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Doing laps with Athleta’s swim designer

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Team Athleta lives and breathes an active lifestyle. So it's no surprise that Athleta swim designer Erin Hartman is also a competitive swimmer who knows exactly what you need in high-performing swimwear. We caught up with Erin on the inspiration behind our latest performance Streamline swim collection and for tips on finding and caring for your perfect swimsuit.

What's the coolest thing about being a designer at Athleta?

Getting to be a part of a team that lives and breathes this brand every day. We are constantly striving to design products that bring innovation, fashion-forward trends and functional performance to our customers. Being a part of a design team that delivers this is truly special and unique.

Were you always a competitive swimmer? Do you still compete?

I've been swimming since age six, competing on a swim team in my youth, and eventually becoming a collegiate swimmer and water polo player. I still swim masters and race to this day!

As a swimmer, what you do you look for in the perfect suit?

A suit that fits tight, but does not chafe or cause any discomfort during a long workout. The last thing you want to worry about is a suit that cuts into your shoulders or causes any sort of pain. I also look for a suit with Lycra Xtra Life, which holds its shape better and stands up to chlorine, heat and sunscreen.

What was your biggest challenge in designing this suit?

Creating a performance fit lives up to the needs of a lap swimmer. My goal was to design a suit that would stay on without dragging in the water when pushing on or off the walls, and would hold up for long, enduring workouts. I even did several swim wear-tests during the design and fit process to make sure it felt amazing during my workouts.

[Ed note: Athleta wear-tests all of its products before they hit stores, from winter training gear to your new favorite tights for hitting the trails.]

What's different about this suit versus all the other performance suits out there?

The Streamline collection is special because it was designed especially for athletes, but also brings in elements of mesh and sleek feminine splicing details to give it that special, Athleta touch. I'm super happy with the way it performs, but I really love the way it looks.

Any good swimsuit care tips?

Always rinse your suit in cold water right after a swim. Chlorine water can be tough on a suit, even with Lycra Xtra Life. It's also always best to properly hang and dry it after a swim.

What are the three things you always have in your gym bag?

A suit, cap and goggles, of course!

Follow Athleta's Chi blog for more tips to match your healthy, active lifestyle.