MODESTY BECOMES THEM
Ronza Othman waited until night to dip in the pool on family vacations, swimming with female relatives only after the men had gone to sleep.
She's a Muslim who wears a headscarf and traditional dress, and even the most tame swimsuits didn't fit into her code of modesty.
But a design created by a Muslim woman with a love of scuba diving offered 25-year-old Othman, an attorney from south suburban Burbank, the opportunity to do something she never thought possible: swim in public.
She replaced her typical wading outfit of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt with a full Splashgear swimsuit -- pants, top and head covering -- before cruising to the Caribbean in March.
"I never thought I'd be swimming in the ocean, and I got to do that," she said. "I've swam in private before with just women around, but this was actually kind of liberating."
Splashgear isn't the only business offering floral-print swimsuits with sleeves, skirts, high necks and long shorts or pants.
A handful of Internet-based businesses are finding a lucrative market in alternative swimwear, selling thousands of suits a year to women by advertising over religious networks ranging from Mormons to Muslims.