PHOENIX, Arizona, May 9. WITH four states still set to hold high school swimming championships this month, the National Federation of State High School Associations had a quick decision to make regarding the recent news that three suits from Arena were quickly deemed non-compliant for competitive use.
After discussions with Arena, the NFHS decided that the reasons for the suits' immediate withdrawal from FINA's approved list were not strong enough to warrant a ban on those three versions at the championship meets yet to be held in California, Colorado, Kansas and Nevada.
Unlike Arena's efforts to offer quick replacements to athletes at this week's U.S. Masters Swimming nationals and the Arena Grand Prix, “it wasn't something they (Arena) could guarantee” at the high school level, said Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and staff liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee.
After FINA discovered that certain aspects of three models of the Powerskin Carbon Pro suit failed permeability tests in February, Arena waived approval on the three suits, rendering them useless globally. USA Swimming has announced that the suits will be legal for competition through June 2, but records cannot be set in them.
California will hold a multitude of sectional championships this weekend in central and southern California, where it is likely the three Arena suits will be worn by hundreds of swimmers. Given that hundreds of other high school swimmers have already completed their high school seasons wearing these suits, the NFHS believed the student-athletes set to complete their seasons should not be impacted by the news.
“We believed we could finish out the school year without people having to go out and get a new suit,” Oakes said. “We didn't think that was a reasonable approach.”
NFHS memorandum allowing suits for use:
During a routine request for compliance of various models of ARENA swimwear, ARENA became aware of a compliance issue on a sampling, but not all, of specific models. In order to eliminate potential problems, ARENA has taken action to replace suits of the models involved, even though only a portion of the products are impacted.
Suits to withdraw FINA Approval Code
POWERSKIN Carbon-Pro models:
AR220993 — woman full body open back
AR220994 — woman full body closed back
AR141364 — man jammer
The identified construction problem does not impact safety or the overall performance of the athlete to create a competitive advantage. Therefore, the NFHS has taken the position, due to the nature of the defect and not all suits being non-compliant, to allow the models listed above to be used in high school competition.
Thank you for your attention and consideration.