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LIANE HANSEN, host:

You're listening to Weekend Edition from NPR News. The Olympic swimming trials begin today in Omaha, Nebraska. Once again, Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps is expected to make a splash. The six-time Olympic Gold medalist is entered in nine trial events. This summer, he will attempt to break Mark Spitz's 1972 world record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics. Freelance sports reporter Greg Echlin joins us to discuss the upcoming games. Hi, Greg.

Mr. GREG ECHLIN (Freelance Sports Reporter): Hi, Liane. How are you?

HANSEN: I'm well. We all know about Michael Phelps. He's very well known, a star on the U.S. swim team. Who else should we be watching?

Mr. ECHLIN: Well, on the men's side, there's Gary Hall, Jr. He's 33 years old now, which in swimming terms is getting up toward your senior years, and he's been a gold medalist in the 50-free in the last two Olympics, and he may face a challenge in the 50-yard freestyle. And then there are some interesting stories on the men's side where Peter Vanderkaay, who's from the Detroit area, he was a gold medalist in the relays in '04 and he is going to have three of his brothers joining him at the Olympic trial. So you have both on the men's and women's side, many human interest stories.

HANSEN: Tell us about some of the women.

Mr. ECHLIN: On the women, the one that stands out is Dana Torres, who's 41 years old now. She's a mother. She lives in Florida. She already made history when she became the first American to swim in four different Olympics. This year she's going to try to make it five.

HANSEN: This is an event where, you know, I'm afraid some reporters might be asking, what are you wearing? What's all this talk about swimsuit wars?

Mr. ECHLIN: Well, this is all about the swimsuit called the LZR Racer. And really, the complexion of swimming changed in 2000 when Ian Thorpe from Australia wore a full bodysuit on his way to winning three golds and two silvers. So Speedo has come out with this LZR Racer suit that made its debut in competition last February. There have been 38 world records that have fallen this year in that suit alone, and some of the competition is a little bit upset because frankly, they're not able to keep up with the technology. And you're probably going to see a lot of the swimmers, to the dismay of the competition, wearing the LZR suit.

HANSEN: Is this about sponsorship or about athletics?

Mr. ECHLIN: Well, you know, it does come down to performance. I mean, it's in black and white. The world records are there. There was anti-trust suit filed in the month of May by one of the competitors, but unlike your basketball shoe war, there is something that is attributed to these suits and that's world records.

HANSEN: Greg Echlin is a freelance sports reporter and he joined us from the studios of KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri. Greg, thanks a lot.

Mr. ECHLIN: You're welcome, Liane.

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