All but two of the 25 records broken in swimming events at the Beijing Olympics were broken wearing the Speedo LZR Racer.
Now London 2012 promises to be just as challenging for timekeepers, as Speedo's new Fastskin3 swimwear system claims it will make sportsmen and women even faster.
The company's full body high-tech suits were banned in 2009 - due to technological doping. So they have designed a new system which covers less of the body but incorporates a cap, goggles and a suit.
The components all work together to streamline a swimmer's body.
Speedo claims that swimmers will gain an extra 11 per cent in oxygen economy by wearing the system - allowing them to swim stronger for longer.
It also reduces skin friction drag by 2.7 per cent and full body drag force by 5.7 per cent.
Dr Tom Waller, head of Speedo’s Aqualab development laboratory, said that although the three components would not work better than alternatives on the market when used individually, when used together they will make swimmers go faster.
'We hope this will result in new records being broken,' Dr Waller told The Telegraph.
'We believe we’ve created the opportunity for athletes to really reach their maximum potential.
'Every athlete is different and it’s impossible to predict but we believe we’ve taken a step on in terms of being able to shape their body, and give them that confidence and stability in the water.'
Making three components that work in unison is a new approach for racing swimwear and has already attracted the attention of the professionals including 16-time Olympic medallist Michael Phelps.
'We anticipate Phelps will wear the full system and we’re really excited about what he’s going to be able to achieve wearing it,' Dr Waller said.
British swimmers including Rebecca Adlington and Liam Tancock have also been working with Speedo for three years to help refine the system.
CGI 3D technology was used to produce a cap that exactly fits the contours of the head and face.
The flat, cat's-eye shaped goggles are the most visibly innovative part of the Fastskin3 system though, their shape minimises the chance of goggle movement during a race.
Fastskin3 already has one celebrity fan: 'It makes me feel completely at one with the water,' said Phelps.
'I feel confident, I feel comfortable and I feel good knowing I am wearing the fastest elements.'
Ben Titley, who coached the GB women’s team in Beijing, thinks the system is unlikely to have the same impact as the LZR Racer on times, but that those who wear it will be at an advantage.
He told The Telegraph: 'From a performance point of view athletes wearing the system at London 2012 are going to be in the best placed position to take advantage of the technical advances made in the last year.
'If someone doesn’t want to wear the system it’s their choice. All Speedo have done is designed something that I believe is the best on the market.
'Beijing was a quantum step forward. The LZR Racer was probably the most iconic image of the Games and a lot of hype was made of it. But with the current regulations there are limits to what can be done.'
The LZR Racer was worn by 89 per cent of the swimming medal winners in Beijing, including 94 per cent of the gold medals.
The winner of every men's event wore the suit and 23 out of the 25 world records broken, were achieved by swimmers competing in the LZR suit.
At the 2009 World Aquatics Championships, 43 more records were broken as other manufacturers caught up with Speedo's technology - but this eventually led to full body suits being banned.
When he LZR Racer was launched in 2008, three world records were broken within a week.
The Fastskin3 goes on sale today - and Fina, the International Swimming Federation, has approved the system which can be used in meets from January 1.
But we will have to wait until the Australian and British Olympic trials in March to see if Speedo again leaves its rivals in its wake
By Lauren Paxman