FINA Congress Severely Restricts Suit Coverage, Eliminates Non-Textile Suits; FINA Releases Press Release

Updated July 24 with FINA press release

ROME, Italy, July 24. ACCORDING to a report by The Associated Press, FINA Congress today voted to severely restrict the amount of coverage a swimsuit can provide, as well as banned non-textile suits starting next year.

The article reports that a USA Swimming proposal to limit swimsuit to "between the waist and knees for males, not beyond the shoulders or below the knees for females" was passed by an overwhelming margin by the FINA Congress today in Rome.

Additionally, the new rule stated that only textile-based fabric can be used in suit manufacturing going forward.

"The most important thing is that it's textile only," U.S. National Team Head Coach and General Manager Mark Schubert told The Associated Press. "I think we sent a strong message as to our feeling of what the suit should be."

Meanwhile, a British motion moved oversight of the rule to the FINA Bureau, which will allow the Bureau the ability to make changes going forward. Previously, the rule was brought forward as a general rule, which can only be amended at the FINA Congress.

Full text of The Associated Press article.

Later in the day, FINA released the following press release regarding the changes made by the FINA Congress today, including the new FINA Bureau makeup. FINA only made quick mention of the suit rule change.

FINA held on July 24, 2009 its General Congress in Rome (ITA) with the occasion of the 13th FINA World Championships, and elected a new Bureau for the period 2009-2013.

The composition of the Bureau is as follows:

Dr Julio Maglione (URU)

Honorary Secretary
Paolo Barelli (ITA)

Honorary Treasurer
Pipat Paniangvait (THA)

Sam Ramsamy (RSA)
Dale Neuburger (USA)
Hironoshin Furuhashi (JPN)
Nory Kruchten (LUX)
Dennis Miller (FIJ)

Chief Olatokunbo Thomas (NGR)
Farid El Allam (MAR)
Abd El Rahman Amin (EGY)
Dr Margo Mountjoy (CAN)
Coaracy Nunes Filho (BRA)
Orban Mendoza (PUR)
Eugenio Martinez (CUB)
Hussain Al Musallam (KUW)
Qiuping Zhang (CHN)
Dimitris Diathessopoulos (GRE)
Paulo Frischknecht (POR)
Tamas Gyarfas (HUN)
Gennady Aleshin (RUS)
Bill Matson (NZL)

Moreover, the former FINA President Mustapha Larfaoui will from now on be the FINA Honorary Life President.

In his first speech as FINA President, Dr. Julio Maglione thanked the support of the 201 National Federations worldwide, and expressed his optimism for the future of FINA. "A new era is just beginning. I do not want to let you down. I would never forgive myself. I hope to be able to accomplish all the goals proposed and everything they mean in terms of progress and development for FINA," considered Dr. Maglione, with tears in his eyes.

The new FINA Honorary Life President expressed his satisfaction after being at the helm of FINA for 21 years: "During this period, we have progressed a lot and it was a privilege and an honour to me to participate and witness this development. We are today more important, more respected and more recognised worldwide," said Mr. Larfaoui.

In terms of rules, the General Congress approved the following:

Candidates for President shall be nominated in writing three months before the Congress, and the Executive Director should notify on the candidates for President at least two months prior to the Congress;

The President, Honorary Secretary and the Honorary Treasurer can be elected only for a maximum of two terms in the same post;

A new rule concerning the shape and the material (only textile) of the swimsuits was approved;

At the FINA World Championships (50m and 25m), in swimming, semi-finals and finals may be swum using 10 lanes. In consequence, a new scoring system for this competition was adopted;

In terms of the Facilities rules, any new competition equipment (such as starting blocks) must be available by January 1 in the year of the Olympic Games and FINA World Championships. Precisions concerning starting blocks and lane ropes were adopted;

Equipment for diving and synchronised swimming was also added to the rules;

Concerning the Doping Control Rules, the Congress unanimously approved some minor changes concerning the update of the rules in accordance with the WADA Code.

Finally, the General Congress also approved the new Doping Panel and Disciplinary Panel for the period 2009-2013:

Doping Panel
Chairman: Erik Van Heijningen (NED)
Members: Farid Ben Belkacem (ALG), William Bock (USA), Toshiro Ueyanagi (JPN), Robert Fox (SUI), Peter Kerr (AUS)

Disciplinary Panel
Chairman: Dr. Christa Thiel (GER)
Members: Onyango Njeri (KEN), Gordon Peterson (CAN), Li Hua (CHN), David Sparkes (GBR), Chris Fydler (AUS)