Friday, May 29, 2009

Open Water Swimming On The Cutting Edge

Decades before pool swimming outlawed the wearing of more than one swimsuit in competition, the sport of open water swimming prohibited the use of more than one swimsuit. Now it appears that open water swimming is at the leading edge of today's global debate about the use of technical swimsuits.

Tomorrow's 10K LEN Open Water Swimming Cup in Eilat, Israel is a very important race for a number of reasons. Not only are national governing bodies like British Swimming and Israel Swimming selecting their national teams based on this race, but it is also the last major 10K race before the 2009 World Swimming Championships in Rome for most of the top athletes.

But we heard information that LEN (Ligue Européenne de Natation) may strictly follow the new FINA decisions on what technical swimsuits are permitted in this race. This information was informed to the swimmers on Friday afternoon - the day before the race. The swimmers were prepared to swim in their preferred swimsuits this weekend - some of which were not recently approved by FINA. This apparently took many of the swimmers and coaches by surprise. The list of approved swimsuits is here.

In a twist that makes some athletes and coaches happy - and others upset, one of the technical swimsuits that is not approved is blueseventy, a sponsor for the FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup.

For the athletes who may be in Israel with only a non-approved swimsuit, we are hopeful a reasonable and practical solution is found for them. Stay tuned for the (ongoing) resolution...a few hours for now.

Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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