Controversial 'shark' swimsuit made available
Speedo International is making its controversial neck-to-ankle swimsuit available to "all competitive swimmers" - even if they're not sponsored by the company.
The announcement comes two days after Australian two-time Olympic gold medalist Kieren Perkins complained that the "Fastskin" suits - which mimic shark skin and are said to improve performance by 3 per cent - weren't available to everybody.
The world governing body of swimming, FINA, has approved the suit, although the Australian Olympic Committee has filed for a hearing in the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sports to test the bodysuit's legality.
"It's not just Speedo (sponsored) swimmers, the suit will be available to all Olympic and (reserve team) swimmers who wish to get one," Speedo spokeswoman Gina Curry said.
She said the Nottingham, England-based company was producing 6,000 suits for distribution by the third week of April. Speedo said the suits would be available "free of charge."
"As far as we know there is still the argument in Australia but it's FINA-approved and unless something happens in the meantime it will be completely legal for the Olympics," Curry said.
FINA honorary secretary Gunnar Werner said Speedo and other swimwear manufacturers had agreed to make their suits available to sponsored and non-sponsored swimmers.
"We have no interest in going back on the rules we have," Werner said. "So far FINA is satisfied with the rules it has set up. We have looked at them (Speedo suits) and there is no reason not to accept these suits. We've found the suits did not violate the FINA guidelines."
Werner said the fabric used in Speedo's new suit was "basically the same" as the material used in Speedo bodysuits worn at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He said FINA was convinced the fabric did not aid buoyancy, although some swimmers have said it changes the body angle in the water.
"The only difference is the legs are longer and the arms are covered," Werner said. "Nobody reacted against them at the time."
Speedo claims the new suit is a "significant development" from the older "Aquablade" suit.
The "Fastskin" suit was worn Sunday for the first time in an official competitive meet. Australian Michael Klim clocked 48.72 seconds to better his won Commonwealth 100-meter record by 0.01 second.
Grant Hackett also wore the suit and beat Perkins at 400 meters, which promoted Perkins to react.
"As it stands it is impossible to get a Speedo suit and it's going to create a situation where there's those that have and those that have not and I don't believe that's fair or right in this sport," Perkins said.
The "Fastskin" suit will hit the worldwide retail market Sept. 1 and cost £70 - £200.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal Champions League fixtures: Gunners to open with Dinamo Zagreb trip, plus daunting back-to-back Bayern Munich ties
Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City: £58m deal hits the rocks as Wolfsburg admits they're 'in no rush' to sell former Chelsea midfielder
Pogba to Chelsea: Blues set to smash British spending record with £70m midfielder and £34m John Stones
Manchester City face another struggle to make an impact in Champions League
Paul Pogba to Chelsea: Transfer news live - John Stones latest, Gareth Bale and Neymar to Manchester United, Edinson Cavani to Arsenal
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...
£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...