When I competed in swim meets as a young cub, I donned a speedo (two if the race didn't matter), dove in and swam my little heart out. As I grew older, technology would introduce newer, faster versions of the speedo, like the paper suit, which was achingly uncomfortable in all the wrong places (and for the females would take two additional helpers to squeeze the racer into the suit) and would require that a swimmer begin the process of putting the suit on approximately one hour before the race.
In college, I remember the aquablade, which was just as uncomfortable as the paper suit, but had special little ridges that allowed water to pass more quickly or something like that.
Toward the end of my college career, full-bodied swimsuits emerged on the scene. Some suits were better for certain strokes (with grooves in different parts of the suit) and others boasted different types of technology. Fortunately, my swimming career was in its twilight years as these $100 suits burst onto the scene.
Well, it seems that Speedo has introduced a $550 suit, the LZR, that seems to be stirring up a bit of controversy. I highly doubt my parents would have ponied up $550 for a suit that lasts 5 races, but I'm sure that there are 12-year-olds who sport these swimsuits at age group meets in affluent neighborhoods all across the country.
Since I'll never compete for Olympic gold, I'm going to stick to the tried-and-true nylon water polo suit, a comfortable and long-lasting option. That is, once I decide to start swimming again.