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Nation Split on High-Performance Bodysuits

Nation Split on High-Performance Bodysuits
October 30, 2009

Different application of FINA's new swimsuit rules will see a divide in Australian Swimming during the last two months of the year.

State associations in NSW, Victoria and South Australia have decided to implement the pending international ban on performance-enhancing non-textile swimsuits from Sunday (1st November).

Others, including Queensland and Swimming Australia, will observe international swimming body FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation)'s deadlines from 1st January. NSW may yet join the early-adopters, with a decision currently under consideration.

Internationally, several leading countries have already outlawed the hig-performance bodysuits, including the USA and France. However, Swimming Australia decided at its annual general meeting last Saturday that it would follow the FINA timetable, primarily because it is not hosting a competition before next year, leaving its member states to make their own decisions.

Significantly, Australia will be in the middle of the summer competition seasons when the international rules change.

The Queensland decision will mean that its state titles, from 12th to 18th December, will still allow performance-enhancing suits, putting it out of step with the other major swimming states, whose titles are held in the new year. However, according to a report in the Australian newspaper, one leading

Queensland coach, Stephanie Rice's mentor Michael Bohl, has said he will discourage his swimmers from clinging on to the hi-tech equipment given the impending ban.

NSW's decision (made yesterday) to prohibit the high performance bodysuits will have an effect on the annual Australian Institute of Sport meet in Canberra next month, which most of the Australian team will attend.

Leading swimwear manufacturer Speedo has preview the new textile suits it is producing in order to meet the 1st January change.

The new high-end competition suits, which were approved by FINA last week, have to be made entirely of textile and cut to a waist-to-knee profile for men and shoulder-to-knee for women.

The company has retained the LZR Racer name but ditched the plastic panels that transformed the sport, propelling it temporarily into an equipment-dependent age, which is now about to end.

Next month, FINA's Technical Committee will consider what to do with the world records set with high performance bodysuits over the last few years. The meeting follows the World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) calling for a line to be drawn under world records set during this era, and a standard time to be established in each event as a fair target for future world record-breakers.

For more information go to www.fina.org

Image shows Olympic Gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps in the Speedo LZR Racer suit.

30th July 2009 - SPEEDO POURS COLD WATER ON BODYSUIT BAN

29th July 2009 - FINA CONFIRMS BODYSUIT BAN

6th April 2009 - NEW FINA RULES FOR ROME WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

6th March 2009 - FINA CLARIFIES SWIM SUIT REGULATIONS

27th November 2008 - SWIMMERS DOMINATE SPORTS PERFORMER AWARDS

31st October 2008 - BAN FOR ‘HIGH TECH’ SWIM SUITS?


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