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Olympic Swimming

Michael Phelps signs deal with swimsuit company Aqua Sphere

Michael Phelps signs deal with swimsuit company Aqua Sphere Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Michael Phelps will be signing a swimsuit deal with Aqua Sphere on Tuesday, he told the Associated Press.

Phelps had been associated with Speedo, a power company in the industry, since he was 16. But the deal expired at the end of last year, leading Phelps to seek a new sponsor.

Aqua Sphere has no previous experience with competitive swimwear, focusing mostly on triathlon and recreational swimming gear. But that was a plus for Phelps and coach Bob Bowman, who will help design a range of products for the company, according to the AP.

After receiving offers from all the major companies, the 29-year-old was intrigued by the idea of going with a firm that would give him and Bowman substantial input into the design of everything from racing suits to products that could be used at the grass-roots level.

"It's all hand-in-hand with not only my goal to grow the sport of swimming, but to help kids live healthy and active lifestyles and learn to swim," Phelps said. "It starts from there."

Phelps returned to competition earlier this year with an eye towards competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics, despite announcing his retirement after the 2012 Olympics. He won his first event since the 2012 London games in Charlotte in May.

Phelps will compete in four events at this week's U.S. national championships, which begin Wednesday in Irvine, California.

More: The Olympics: The Disneyland of sports

- Ben Estes

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