FINA World Championships, Swimming: Flash! FINA Bureau Announces Swimsuit Decisions; Speedo Releases Statement

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ROME, Italy, July 28. THE FINA Bureau released a statement complying with the FINA Congress decision to ban the high tech swimsuits in 2010.

Here is FINA's media release:

On its first meeting held today in Rome (ITA), the 2009-2013 FINA Bureau fully complied with the decision of the FINA Congress, held on July 24, 2009 related with the procedure concerning swimwear approval. As it was also decided by the Congress, these rules are now By-Laws rules, which allow the Bureau to further control, update and correct any deviation to the process or to proceed with any necessary adjustment related to the development of the swimsuit technology.

The FINA Bureau decisions on swimsuits include:

MATERIAL – The material of the swimsuits will definitively be constituted only by textile fabric(s). The definition of "textile" will be made by a group of scientific experts chosen by FINA and led by Prof. Jan-Anders Manson, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne (SUI). This definition will be available to manufacturers by no later than September 30, 2009. The first definition of "textile" to be further confirmed by this group is: "Material consisting of, natural and/or synthetic, individual and non consolidated yarns used to constitute a fabric by weaving, knitting, and/or braiding."

SHAPE – For men, the swimsuit shall not extend above the navel nor below the knee, and for women, shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor extend below knee. Furthermore, no zippers or other fastening system is allowed.

USE – In the regulation approved by the Congress, the swimmer can only wear one swimsuit and no taping is allowed.

TESTS – Only measurable scientific tests will be performed within the frame of the swimwear approval procedure. For thickness, the 1mm limit will be adjusted to 0.8mm, for buoyancy the present value of 1 Newton will be reduced to 0.5 (FINA will even consider the limit of 0 Newton), and for permeability the material(s) used must have at any point a value of more than 80l/m2/second. Permeability values are measured on material with a standard multidirectional stretch of 25%. These parameters will be further considered by the above mentioned scientific group.

CONSISTENCY – Swimsuits effectively manufactured and used shall correspond to and be fully consistent with submitted samples. Any modification before use (including impregnation) is prohibited. Moreover, there shall be no variation/modification for individual swimmers.

APPLICATION – Considering the time needed for manufacturers to produce their swimsuits, the submission dates and the implementation of the rules are applicable from 2010 only in Swimming competitions.

In addition to these decisions, the FINA Bureau also approved the new FINA Committees and Commissions for the period 2009-2013.

Finally, it was also established that the Diving Qualification event for the 1st Youth Olympic Games (August 2010 in Singapore) will be held in Mexico City (MEX), in April 2010.

Speedo has released its own response to the situation:

The reputation and ongoing success of the sport of swimming is of paramount importance to Speedo. The recent introduction of 100% non-permeable buoyant wetsuits and their impact on performance has cast a shadow over the sport. This has put swimmers in a very compromising position, leading to FINA's decision today to ban the use of non-permeable fabrics in performance swimsuits from 2010.

As the world's leading swimwear brand, which has been responsible for every major legal innovation in swimming for 80 years, we support FINA's role in setting and managing the rules for the sport of swimming. Their decision today is not unexpected as a means of calling a halt to the confusion and controversy that has been created as a result of the introduction by some manufacturers of fully non-permeable buoyant wetsuits for the 13th FINA World Championships, 2009.

Speedo has never sought to compromise the integrity of the sport and has never created a buoyant suit. The Speedo LZR Racer suit was developed after years of intensive research and development in consultation with swimmers, coaches and experts and was fully approved by FINA. The Speedo LZR Racer suit was deliberately designed with 50% exclusive LZR Pulse woven fabric so as to avoid aiding buoyancy in the water.

Speedo believes a return to textile only body suits as per the Melbourne World Championships 2007 would have dealt with the issue. Despite today's decision to return to jammers for men and open back knee-skin suits for women, Speedo will continue to work with the world's leading athletes, coaches and experts to develop the most innovative swimwear and equipment. As a forward thinking company, Speedo remains committed to growing the sport of swimming at every level.