In Swimming History:
Annette Kellerman - Role model, feminist and championship swimmer!
There is no doubt that swimsuit styles have changed over the years and will continue to change as societal values and ideas change and evolve. In the 19th and early 20th century, most bathing attire could be described as modest to say the least. At that time it resembled a head to toe dress and was certainly not very functional for fitness swimming!
It wasn't until around 1910, that swimwear started to take on a slightly more fitted look - and much of that is thanks to Annette Kellerman. Change came slowly as traditional values were challenged during this time, but Kellerman challenged the status quo. In 1907 on a beach in Boston, she was arrested on the charge of indecent exposure for wearing a knee suit that showed her exposed arms, legs and neck. In an interview Kellerman remarked of the event, "We were all terribly shocked, especially my father… But the judge was quite nice and allowed me to wear the suit if I would wear a full-length cape to the water's edge.”
Styles have changed, trends have come and go and reappear again. But today most folks wear what they want to wear, what they feel confident in, and what makes them feel good in the water regardless of body shape. Kellerman may have been credited as the first female swimmer to wear a form fitting one-piece swimsuit and inspiring a generation of female swimmers, but she was an incredible athlete, winning the 1902 New South Wales ladies' 100 yards 1:22 and the 1600m 33:49!