Klim breaks Commonwealth record in new Fastskin swimsuit

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The Independent Online

Wearing the controversial Speedo Fastskin neck-to-ankle bodysuit, Michael Klim bettered his own Commonwealth 100 meters freestyle record today at a swim meet at the Sydney Olympic aquatic center in Australia.

Klim shaved 0.01 of a second off the mark when he clocked 48.72 seconds in a heat at the New South Wales Institute of Sports meet.

He later returned to win the final in a slower time after multiple world record holder Ian Thorpe, who wore a similar Adidas bodysuit in the heats, withdrew from the final.

Klim was the second topflight Australian swimmer to test the Speedo-designed Fastskin in race conditions over the weekend.

Grant Hackett, world champion at 1,500 meters freestyle, wore the Fastkin at a meet on Saturday on the Gold Coast, in Queensland state, when he beat dual Olympic gold medalist Kieren Perkins in the 400 meters.

The result prompted Perkins to say the bodysuits should be outlawed because they appeared to artificially aid performance.

"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," said Perkins.

So far, only Speedo-sponsored swimmers have the Fastskin suits.

But the company's marketing director Tim Lees said all competitors at the Australian Olympic trials in May would be in possession of a Fastskin suit.

"I think (Perkins) was saying he can't get his hands on a suit fast enough and so are the other swimmers," he said, adding that manufacturers had measured 1,000 suits and expected to have them ready by April.

The Australian Olympic Committee has applied for a test case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport to determine the legality of the bodysuits.

FINA, the international swimming federation, has sanctioned the swimsuits and has refused to participate in the CAS process because it gave approval for the Speedo suits before they were launched last week.

After wearing the bodysuit, Klim said it was a part of sporting development.

"Sport has to evolve and it's the young people like myself and

"(Perkins) has been trying to wear the suit and he's also been wearing a bodysuit, a different brand, so I think he's going to come around as well ... in the sprint events, I think pretty much everyone will be wearing them."

Lees said embracing new technology was crucial in modern sport.

"Technology is everywhere, so why should we be primitive in a sport while everything else is moving forward?" he said.

"This is part of swimming today. We're seeing this kind of evolution take place in lots of different sports - and we really have to appreciate that this is an ongoing process of evolution."