According to several dealers and industry professionals who have already been informed of the decision, USA Swimming will announce today that the Arena Carbon Pro swimsuit will be allowed up until June 3rd, the day after the Santa Clara Grand Prix, which should relieve some of the strain on the company and their retailers to satisfy demands of returns or exchanges in such a short period of time, with so many large meets happening. Originally, Tuesday was set to be the last day that they were to be allowed.
Update: USMS has released a statement reaffirming that the suits will not be allowed at their meet. Read more here.
USA Swimming Rules Committee Chair Dan McAllen confirmed that times swum in these now unapproved suits would not count for FINA Records or qualifying for FINA-sanctioned meets, though they could count for US Records or US qualifying. The rationale was simple and logical: there’s still a small handful of states who haven’t swum their high school State Championship meets yet, and there’s still two Grand Prixs left, so to put everyone on an even qualifying playing field, they would make a simple, clean cut at 11:59 PM Mountain Time on June 2nd: the end of the Santa Clara Grand Prix.
In addition to those around the country at various USA Swimming meets, including the Grand Prix meet in Charlotte this coming weekend, this means that those at the CIF Southern Section Championship meet will be able to swim “USA Swimming observed” even in the models of the Arena Carbon-Pro racing suits that have had FINA approval waived, the organization reported today.
This decision comes after Arena announced yesterday that the company had waived FINA approval on three models of its Carbon-Pro line of high performance suits after discovering a part of their manufacturing process that didn’t comply with FINA regulations. (Read more about that here.)
Given that Arena leader Tim McCool told us via phone that the issue didn’t impact performance or safety, this decision will be of great relief to many, including Southern California High School swimmers. Arena has already committed to having reps on deck at both the Charlotte Grand Prix and Masters Nationals this coming weekend, but as of yesterday were still working on a solution for meeting the demands of the California High School Championship meets, Southern Section, which begin Wednesday: a meet of substantial size, and where there is a potential for National Age Group Records to be broken.
The NFHS, who has more general suit guidelines and are not bound by USA Swimming or FINA rules, released a statement today to its State Association Executive Directors and Swimming and Diving Administrators that included the following:
The identified construction problem does not impact safety or the overall performance of the athlete to create a competitive advantage. Therefore, the NFHS has taken the position, due to the nature of the defect and not all suits being non-compliant, to allow the models listed above to be used in high school competition.
As noted above though, this makes all swims in this suit legal for the purposes of the NFHS, which does not include reporting to USA Swimming, meeting qualifying standards for USA Swimming meets, or breaking national USA Swimming records in observed swims.
Arena is the official apparel sponsor for USA swimming and the title sponsor of the Grand Prix Series.