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Phelps won't swim until bodysuits are banned

By unknown | Jul 30, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

ROME - No bodysuit ban, no Michael Phelps.

ROME - No bodysuit ban, no Michael Phelps.

That was the essence of what the outstanding swimmer's coach had to say on Tuesday after the sport's governing body confirmed that bodysuits will be outlawed next year - and not until April or May, later than expected.

Bob Bowman spoke immediately after Phelps lost a major race for the first time since 2005 to a relative unknown wearing a suit that will be illegal next year.

Bowman said the International Swimming Federation (Fina) should have banned bodysuits before these world championships because the value of world records was diminishing.

"Probably expect Michael not to swim until they (rule changes) are implemented," Bowman said. "I'm done with this. It has to be implemented immediately. The sport is in shambles right now and they better do something or they're going to lose their guy who fills these seats.

"That would be my recommendation to him, to not swim internationally - he might swim locally. But who knows. The mess needs to be stopped right now. This can't go on any further."

Phelps was upset by unheralded Paul Biedermann of Germany in the 200m freestyle final at the worlds.

Biedermann wore a 100% polyurethane Arena suit, while Phelps stuck with last year's LZR Racer from Speedo.

"We've lost all the history of the sport," Bowman said. "Does a 10-year-old boy in Baltimore want to break Paul Biedermann's record? Is that going to make him join swimming?

"It took Michael from 2003 to 2008 to go from 1:46 to 1:42,9 and this guy's done it in 11 months. That's an amazing training programme. I would love to know how that works."

Biedermann clocked 1min:42,00sec, which beat Phelps's world mark of 1:42,96 from the Beijing Olympics. It was Phelps's first loss at a worlds or Olympics since the 2005 worlds in Montreal.

Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals in Beijing last year, started training with Bowman in Baltimore when he was 11.

The 22-person Fina bureau on Tuesday upheld last week's decision by the larger congress to restrict males to suits that go from the waist to the top of the knees, while female suits cannot go past the shoulders or beyond the knees.

Suit materials will be restricted to "textiles", a definition that will be determined by a scientific committee. Fina also announced specific standards for buoyancy, thickness and permeability. The rules will be given to swimsuit companies by September 30. - Sapa-AP


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