training tools. Training with snorkels increase cardiovascular strength and lung capacity, but they have historically been cumbersome. The Focus snorkel has a unique, low-profile, hydrodynamic tube that reduces drag and eases breathing. It comes in two sizes and has an adjustable lightweight, cushioned head bracket to ensure a comfortable, stable fit. “Aqua Sphere has completely eliminated the movement found in other snorkels by improving the way it sits on the head as well as the shape of the snorkel itself,” said Bowman. “And, the most important thing, I think, is the comfort of the silicone mouthpiece and how the mouth actually sits on the mouthpiece instead of having to hold it with your teeth, which reduces tension in the jaw and neck.”
To help swimmers isolate their kicking and stroke training, the MP line has added the Alpha Pro Fin and the Strength Paddle. Both products were designed to work with the body’s natural mechanics. The fins’ asymmetrical design allows for a natural kicking motion while the short blade mimics race pace kicking tempo. They are 70% lighter than traditional swim fins, improving both comfort and body position and their rigid foam construction ensures enhanced propulsion.
The structure of the Strength Paddle mimics the natural hand position and the vents and palm risers enhance the feel for the water. They are available in three sizes and the ergonomic wrist strap and finger loop are fully adjustable, durable, and streamlined.
“I’m very pleased with the final engineering of both the fins and the paddles,” said Bowman. “Both allow the swimmer to train using natural movements, in a natural position, which was one of the most important goals we had going into this collaborative process with the team at Aqua Sphere.”
“The 2016 line of MP products builds off of the successful launch of the brand in April 2015,” said Mitchell. “We look forward to the continued introduction of innovative technical swim products to serve competitive swimmers’ needs.”