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Swimmers face tough choices on high-tech suits

MICHAEL Phelps doesn't plan to experiment with any new suits at next week's United States championships. Other swimmers aren't so confident they should stick with what they've worn in the past.

Last week's ruling by FINA to approve more high-tech suits leaves them with some decisions to make.

Five-time Olympian Dara Torres expects to try different suits and make a last-minute decision. US team coach Mark Schubert said he would advise swimmers to experiment with various options and choose what they feel most comfortable with.

The problem for many elite swimmers is their primary income comes from the suit manufacturer sponsoring them - and they may believe that puts them at a disadvantage.

"If you do wear what you think is the fastest suit and then you break a contract, it's a very, very delicate, tough situation," Torres said on Wednesday, adding that other swimmers have talked to her about the dilemma.

Phelps told The Associated Press he's sticking with Speedo.

"It's the only suit I've ever worn in my life," he said on Wednesday. "I'm confident that I have the best suit on, and when I stand up on the block that's what I'm thinking."

The introduction of Speedo's NASA-designed LZR Racer suit 16 months ago sparked a flood of world records - and compelled some swimmers with contracts with other companies to compete in the LZR. Now swimmers are wondering if newer suits by other manufacturers may be even faster.

The Jaked 01 and Arena X-Glide suits in particular are generating much buzz - and both are approved to be used at the US championships.

"It does take away from some things," Phelps said. "A lot of swimmers are going to put up a lot of great times this summer, and a lot of it is going to be headlined by the suits. I just think it's not fair to other athletes and the athletes out there performing."


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