FINA Open Water Swimming Swimsuit Rules

FINA Open Water Swimming Swimsuit Rules

FINA recently decided to allow its open water swimmers to use swimsuits that were approved for use in 2009 until June 1, 2010. But after June 1, 2010, swimsuits for both men and women shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor shall extend below the ankle and must comply with the FINA Criteria for Materials and Approval Procedures.

With the first FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup coming up in Santos, Brazil at the end of January and three FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix events in February, the decision of the swimsuits was just in time for the athletes to prepare.

So the swimsuits that the swimmers wore at the 2009 World Swimming Championships and any race on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup or 2009 FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix are legal until June 1, 2010.

According to the information approved by FINA in summer 2009, the FINA Criteria for Materials includes the following:

o Type of material: The material used for swimsuits can be only “Textile Fabric(s)” defined for the purpose of these rules as material consisting of, natural and/or synthetic, individual and non consolidated yarns used to constitute a fabric by weaving, knitting, and/or braiding. 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 in Lausanne, Switzerland. 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.”

o Surface treatment of the textile fabric: Any material added on to the surface of the textile fabric (e.g. coating, printing, impregnation) shall not close the original open mesh structure of the base textile fabric. The treated material shall further comply with all requirements in particular in regard to thickness, permeability and flexibility. This part of the rule does not apply to logos and labels. This applies to both the manufacturing level and the actual use of the swimsuit.

o Flexibility: the material shall be flexible and soft-folding.

o Regular flat material: The material shall be regular and flat. The material shall not form outstanding shapes or structures, such as scales.

o Outside application: No outside application shall be added on the material.

o Variety of materials: Different materials may be used in one swimsuit provided they are textile fabrics as defined above and they comply with all other criteria including notably thickness and permeability (measures to apply to total layers). Combination of materials shall further not create outstanding shape(s) or structure(s). Layered materials must be completely attached/bound/stuck together except where required to protect sensitive parts (“privacy layers”).

o Thickness: The material used shall have a maximum thickness of 0.8mm. It is clarified that this maximum thickness does not apply to seams as far as they are functional and their thickness and width result from their natural function.

o Buoyancy: The swimsuit shall not have a buoyancy effect above 0.5 Newton measured after application of vacuum.

o Permeability: Material(s) used must have at any point a permeability value of more than 80 l/m2/second. Permeability values are measured on material with a standard multidirectional stretch of 25 %. However, measure on material which cannot be significantly stretched will be effected on unstreched flattened material.

o 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.

o Construction: No zippers or other fastening system is allowed. Seams shall be limited to functional systems and shall not create outside shapes.

o External stimulation or influence: Swimsuits which include any system providing external stimulation or influence of any type, including pain reduction, chemical/medical substance release, electro-stimulation etc. are prohibited.

o 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.

o Customisation: There shall be no variation/modification for individual swimmers from the models corresponding to the samples submitted for approval.

o Use: The swimmer can only wear one swimsuit and no taping is allowed.

Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association