About Us

SwimEEZY, a history of "firsts"!!

SwimEEZY began in South Africa as a swimming aid for kids in 1993. The inventor, Sheelagh Constan-Tatos, used her daughter Leah (3 yrs old at the time) to develop a swimming aid that worked, and more importantly that children were comfortable in and actually liked to wear.

SwimEEZY uses a closed-cell floation foam (approved for use in life jackets) located around the shoulder. The foam gives buoyancy through the swimsuit with total freedom and arm and leg movement. The floating position is also one that inspires confidence in the child and allows them quickly to progress toward unaided swimming.

Products in those days were limited to inflatables and military-looking hardware, that at best were uncomfortable, and some, as Sheelagh believed, downright dangerous.  Furthermore swimming aid means the product should help teach the child to learn how to swim. To merely float them ontop of the water was not going to help the child develop the skills to learn how to swim. Many manufacturer's designed their products with flotation around the torso, all good if the child already knows something called "water balance" but pretty dangerous if they dont. Water Balance is a skill, much like that you develop while learning to ride a bike. Children have an especially difficult job as their heads, in relation to the rest of their body, is large and heavy, giving them an inherently unstable shape in water. In order to keep their head out of the water they need to firstly develop the necessary strength in their necks to support their head properly, and then so assist themselves  through relaxed leg and arm motion, to be buoyant in the water.

This is why SwimEEZY is not recommend for children under 2. Many of our competitors simply make their products in smaller sizes and expect them to work. For the reasons noted above this does not work and can be dangerous.

The BOPPA Buoyancy aid for the under 2 age group was subsequently developed in 1995 by Sheelagh to fill the 0-2 age group need for a buoyancy aid. In this market sector Sheelagh again looked at what babies needed in a flotation device.

Firstly, babies should never be unsupervised around water. To design a foolproof product that a parent can leave their child and be 100% sure if cannot drown is to make a product so bulky and cumbersome that the child would not want to wear it. Many lifejackets and PFD's in this size category are just that. You buy them only to leave them in your boat's locker, or pool storage bin, never to be used, because your child screams blue murder if its put on them. So, BOPPA had to be designed to be comfortable.

Secondly, if a baby relaxes in the water with the BOPPA on it had to have a neutral, on the back, floating position.

Finally, babies dont have a lot of neck strength, so BOPPA had to address that.

While the BOPPA is not sold as a life-saving device, life jacket or PFD as sometimes people call it, it is a buoyancy or flotation aid

If you have a yacht or boat what is the biggest fear if your child falls in?  That it disappears and you cannot quickly rescue it...right? BOPPA keeps the child on the surface enabling quick rescue by an adult.

So by 1995 SwimEEZY had 2 products the SwimEEZY and the BOPPA.

These ranges were extended into sun protection, a very important issue that was gaining popularity in the 1990's with the increasing prevalence of skin cancers. SwimEEZY was not the pioneer of the sunsuit, but certainly one of the first manufacturers to do so. Most manufacturers in those days began with good intentions, to provide a quality product that worked at a reasonable cost. 

This worked well for a few years until the mass discounters became involved and looked, as they always do, to cut costs. To cut the cost of a sun suit is simple, use cheaper and less fabric. Cheaper fabric meant that the endurance of the product went down, the sun protection also went down unbeknowing to the customer. Its easy with a stretch fabric Lycra (or Spandex as its known in the trade) to use less but when your intention is sun protection the more the fabric stretches the less damaging UV it will block. The result is there are many sun protection brands that do not give your child the sun protection you are paying for.

SwimEEZY refused to do this, and lost a lot of business as a result. That was hard to bear but the correct decision. The long term reputation of the brand name "SwimEEZY" was more important than short-term profitability. And then came the Chinese, with chainstores such as Pick & Pay and MassMart (SA's equivalent of Walmart, and now owned by Walmart) buying Chinese made, dare we say 'rubbish', while killing local South African industry.  As a result South Africa, where we swim almost 10 months of the year, now does not have a single Lycra/Spandex factory making the fabric that sports and swimwear manufacturers use!!

SwimEEZY has since expanded into other related sportswear markets, under it's SLICK brand - focussed on swimming, cycling and triathlon.

The SLICK brand was born in 1997 due to Sheelagh's husband interest in cycling. Again the company looked at what was available in the market and the biggest issue was comfort - the chamois lining of cycle shorts in those days was pretty uncomfortable, and most manufacturer's chose to use open-cell foams that did little to improve comfort as they had to be very thick to work, but worked beautifully as sponges, soaking up sweat, causing chaffing and saddle sores. SLICK went a different route. With SwimEEZY experience in floation foam we started experimenting with closed cell foam for cycle short chamois padding. This worked much better as you could use a thinner piece of foam to give you the same comfort, and it did not absord a single drop of moisture. Closed cell foams do not breath so that was simple we perforated it. The end result was an extremely slim but comfortable pad, which later was developed into a moulded pay which enables you to put thicker foam in some critical areas and also help the pad bend and adapt to the body's shape easily.

SLICK was also the first South African cyclewear brand to use flat lock stitching in its designs, something that is now a standard in our industry.

SLICK now has a wide range of apparel, all made in South Africa with primarily Italian fabrics. Technical fabrics of the best quality and functionality ensure SLICK products offer the performance of the world's top brands at a lower cost, with shipping options to wherever in the world you may live!

The policy of company remains one to manufacture locally (Africa needs employment) and to consciously Support Local Where Possible and Boycott China...yes we avoid Chinese products like the plague. All SwimEEZY's inputs are sourced from the EU (mainly Italy) and other countries, but not China. China has a poor human rights record in their own country, and they are extending their influence into Africa as their economy needs more and more raw materials to function. Chinese bribe their way into African dictatorships, set up sweat shops with equally dismal human rights records, and rape the land with unsustainable mining and industrial activities.

So, our swimwear and sportswear brands are now becoming political statements? Well why not? ...at least we sleep at night! ...and if we offend our Chinese customers, well tough luck mate, you started it!

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