By Phillip Whitten
May 12. IN a surprise move, Kristine Quance-Julian, 25, one of the marquee names among the list of NIKE-sponsored swimmers, has switched and signed a lucrative endorsement contract with rival Speedo.
Quance-Julian, who represents the Trojan Swim Club and is making a successful comeback after giving birth to a son, Trenton, 17 months ago, is the top-ranked active American in the 200 and 400 IM, and the second-ranked active American (behind Misty Hyman) in the 200 fly. In 1996, she made the U.S. Olympic team in the 100 breast and 200 IM after a controversial disqualification in the prelims of the 400 IM, in which she placed first.
Quance-Julian said that Speedo's offer was "too good to turn down."
"My decision says nothing negative about NIKE," she said. "I love Carrie (Steinseifer Bates) and Roque (Santos). But it was a unique opportunity to do more than what most other swimmers do, specifically with Speedo's family and children's line."
Quance-Julian's representative, Sonia Brown, had conducted negotiations with both swimwear giants over the past two weeks before the decision was made to sign with Speedo.
According to unconfirmed reports, Speedo plans to give Quance-Julian a laser-fitted "fast-skin" body suit for the Olympic Trials.