The last swimsuit manufacturer that allowed their athletes to wear whatever was Nike and Nike left the swimsuit market soon after.
Why is Speedo doing this?
I don't think it is unreasonable to assume that Speedo's potential capitulation may be a signal that they are abandoning the LZR and don't want to throw anymore money at it.
Again this is an assumption but for Speedo to allow their athletes to make such a bold endorsement of competing suits can't be taken lightly. Especially with names like Phelps, Torres, et al.
Here is what AP had to say:
"... Speedo is discussing whether to allow swimmers it sponsors to wear rival manufacturers' new high-tech suits.
"The brand is continuing to evaluate the situation internally," Speedo vice president for marketing Craig Brommers said in a statement Tuesday. ..."
Deep down I am thinking that Speedo is going to write the LZR off since there is less than 6-months left in the year. I also believe, and you can call it a personal bias that I have, that FINA "feels their pain" and will hook them up in 2010 by wiping out several speedsuit companies with the stroke of a pen.
While Australian swimmers, coaches and Mr. Craig Lord will cheer this news, swimming will have fewer events and lower paid athletes as a result.
Above is a shot of world record holder in the 200 breastroke, Rebecca Soni, wearing a Speedo LZR at the 2009 TYR SwIm Meet of Champions.