FINA Releases Information on FINA Bureau Meeting, Approves Speedsuit Restriction Proposal, Underwater Cameras Approved for Rome

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, March 14. DURING the FINA Bureau meeting held in Dubai this week, the international organization put in place some official speedsuit restrictions which are "to be immediately implemented."

Known as The Dubai Charter (full link to document below), the speedsuit restrictions will be phased in during a two-step approach. As previously reported, FINA held a Speedsuit Summit in Switzerland on Feb. 20. That meeting developed a set of restriction proposals that the Bureau has now implemented effective immediately until Dec. 31, 2009.

These are the elements implemented starting today:

a. DESIGN: The swimsuit shall not cover the neck and shall not extend past the shoulders nor past the ankles.
i. When used, the material shall follow the body shape;
ii. The application of different materials shall not create air trapping effects.
c. THICKNESS: The material used shall have a maximum thickness of 1 mm. The measurement method is in accordance with ISO Standard 5084 for textiles.
d. BUOYANCY: The swimsuit shall not have a buoyancy effect of more than 1 Newton (100 gr).
The value to be observed applies to all swimsuits sizes.
e. CONTROL: FINA has established its own independent control/testing programme. Scientific testing on thickness and buoyancy will be conducted by a neutral team led by Prof. Jan-Anders Manson, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and Laboratory of Polymer and Composite Technology.
f. CONSTRUCTION: Any system providing external stimulation or influence of any form (e.g. pain reduction, chemical/medical substance release, electro-stimulation, or others) is prohibited.
g. CUSTOMISATION: All swimsuits of an approved model must be constructed in an identical fashion with no variation/modification for individual swimmers from the samples submitted for approval. Any modification before use is prohibited; it is clarified that an adaptation of size does not constitute customisation.
h. USE: The swimmer can only wear one swimsuit (FINA Rule GR 5.3).
i. SWIMSUITS TO BE SUBMITTED: All swimsuits to be used during the period of application shall be submitted, even if previously approved. The only submission deadline under these rules is March 31, 2009.
j. APPROVAL: Approvals issued under these rules remain valid until December 31, 2009. Manufacturers must indicate the approval on the product in use through a method to be implemented by FINA. The purpose is to check that the swimsuits used in competition are approved models.

FINA also went a step further to include a "permeability value" test that will begin as of Jan. 1, 2010.

PERMEABILITY: In addition to the thickness and buoyancy scientific independent tests already included in the previous requirements, FINA will define the use of non-permeable materials based on a ‘permeability value' test. The non-permeable material can only be used for a maximum 50% of the total surface of the swimsuit for full-body models. For these models, the maximum surface of non-permeable material to be used on the upper and lower part of the swimsuit shall be respectively 25% on each part. Non-permeable material shall be distinguishable.

While the speedsuit rulings definitely took center stage at the Bureau meeting, plenty of other rulings were made on all aquatic sports. One decision that might actually have a bigger impact on the sport of swimming going forward than the speedsuit restrictions is the adoption of "underwater video judging system (used to confirm and/or overrule stroke infraction calls made on the deck)" starting with the FINA World Championships in Rome.

Here is the full release regarding the Bureau's decisions:

New Federations affiliated to FINA: Fédération Djiboutienne de Natation, Fédération Tchadienne de Natation and Fédération Centrafricaine de Natation. The total number of FINA National Federations is presently of 201.
– Swimming:
o new age limits for the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships (boys – 16-18 years old; girls – 15-17 years old);
o due to availability reasons, postponement in the introduction of the new starting blocks, which will only be used after the 13th FINA World Championships Rome 2009. In these championships, will be used the same starting blocks as the ones used at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (CHN);
o introduction of an underwater video judging system (used to confirm and/or overrule stroke infraction calls made on the deck) at the 13th FINA World Championships Rome 2009;
o approval of the FINA World Swimming Calendar 2010-2013, including the December spot (on even years) for the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) and the August period (in uneven years) for the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships.
– Open Water Swimming:
o Establishment of the dates of the 6th FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Roberval (CAN) – July 15-23, 2010.
– Diving:
o New location for the 2010 FINA Diving World Cup (to be hosted by the Chinese Swimming Association).
– Water Polo:
o Approval in principle of the organisation of a FINA World Water Polo Championships B, starting from 2012.
Synchronised Swimming:
o Establishment of the rules for the 2009 Synchro World Trophy (to be held in Montreal, CAN, from November 27-29), including a thematic duet, thematic team and free combination event and a gala show at the end of the competition. These new ideas are aimed to increase the spectacular aspect of this discipline.
– Masters:
o Establishment of the programme and dates (July 28-August 7) of the 13th FINA World Masters Championships, to be held in 2010, in Gothenburg and Boras (SWE).
– Upcoming FINA Competitions: Very positive and encouraging reports were presented by the Organisers of the next FINA major competitions: 13th FINA World Championships Rome 2009, 6th FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships Roberval (CAN) in 2010, 13th FINA World Masters Championships Gothenburg/Roberval (SWE) in 2010, 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Dubai 2010, 14th FINA World Championships Shanghai 2011, 3rd FINA World Junior Swimming Championships Lima (PER) 2011, 11th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Istanbul 2012.
– Proposal of rules changes for FINA Congresses: revision and approval of the proposals and amendments to the Constitution, General Rules, By-laws, Doping and Facilities rules, as well as Technical rules for each of our five disciplines (swimming, water polo, diving, synchronised swimming and marathon swimming). All this will be presented to the General Congress and Technical Congresses to be held in Rome this July with the occasion of the 13th FINA World Championships.
– Amendments to the FINA Swimwear Approval Procedures: the Bureau approved the "Dubai Charter" (see attached document) to be immediately implemented.

The Dubai Charter File