Swimming: 'Does my bum look fast in this?' ask British team
As the British Championships began here last night with Olympic places up for grabs and 17-year-old Fran Halsall in the spotlight, swimsuits as much as the athletes inside them remained the sport's hottest talking point.
Halsall anchored Great Britain's all-teenage 4x100m medley relay gold medalists at the European Championships last week, and was in action in the 100m freestyle heats last night. Berths in the relay squads offer her most realistic chance of Games medals this summer though she is a prospect on her own for 2012.
As for the suits: LZR Racer or TechFit PowerWeb? The first is made by Speedo in association with Nasa. It has no seams, does not absorb water, and has been worn by athletes who have broken an astonishing 17 world records since it was launched last month.
The second is made by adidas, and incorporates the "compression technology" used in figure-hugging gear worn by sprinters such as Tyson Gay with "thermoplastic urethane powerbands". In layman's terms, those are strips of shiny material that cradle muscles, and working in unison with them, act as springs.
Halsall yesterday endorsed the adidas suit, talking with what seemed like genuine pride about how she and other British swimmers had actually helped develop it. With involvement comes genuine belief, it seems.
Only time will tell whether a particular suit – or rather the confidence it inspires – makes a difference. The LZR records have been set mostly by Australians, who happen to be among the world's best swimmers. And even one of them, Libby Tricket (née Lenton), who set new 100m and 50m freestyle marks last week, said over the weekend that to give excess credit to the suit was "ridiculous". "[The LZR] is an evolution of the technology that we've already had. It's an Olympic year and a lot of these world records have stood for a while and should be broken."
British Swimming is sponsored by Speedo, but the British Olympic team will be sponsored by adidas. Britain's swimmers have a free choice over what gear to wear in China.
For the first time, this week's finals will be in the mornings. That will be the case too in Beijing, because of the demands of American television.
Britain has already pre-qualified three swimmers for the Games: David Davies in the 1,500m freestyle, Liam Tancock in the 100m backstroke and Kirsty Balfour in the 200m breaststroke.
Halsall and her relay team will be seeking good times this week to fuel hopes of an Olympic final, or even a medal. Both the women's and men's 200m freestyle swimmers will be fighting for individual Olympic berths as well as relay team places, where medals are more likely.
Mark Foster, 37, will draw attention in this morning's 50m free heats, four years after controversially being left out of Britain's Athens squad.
Latest in Sport
Chelsea vs Manchester United: Jose Mourinho dismisses United injury worries, saying 'they have an amazing squad'
Aaron Hernandez: American Football in the dock as NFL star player's murderous double life is revealed
Chelsea vs Manchester United: Why Blues are the least popular team in the league
Arsene Wenger compares talk of Jurgen Klopp replacing him at Arsenal to a 'circus'
Chelsea vs Manchester United combined XI: Thibaut Courtois or David De Gea? Juan Mata or Willian? Who makes our team?
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...