The popularity of the Australian Speedo brand racing brief has led to the use of its name to refer to any racing brief, regardless of the manufacturer. Swim briefs are also referred to as competition briefs, bathers, racer bathers, posing briefs, and racing briefs.
Swim briefs are made for fast competitive swimming with minimal drag. However, for sheer speed some of the full body Lycra swimsuits can make you go faster.
As they have no significant UV sun protection you better use them mainly in indoor pools and with a swim shirt. A matching swim cap is often used by lifesavers or water-ball players.
Apart from use for indoor pools,
swim briefs are practical as aquatic underwear, worn as part of a more comprehensive swimming outfit.
Most Lycra swimwear doesn't need a brief underneath, but some waterwear will fit more comfortably.
Like underwear briefs, swim briefs feature a "V-shape" front and a solid back providing form-fitting coverage. They are usually worn below the lower waist, but some of them can be worn at the waist. They are generally secured by thin banding at the upper thighs and either a drawstring around the waist or an elasticized waistband.
Swim briefs are most often made of a nylon and Spandex/Lycra composite, while some longer lasting suits are made from polyester and still others from other materials. Most swim briefs have a beige or white front lining made of a similar fabric.
Swim briefs are worn by professional and recreational athletes in many water sports. They are the standard for competitive diving and water polo, and are preferred in competitive swimming for the reduction of the water's drag on the swimmer.
Longer suits made from high-technology swimwear fabric, such as Speedo's LZR Racer, are sometimes worn instead of the swim brief.
Participants in sports that require a wetsuit such as water-skiing, scuba diving, surfing, and wake-boarding often wear swim briefs and rash vests as undergarments to the wetsuit.
The popularity of swim briefs as casual beachwear and swim wear varies throughout the world.
In many parts of Europe, South America and Asia, swim briefs are very popular among male swimmers and beach goers.
The roomier and less revealing pants or board shorts are the swimsuits preferred for recreation, although swim briefs are always seen to some extent. Reasons swim briefs are chosen include ease of movement in the water, sunshine exposure, quick drying time, and the ability to be worn under pants or shorts when swimming in clothes.
When you enjoy watersports where you often have to change into different clothes, like resistance swimming or water games, then briefs are useful underwear. You can wear all sorts of clothes on top and don't need to go to the changing rooms whenever you need different kit.
A special variety of briefs made for the triathlon features the racing suit's design
for the swimming portion of the race but also incorporates light padding in the crotch of the garment
for the bicycle portion of the race.
This is a lighter version of the chamois leather in cycling shorts,
to allow running more efficiently and to dry faster after the swim.