Charlotte lab developing anti-microbial suits for U.S. rowing te - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Charlotte lab developing anti-microbial suits for U.S. rowing team

(NBC) -

The Olympics are just days away. After concerns were raised about water quality and safety in Rio, the U.S. rowing team began searching for new suits to help better protect them. When the order came to a Charlotte textile company at the last minute, it was a race to get them done in time.

"It was a lot of pressure, a lot of stress. There's a lot of things that could've gone wrong," said Keith Sheryl of Speizman International.

One slip up and Sheryl was warned the U.S. Olympic team would be showing up to the Rio games with nothing to wear. 

"We have no back up plan, there are no suits in the container. The only suits going into that container are the suits you haven't made yet," said Sheryl.

At Charlotte based Speizman International Seamless Development Lab, Sheryl usually has years to work on a new project like an FDA approved EKG wearable bluetooth shirt that took two and a half years to complete.

But this time, they have a record 45 days to design and deliver. 

The seamless unisuit looks like a second skin. 

"You see you have a seam here, I've eliminated that seam. Anytime you eliminate a seam you eliminate an aggravation," said Sheryl.

Sheryl wasn't just going for comfort when he made the suits. Rowers will face less than pristine waters when competing in Rio, where untreated sewage is allowed to flow into bays.

"I don't know for a fact but I would pretty much say that the US team will have the only anti-microbial suits," he said.

Absorbed into the suit's fibers, he added a layer of protection from bacteria lurking in the murky waters of Brazil. 

"We put a waterproofing agent on it so the suit is waterproof, so even though it is getting wet it doesn't absorb water so that being said it's almost virtually always dry. I like it all, I like the fact I made it," said Sheryl.

And surely he'll love it if it leads to Olympic gold.

The maker hopes his design will become the new standard for every collegiate rowing team in the country. 

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