INDUSTRY NEWS: Hoff Signs Long-Term Deal with SPEEDO

LOS ANGELES, California, January 12. SPEEDO, the top-selling swimwear brand in the world, today announced the longest athlete contract in the brand’s history with 16-year-old American swim star Katie Hoff. The versatile American-record holder earned three gold medals at the 2005 FINA World Championships, making her an early gold medal favorite for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Hoff trains at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club., the same club that produced Olympic superstar Michael Phelps.

The historic long-term contract, which will run through the 2016 Olympics, is designed to help Hoff develop her talent as she looks to become one of the most multi-dimensional and decorated swimmers in history.

“The 2005 season was a fantastic year for me,” said Hoff. “This kind of commitment from a brand like SPEEDO will provide great support as I continue to train for the 2008 Olympics.”

“Every once in a while a special athlete comes along who demands a special commitment,” said Sheree Waterson, President of SPEEDO North America. “Katie's versatility and raw talent give her the potential to achieve great accomplishments along the same lines as Michael Phelps."

Hoff, a native of Towson, MD, will graduate high school in 2007. As part of the relationship, SPEEDO will cover the cost of her college tuition, reinforcing the brand’s belief in the importance of education. Hoff, who made her rookie Olympic debut in Athens, was the youngest member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic swim team. The 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal proved to be her most standout competition to date with Hoff capturing gold in the 200 and 400 individual medley and in the 800 free relay. Her American-record swim in the 200 I.M. was the second-fastest performance of all time.

She rounded out a stellar year at the Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool, winning both I.M. events and setting a U.S. Open record in the 400 I.M. Hoff was the big winner at this year’s Golden Goggle Awards, USA Swimming’s annual year-end gala, taking home two awards in the Female Athlete of the Year category and Relay Performance of the Year.

Hoff will also be part of an athlete advisory group to the SPEEDO Aqualab, the research and development center designed to produce the world’s most innovative swimwear and accessories. In 2004, it introduced the world’s fastest swimsuit, the Fastskin FSII.

Team SPEEDO swimmers include Olympic Gold Medalists Michael Phelps (USA), Natalie Coughlin (USA), Amanda Beard (USA), Kosuke Kitijima (JPN), and Grant Hackett (AUS).

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