What Are FINA's New Rules On Open Water Swimming?

What Are FINA’s New Rules On Open Water Swimming?

FINA provided a number of clarifications and rules regarding open water swimming. These include the following:

BL Numbering of swimmers
The numbering of athletes is to appear on the arms, upper backs and hands of competitors. On the arms, the numbers shall be arranged vertically. On the upper backs and hands, the numbering is horizontal. The numbering of the arms and backs is made with an ink template: 100 mm high x 60 mm wide. The numbering of the hands of competitors is allowed by marking pens.
For athletes with darker skin and full body swim suits, a white marker pen will be required.

BL Identification
In events of 10 km and under it is mandatory for the head or cap to display on each side the “national-three letter code” and may display the swimmer’s national flag. The country code shall be a minimum of 0.04m in height.

BL Finish Approach
For Olympic Games, World Championships and all FINA events, the Finish Approach (OWS 7.1) is part of the course, and swimmers shall remain within the rows of buoys throughout their approach to the Finish.

BL Events
5 km Team Event as Time Trial
• A team shall consist of three (3) swimmers, either one (1) man and two (2) women or two (2) men and one (1) woman.
• Every team shall start with all swimmers together sixty (60) seconds after the preceding team.
• The allocation of starting positions shall be taken from automatic random draw. The ranking shall be decided by the individual time achieved by the third swimmer of the team. Only one team per national federation is allowed.

BL Events
Only events in 10 km will be held for both Men and Women.

BL The Start
For Olympic Games the start shall be from a fixed platform.

BL Qualification for London 2012 Olympic Games
1. FINA World Championships 2011 Shanghai (China)
The first ten (10) finalists from the 10 km event – men and women – will qualify. 20 Marathon Swimmers (10 Men & 10 Women)
2. FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier 2012
Only National Federations/National Olympic committees not having qualified swimmers through point 1 above may elect to send two (2) athletes per event. Each National Federation/National Olympic Committee will qualify only one (1) athlete per event.
18 Marathon Swimmers (9 Men & 9 Women)

Continental Representation
The first eligible finisher in the 10 km event – Men and Women – from each of five (5) Continents will qualify.
10 Marathon Swimmers (5 Men & 5 Women)
In the event that a NF/NOC has previously qualified one (1) or two (2) swimmers, the selection process will move to the next eligible finisher in the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier event to ensure that each of these competitions yields a competitor.

Host Nation
One (1) male and one (1) female marathon swimmer from the host nation if not previously qualified, will qualify.
2 Marathon Swimmers (1 Man & 1 Woman)

If the host nation qualifies two (2) athletes through the Point 1 above or one (1) athlete through the Points above, than this slot will be added to Point 2 and allow it to yield an additional 10th qualification.


BL Age Groups as at 31st December of the year of the competition
• 14-15 years Boys and Girls
• 16-18 years Boys and Girls

BL Individual Event
• 14-15 years 5 km Boys and Girls
• 16-18 years 7.5 km Boys and Girls

BL Team Events
• A team comprises of three (3) swimmers (either two (2) boys and one (1) girl or two (2) girls and one (1) boy)
• Two age categories:
14-15 years
16-18 years
• Distance of the team event: 3 km for both categories
• For the team event, swimmers from the 14-15 age group category (maximum two (2) swimmers) can swim in the 16-18 age group category according to the team distribution for boys / girls and the rule of one (1) team per Federation age group.

BL Entries
• Two (2) athletes per Federation per Event in the individual events
• One (1) team per Federation per age group in the Team Event

BL 8.1 All swimwear used at Olympic Games and FINA Events (pool and open water competitions) shall be swimwear approved by FINA in accordance with the rules and procedures set forth in the FINA Requirements for Swimwear Approval (FRSA) issued by the FINA bureau and valid on the date of approval. Following an approval process conducted by the Swimwear Approval Commission, a list of approved swimwear is published by FINA (the Approved List) each year. The Approved List is published each year before December 31 and is valid starting from January 1 of the subsequent year.

[Note to BL8.5: It is clarified that swimsuits which fulfill the shape requirement set forth in BL 8.3, respectively BL 8.4 (for Open Water Swimming) can be accepted even if they do not bear a valid FINA approval label provided they effectively and evidently fulfill the material requirements set forth in the current FINA Requirements for Swimwear Approval. This is the case for swimsuits made of traditional permeable textile (i.e. open mesh material) material (such as cotton, Nylon, Lycra and the like) with no application of surface treatment closing the open mesh structure. In case of doubt in this respect and when notably such doubt concerns a swimsuit used at the occasion of a World record, an actual check of the swimsuit can be required from the competitor or Certifying Official and the swimsuit is to be forwarded to the FINA Office for submission to an actual control of all or parts of the requirements.]

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones