O’Neill Keen to Try Long Suit


Wednesday 24 May 2000 – AAP

Having beaten Mary T. Meagher’s world record fair and square, Susie O’Neill wants to find a suitable full-length bodysuit to wear at the Olympics. O’Neill bettered Meagher’s 200 m butterfly mark last week in a costume cut off at the shoulders and knees to avoid aspersions being cast on her achievement.

She wore a similar suit when she won a gold medal in that event at the Atlanta Olympics. “I didn’t want people to think the suit swam two minutes five seconds, but it was also that I didn’t want to think it, either,” O’Neill said.

Neck-to-ankle suits are less helpful to butterfly swimmers than freestylers such as Ian Thorpe, but O’Neill plans to squeeze into one in September anyway.

“They take a bit of getting used to; they’re very tight around the chest and can make it hard to breathe,” she said.

“I didn’t think it was the right thing to do to wear one at the trials but now they’re over, I may as well experiment and get the fastest suit I can. It wouldn’t make sense not to for the Olympics.”

Thorpe broke the world 200 and 400 m freestyle records at the Australian trials in a full-length suit, while Kieren Perkins wore one for the 1500 m freestyle final. Perkins said he still thought the suits should be banned by world body FINA because they enhanced performance. “But I’m not going to get beaten by somebody because I’m not wearing one,” he said.

That is the philosophy O’Neill will take into the Games. – AAP

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