Suit up!

By Andrea Kennedy

New York summers are no friend to outdoor exercise. You do enough sweating just walking to the mailbox. While air-conditioned studios offer a welcome respite, the pool is really the place to be. And that doesn’t mean you need trade in your cutest fitness fashion for a monochromatic tank. Indeed, one watery workout is about to get much more stylish.

Zumba Fitness and Speedo USA recently inked a deal to release a line of swimwear and accessories tailor-made for Zumba’s division of aquatic fitness classes, Aqua Zumba.

The Aqua Zumba by Speedo Collection marks the first child of Speedo, the world’s leading swimwear brand, and Zumba Fitness, the world’s largest branded fitness program that struck gold with its Latin flair and flashy gear. With such high achieving parents, this baby’s set to make it big.

“We’ve had great feedback from the Aqua Zumba instructors that have already seen the line, and we anticipate they’ll be snapping up pieces to wear,” says Giorgi Duvall, Speedo’s senior director of merchandising and design.

The remaining Aqua Zumba instructors will get a sneak peek of the new “pool party” performance apparel this month at the Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando, Fla. (And no, they’re not obligated to wear it.) The line will officially hit stores in early 2014.

The collection will include more than 20 pieces like suits, aquatic accessories, footwear and bags, and you don’t need to be a Zumba devotee to know that they’ll feature a vibrant palette straight out of South Beach. New fashion-forward features, however, like laser cutouts and fringe certainly will make waves.

“The laser cutouts and fringe pieces are not only on trend, but they are favorites of the Zumba community,” says Duvall, who noted that Zumba participants were their key inspiration. “The silhouettes and signature styling featured in the new Aqua Zumba by Speedo Collection are synonymous with the self-expressive look and feel of the Zumba brand.”

The line was designed to integrate seamlessly with Zumba’s other apparel offerings that include tops, bottoms, outerwear, footwear and accessories. And though it targets the key Aqua Zumba demographic of women ages 30 to 45, the collection will also offer items for men and can suit general swim enthusiasts as well. (That’s one way to make a splash at your next lap swim.)

For the perfect blend of form and function, Speedo worked with Zumba fin in fin.

“We collaborated with Zumba throughout the entire process, from design to testing,” Duvall says. “It was not only important that we captured the spirit of Aqua Zumba in the collection’s design, but that we made functional pieces that support and enhance the Aqua Zumba class experience. Zumba’s input was critical.”

Speedo is, of course, no stranger to working up new swim gear. It released the first non-wool suit in 1920 and nearly 90 years later launched the LZR RACER, one of the fastest suits in history, during Speedo’s 2008 Summer Olympic campaign with the help of a holographic Michael Phelps. (He wore it in the flesh when he set two world records.) We’re not saying the new duds will win you Zumba gold – if there’s not such a thing, there should be – but that their high-performance makeup is designed to enhance your workout and make you look good doing it.

“The new collection offers compression pieces for men and women, which is not only figure flattering, but also helps maximize the workout,” Duvall says. “We use Extra Life Lycra for long-lasting performance, and most of the women’s suits feature the Speedo Hydro Bra for enhanced support. The accessories are designed to provide resistance in the right places to help maximize the workout.”

So it’s fun, fashionable and made for a fitness party. If you’re hitting the water, what’s not to love? The fact that you have to wait to till the new year, we suppose. In the meantime, find pool party times nearby at, and don’t forget to plan with friends how you’re going to coordinate ensembles. And try not to get too hung up if you’re still stuck in a drab one-piece. As long as you’re in the water, whatever your wardrobe, at least there’s no threat of unsightly sweat.

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