PHOENIX, Arizona, November 21. WITHIN days of a major vote by the Board of USA Swimming to recommend an overhaul in the governing structure of FINA, a memorandum was distributed by FINA clarifying the approval process of racing suits submitted by manufactures.
When the rules were rewritten last year, FINA agreed to a 12-month timeline for new suits to enter the market for Olympic and world championship competition. FINA is now applying the timeline to ONLY those competitions, and as a result confusion once again reigns.
FINA is claiming in a written memorandum obtained by Swimming World that the 12-month timeline only applies to Olympic and 50 meter World Championship competitions and that the window for approval is much shorter for other FINA events. The door now appears open for new swimsuits to enter the market sooner than expected and different standards for long course and short course events.
The memo, written on FINA Letterhead, Prof. Jan-Anders Manson, Chairman of the independent Swimwear Approval Commission stated that, "the 12-months deadline and the requirement of market availability on 1st January do not apply in respect of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) but only in respect of the FINA World Championships (50m) and of the Olympic Games. Therefore, all swimsuits published on the official FINA website "FINA Approved Swimsuits" may be used in the coming 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Dubai."
The memo did not mention any restrictions on the newly approved suits that would restrict them from use in 50 meter competition prior to the Olympics. Nor was there any mention of not recognizing 50 meter world records performed in suits that were approved for 25 meter competition.
According to the memo, every FINA suit approved for competition must have a FINA Approved label. "The procedure for the swimwear check will be held in the competition venue in the 1st call room prior to the final call room. The swimmers must be present at the 1st call room at least twenty (20) minutes prior to the start of the preliminaries, semi-finals and final events in swimming.
• In the 1st call room, the FINA personnel will check:
• If the swimsuit has been approved and labeled
• If the swimmer has only one swimsuit
• If the swimmer has no taping in his swimsuit and/or in his body
• If any modification has been made to the swimsuit