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National Geographic Swimsuits - 100 Years of Pictures
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Best of the Rest
Zoom in on our online-exclusive photo gallery and surf through the past 100 years of Swimsuits.
Fashion of the Times
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1900s
Fashion of the Times
Grosvenor Collection, circa 1919

This couple strolls the beaches of Belgium in the last word for aquatic fashion in the early 20th century.
In a Pinch
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1920s
In a Pinch
Photograph by H. Armstrong Roberts, July 1928

A tenacious crustacean defends itself from a collector’s net who posed for this photo in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. Today recreational crabbing in the area contributes to a billion dollar tourism industry.
Splish Splash
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1930s
Splish Splash
Photograph by Walter M. Edwards, circa 1934

Some forms of enjoyment are simply universal—like splashing around in a shower of cool water, provided by some indulgent firemen, on a hot summer day in Meriden, Connecticut.
Full Speed Ahead
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1940s
Full Speed Ahead
Photograph by J. Baylor Roberts, September 1949

Armed with facemasks, divers plunge down to depths of 30 feet (nine meters) in Japan’s Sagami Bay to harvest seaweed yielding agar-agar, a gelatinous substance used in medicine and food.
Life's a Beach
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1950s
Life’s a Beach
Photograph by Luis Marden, October 1959

"Beach Bums" take in the sun and scenery in Positano along Italy's Amalfi coast.
Coney's Day in the Sun
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1960s
Coney’s Day in the Sun
Photograph by Albert Moldvay, July 1964

Birthplace of the hot dog and large-scale amusement parks, Coney Island, New York, was a hotspot for millions looking for fun and sun on summer weekends. But today corporate sponsors invest in high-thrill-ride parks like Six Flags and Busch Gardens.
Playing Time
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1970s
Playing Time
Photograph by James L. Stanfield, June 1970

A board doubles as a bat for a sunbather playing ball on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, which today boasts some 82 miles (130 kilometers) of pristine beaches and a population that jumps from some 10,000 to more than 50,000 in the summer season.
Crowd Pleaser
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1980's
Crowd Pleaser
Photograph by Michael Nichols, July 1986

A performer gives an underwater show at Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida. Brainchild of Navy frogman and Tarzan stunt double Newton Perry, the show has lured passing motorists since 1947. “Your show is like our last rocket,” raved NASA scientist Wernher Von Braun in an early brochure, “it is out of this world.”
Gifts From the Sea
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1990s
Gifts From the Sea
Photograph by David Doubilet, December 1991

Fruit of the tides, pearls culled from the warm Indian Ocean capture the fading light on a beach near Broome, Australia. As the sun sets and rises, only time’s passage reveals whether an oyster will transform an irritant into a glowing pearl.
Portrait of an Athlete
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2000s
Portrait of an Athlete
Photograph by Sarah Leen, 2002

Posing at a Swimsuits cover shoot, a leaf does little to hide the muscular build of an Iron Man athlete who trains up to 40 hours a week, swimming, biking, and running. At age 18, Lokelani McMichael became the youngest woman to complete Hawaii’s grueling triathlon, which she has finished seven consecutive times.

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