Swimsuit ban welcomed by British team's top coach

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The Independent Online

British swimming's performance director Michael Scott is looking forward to the sport moving on after a vote to ban controversial non-textile swimsuits – but he will have to wait until next year.

Fina, swimming's world governing body, voted yesterday to outlaw the polyurethane suits which have seen world-record times fall dramatically.

But the ban will not come into effect until 2010, leaving competitors at the World Championships, which start tomorrow at the Foro Italico here in Rome, in an ethical no-man's land.

Questions about the suits were banned from yesterday's British press conference so the likes of the double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington and medallists David Davies and Jo Jackson had to look to next week's event without referring to what is the biggest issue in the sport.

In tomorrow's 400 metres freestyle, Adlington will wear the partial polyurethane Speedo LZR suit while Jackson will opt for all-polyurethane Adidas Hydrofoil.

Germany's double Olympic title-holder Britta Steffen plans to don the Hydrofoil in which she slashed the 100m freestyle world record despite saying it should be banned.

Scott addressed the issue afterwards and claimed the swimmers had been talking about it "ad nauseum" and "now we're here in Rome it is about time we talked about why we are here and that is the athletes".

He said: "I am totally delighted for a return to textiles. The sport will regain its credibility with a lot of people. It is the only way to go. If my understanding is true then from January 1st it is back to textiles and today is the day we start to move forward in swimming again."

Adlington's decision to don the Speedo LZR is one about which she has previously been vocal and the 20-year-old has acknowledged she may be at a disadvantage. She insisted she was not focusing on medals but instead on performing at her optimum. "So if I do a personal best and come last I will be happy," she said.

The Mansfield swimmer has decided to continue with Speedo in her individual races and she will also do so in the relay where GB may be up against teams containing four swimmers who all wear the newer suits.

Scott added: "Rebecca is entirely comfortable in the Speedo and she is very confident. Suits come down to an individual choice, they come down to body type, and you have got to look at the distance and the stroke so it's not a simplistic thing to say that suit X is not good. It is freedom of choice."