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Swimmers To Use ‘Fastskin’ Bodysuit

March 23, 2000

LONDON (AP) _ A controversial neck-to-ankle swimsuit promising faster times is expected to be worn for the first time in official competition this weekend in Australia.

Speedo International, maker of the ``Fastskin″ suit, gave the go-ahead Thursday for Australian swimmers Michael Klim and Grant Hackett to unveil the new swimwear Sunday.

Klim will swim in Sydney and Hackett will compete in Queensland.

Speedo spokeswoman Gina Curry said the company decided to launch the suit Sunday ``rather than hold off closer to the Olympics″ partly because of the publicity _ and controversy _ generated over the past 10 days.

The Australian Olympic Committee has asked for a hearing in the Court of Arbitration for Sports prior to Australia’s Olympic trials in May.

The bodysuits have been sanctioned by FINA, the world governing body of swimming. But the AOC wants a ruling to ensure swimmers who wear the suits in the Olympics are not subject to legal challenges from swimmers who don’t have them available because of sponsorship deals.

Speedo has agreed to participate in the hearing.

Fields said most swimmers at the recent world short-course championships in Athens, Greece, where 15 world records were set, had worn bodysuits.

Speedo unveiled its ``Fastskin″ bodysuit in Athens, saying it reduces glide time by 7.5 percent.

Fields said the suit complied fully with FINA rules, which prohibit any device which aids a swimmer’s speed, buoyancy or endurance during competition.

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