Tuesday, June 2, 2009

LEN And USA Swimming Adopt FINA List

Last week in Israel, LEN adopted and enforced FINA's new approved swimsuit list at the first major international open water swimming competition held after the May 19th FINA ruling. Bruce Stratton, Chairman of USA Swimming's Rules & Regulations Committee, issued the following rule regarding this issue:

On May 19, 2009, FINA issued a list of swimsuits approved for competition. The approved list, which was effective immediately and is attached, includes 202 swimsuits. The Rules and Regulations Committee, under the provisions of Article 511.1, has the authority to alter or amend any provision of Part One of our rules to conform to the rules of FINA. Accordingly, effective immediately, Article 102.9 is amended as follows:

102.9.1A: Only swimwear approved by FINA, as reflected on its published list of approved swimwear, may be worn in any USA Swimming sanctioned or approved competition.

Since the FINA approved list only addressed new model swimsuits submitted by swimsuit manufacturers, swimmers will, until otherwise directed by FINA, also be able to wear traditional swimsuits not on the FINA approved list as long as the swimsuit meets the following criteria:

1. For female swimmers, the swimsuit shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulders or past the pelvis, and

2. For male swimmers, the swimsuit shall not extend above the navel or below the knees.

In addition to the 202 approved swimsuits on the attached FINA list, there were an additional 136 swimsuits that could be resubmitted to FINA for reconsideration and possible approval. The expected decision date for such approval is June 19, 2009. At such time as FINA publishes any list of additional swimsuits approved for competition, those additional swimsuits will also be approved for USA Swimming sanctioned or approved competitions.

FINA has also declared that only those permitted swimsuit models that are available to all World Championship competitors may be used at the FINA 2009 World Championships in Rome. To be consistent with this FINA requirement, only those permitted swimsuit models that are available to all competitors may be used at the 2009 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships and World Championship Trials to be held July 7-11, 2009, or at the 2009 USA Swimming Open Water World Championship Trials to be held June 14, 2009. To avoid confusion, availability is defined as follows:

1. The swimsuit manufacturer is present at the 2009 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships and World Championship Trials and/or USA Swimming Open Water World Championship Trials with its approved swimsuits available for all competitors on a purchase, loan, give-away or other basis, or

2. The swimsuit manufacturer has provided to USA Swimming a written representation in the form requested by USA Swimming that its approved swimsuit will be made available before July 7, 2009 to all World Championship Trials competitors and before June 14, 2009 to all Open Water Championship Trials competitors on a purchase, loan, or giveaway basis through retail stores, the internet, or other means. USA Swimming will publish a list of swimsuit manufacturers who have made this representation once they are received. Competitors may rely on this list as approval to wear a particular swimsuit model at either of the World Championship Trials.


As a result of the ruling, it was reported that most of the open water swimmers wore Speedo LZR's or Speedo Fastskin models at the LEN Open Water Swimming Cup. With only a few weeks before the USA Swimming and Swimming Canada joint World Open Water Championship Trials in Ft. Myers, Florida, we suspect many of the American and Canadian swimmers will make similarly choices.

Photo of men's start at the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim by Pei Qingsheng.

4 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I talked to someone at USA swimming and I was told that the availability clause would not be in effect at U.S. open water nationals. For example if I am the only person in the country with access to an approved suit that others can not get I will still be allowed to use it. At least that is what I was told.

Steven Munatones said...

Thank you very much for your comments. While USA Swimming informed you of its position regarding the availability clause, wise open water swimmers always have back-up plans, whether that means an extra pair of goggles or an extra swimsuit. Because this issue is so highly charged and any exception given in open water could be used as reference by our pool swimming colleagues, we recommend that you prepare for all scenarios. Good luck and we will be twittering live from the US/Canada open water trials in Florida.

Anonymous said...

Steven,

Do you know when, prior to open water nationals, USA Swimming will publish a list of the approved manufacturers who have made their suits available under the definition of availability #2? Or which manufactures will be present at open water nationals? Thanks