Irvine - Olympic swimming great Michael Phelps, on a comeback that could take
him to the Rio Games, is teaming up with a swimwear manufacturer to
develop a line of competitive swimming equipment.
his comeback in April after a 20-month retirement as a "free agent"
after his deal with longtime sponsor Speedo expired at the end of 2013.
Tuesday, as Phelps geared up for Wednesday's start of the US
championships in Irvine, California, Aqua Sphere announced that the
18-time Olympic gold medalist and coach Bob Bowman had signed on help
develop new products for the company.
It currently designs and
manufactures swimwear, wetsuits, eyewear, and accessories for
triathletes, open-water, and fitness swimmers.
Phelps said he
expects to be competing in a new suit made by the company next January.
Such new products must be approved by the world governing body FINA
before they can be used in competition.
"They've gone through all
the FINA approvals and we're just trying to work on some small things
and some sizing things that we found last week when we were working
together," said Phelps, who will wear Aqua Sphere goggles and cap at
this week's championships.
As for what brand of suit he'll race in
for the time being, Phelps declined to say, with Bowman adding the star
wasn't sticking with one make.
"He just decides on the day what he's going to wear," Bowman said.
Phelps said this new partnership gave him more input into design than his work with Speedo ever did.
and I really have never had the joint partnership and being able to
have so much input and give so much feedback on some of the small things
... and that is something that excites me," he said.
Phelps is one of the select global icons in all of sports, while oach
Bob Bowman is a true swimming mastermind," Todd Mitchell, business line
manager for Aqua Sphere said in a statement.