The great swimsuit competition pitting Speedo against other high-end manufacturers is over.
FINA, the international governing body of swimming, has decided that Speedo's LZR Racer suit, worn by Michael Phelps of Rodgers Forge, Katie Hoff of Towson and many of the world's best swimmers, is legal under its regulations. Since the suit's introduction in February, 22 of 23 world records broken have been by swimmers wearing the water-resistant, high-tech garment, leading other swimsuit companies and some swimming officials to question whether the LZR should be allowed at elite competitions.
In a statement released yesterday from the World Swimming Championships in Manchester, England, FINA reiterated its approval of the Speedo suit and noted that it will accept recommendations from manufacturers to improve testing methods. Speedo has pledged to have 3,000 suits ready for the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in June and July.
After the meeting with manufacturers, FINA said it had "confirmed that all the swimsuits approved so far are complying with the specifications."
Speedo critics cite illegal levels of buoyancy and call it "technological doping" because the suit combines a polyurethane layer with a layer of normal fabric. But FINA's rules say "different fabrics can be used in one swimsuit."