By John Lingard
BRISBANE, Australia, March 9. WORLD distance king Grant Hackett will make a special trip to England next month to trial a full-arm version of the fastskin bodysuit designed to help him swim even faster at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs.
Hackett, who will work with designers and engineers at Speedo headquarters in Nottingham, has always believed the adidas bodysuit Ian Thorpe wears gives the multiple world record-holder a competitive edge.
Speedo has spent about 12 months trying to design a full-length version to suit Hackett. The 1500m world record-holder had found their products too restrictive across his shoulders in the long-distance event.
"I will test the new one on my way home from the world short course titles in Moscow [April 3-7]," he said.
"I want to make sure I feel comfortable before competing in it. There is a good chance I will wear it at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs."
Hackett wore an ankle-to-neck armless fastskin bodysuit when he slashed seven seconds from the 1500m world record of Kieren Perkins at the world titles in Japan in July. He will wear that at the Australian titles, which double as Games trials, starting in Brisbane on March 18.
"This is a very hard year, with four major meets [nationals, world short course, Commonwealth Games, Pan Pacs]," he said. "It is going to be difficult to get the right taper to swim well at all of them."
Coach Denis Cotterell doesn't want Hackett to have a huge taper for the world short course event because that would leave no time to increase his workload before the Games and Pan Pacs. The Pan Pacs are in Japan in August, a couple of weeks after the Games in Manchester.
Hackett said: "In terms of international competition, the Pan Pacs are more important but the Games are always huge for Australia.
"When it comes to swimming we are No. 1 by far in the Commonwealth. It doesn't matter what level Australia competes at, these days there is an expectation to be No. 1. We just phase that pressure out."
Hackett's plan is to contest the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m freestyle in Manchester.