Is it a fish? Is it a sub? No, it's the human 'Thorpedo', otherwise known as Ian Thorpe. The similarities to Superman are not lost on swim star Thorpe, who went on another world record-breaking rampage at the Australian Olympic selection trials this week. Dressed from head to foot in the sleek, black suit that dramatically cuts down water resistance and results in amazingly fast times, Thorpe acknowledges that races these days can resemble a battle of the superheroes. 'You have Superman, Spiderman and Batman,' said Thorpe who, at just 17, is barely a man. Thorpe, and the other superfish in their shark-inspired body suits, tend to forget the everyman who does not have the sponsorship back-up to be suited up in the latest cutting-edge fashion. The youngster, who was breaking records before the introduction of the suits but admits they help him swim faster, downplays any controversy among his fellow swimmers by saying 'the only issues that arise in the changing rooms are who is going to zip you up at the back'. The thought of Thorpe asking rival Michael Klim to 'zip me up' is quite mind-boggling. 'Not on your life, mate,' must be a phrase that Thorpe is becoming used to before a race. His stated perception that the body suits have not caused a ripple in the pool point to him being very naive or extremely media savvy, as a tidal wave of opinion has splashed on to the sports pages of Australian newspapers. While some of the comment is negative, Australians on the whole seem to have accepted the arguments in favour of the suits. After all, the guys and gals wearing them are expected to land a record catch of gold medals for Australia at the Sydney Olympics. Even Don Talbot, Australia's head swim coach, seems to have gone strangely quiet on a subject he had heaps to say about when Speedo first introduced the full-length swimwear last year. 'I am not against it. All I am wanting is that everyone can have access to one if they want - everyone should have the power of choice,' he said at the time. 'Otherwise it can be technology winning over ability. We have already had enough problems in swimming with drugs.' Since that comment, FINA, the sport's governing body, has ruled in favour of the suits and other companies, like Adidas which sponsors Thorpe, have developed their own brands. But it is not a completely calm pool for all. Be it aquablade fabric developed from studying sharks or the teflon-coated lycra suit favoured by Thorpe, the fact is that not all swimmers are able to take advantage of the technology. And the also-swams have a right to feel miffed at FINA, whose rules state that 'no swimmer shall be permitted to use or wear any device that may aid his speed, buoyancy or endurance during a competition [such as webbed gloves, flippers, fins, etc]'. If the suits were not performance-enhancing the swimmers would not be wearing them so, like steroids, they should be banned. They are as alien to swimming as attaching mini outboard motors to the feet and almost as absurd.