European Coaches Join USA Swimming in Proposing Suit Regulation

RIJEKA, Croatia, December 14. ACCORDING to SwimNews.com, in the midst of the European Short Course Championships that featured 10 world-record setting performances, representatives from 15 European countries have signed and submitted an 11-point proposal to the European Swimming League (LEN) asking for major suit restrictions.

As reported by Craig Lord, the 11-point proposal reads as follows:

Key Point: "…we ask for regulations on issues as indicated and mentioned below. These issues must be discussed and implemented by FINA rules before the World Championships in Rome 2009.

Issues with Suits:

* 1. Double or triple suits
* 2. Buoyancy: a, thickness of materials; b, additional fabrics (neoprene, polyurethane)
* 3. Compression and core stablisation
* 4. Bio feedback
* 5. Transparent testing process by knowledgeable INDEPENDENT commission
* 6. suits approved 9 to 12 months in advance of major competition in order to guarantee availability
* 7. Enforcement (in competition suit control)

Without regulations other issues can influence our sport:

* 1. Talent identification challenges (inflated times)
* 2. Affordability (suits are expensive)
* 3. Time standards (how do you set time standards for competitions)

This proposal follows USA Swimming proposing the following legislation to FINA prior to a February summit to discuss the speedsuit issues:

GR 5 SWIMWEAR
GR 5.3 USA Fed. In swimming competitions the competitor must wear only one swimsuit in one or two pieces which shall not extend beyond the ankles, the wrists and the neck cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor past the knee. No additional items, like arm bands or leg bands shall be regarded as parts of a swimsuit.

GR 5.6 USA Fed. The manufacturers must ensure that the approved new swimsuit will be available for all competitors for 12 months prior to the Olympic Games.

While there have been various conversations regarding affordability and the type of fabric used in the new speedsuits, the two items that everyone continues to agree on as the speedsuit conversation continues is the elimination of doubling up on suits and requiring that any new speedsuit be widely available well before (anywhere from 9-12 months) a major competition. Some reports have even heard of swimmers beginning to triple their usage of suits in competition.

Previously, a swimmer might have felt the need to choose a single suit that might work best. As of right now, there's no need to choose when a swimmer can layer one suit for core compression, another suit for an added layer of total body compression and then a third that might have better drag. The loophole is completely open for experimenting with various suit combinations, except in the NCAA. The U.S.-based organization eliminated that loophole for NCAA competition this week as collegiate swimmers will only be able to wear a single garment during NCAA-sanctioned swims.

Full text of SwimNews.com article.