Vendt, whose popularity amongst coaches and swimmers stems from his legendary work ethic was named in a 4 defendant lawsuit filed by TYR Sport against himself, Speedo, Mark Schubert, and USA Swimming. While there is no mention of the exact terms of his endorsement deal with the company, the issue is Vendt's wearing of a Speedo FS-Pro at a grand prix meet in Long Beach in January. At that meet, Vendt broke the American record in 1000 yard free and just missed it in the 1650 with times of 8:36.49 and 14:26.97.
Coming off three weeks at altitude and swimming at Day One of the Santa Clara Invitational yesterday, Vendt posted a heat swim in the 1500 of 14:54.89. He told the LA Times, "Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the swim. I don't think it'll be much of a distraction...There's not much I can do," but that being sued is "a little bit emotionally draining, kind of a surprise." He was further quoted as saying, "You can't do anything. I can't control anything except myself and just in between my head and what's in between the lane lines."
While Vendt focuses on his preparation for Olympic Trials, Morgenstein commented to SwimNews on how news of the lawsuit has affected them, "I can only say that it has been an absolute shock for Erik and I to find out by someone in the media, it is an unfortunate way to do it. Last night I talked to TYR's attorney and he started out by saying how much Steve Furniss loves Erik, I said that's an awfully bad way to show it." Vendt told the LA Times, "I'm pretty confident with how my training's been going and excited with how my season's been going. I'm not going to let this affect me in a negative way." Vendt was wearing the LZR Racer at Santa Clara, but according to Morgenstein, Vendt "has no contract."
PMG represents 27 of the world's best swimmers, at least 5 of whom are sponsored by TYR. In his email yesterday, Morgenstein said, "TYR Sport is no longer on our list of active apparel companies with whom we will do business with in the future." However Morgenstein's decision to speak out against their treatment of Vendt will not effect their current TYR sponsored swimmers. "They will continue doing what they are doing, wear the suit, and continue their legacy of swimming fast, nothing changes for them. They are very happy with TYR and it makes me feel good we solidified those opportunities for them."
However, the future for TYR appears bleak. Morgenstein told SwimNews, "The backlash from the swim community will be huge. Erik is iconic with swimmers and coaches alike and I think as this unfolds it will show a real misreading of the tealeaves by the company."