At the age of 6, Annette Kellerman was forced to wear painful steel braces to support a disability in her legs. She took to swimming as a way to build strength and by age 13 the braces were off. This led to a career in the water from mermaid acts to high-dive shows. Some even credit Kellerman with inventing the sport of synchronized swimming.
In the early 1900's women were expected to perform all these acts in pantaloons and dress combinations until Kellerman began wearing a fitted one-piece. In 1907, she was arrested for indecency, but she persevered and today we have Kellerman to thank for functional women's swimwear.