By the conclusion of the FINA bureau meeting this past weekend in Bangkok, Thailand, the final nail was put in the coffin of the polyurethane tech suits when Masters swimming regulations were brought in line with the rest of the world’s elite swimmers.
The ruling, which has long been anticipated, says that Masters swimmers will be held to identical suit regulations as those that FINA has decreed for all of it’s sanctioned meets. Though not unexpected, many Masters swimmers were disappointed by the decision.
“As things are worded on FINA’s website, there’s no mention of any compromises that USMS asked for like zippers to accommodate older, less mobile swimmers,” observed the popular swimming blog RobAquatics in its post about the ruling.
Fot it’s part, USMS has said that it will allow Masters Swimmers to wear the old suits in all short course yards events through June 1, 2010 in an apparent attempt to appease its membership who had already invested wads of money into the suits. The United States is the only country in the world to officially recognize short course yards races, which is why they have authority to make such rulings.
FINA also took its ruling out of the pool and into the lakes and oceans by declaring that Open Water swimmers could continue to use 2009 model suits through June 1, 2010 to protect themselves from such hazards as jellyfish, sunburns, and other sea-borne obstacles. After that time, suits will not be allowed to extend past the shoulder or ankle, but it is implied that FINA will, at that time, consider adjusting the materials allowed in those suits, to bring them more into line with the permeability rules that other swimmers are subject to.
Also at the meeting, FINA officially inducted the Tonga Swimming Association as its 202nd member, and suspended the Kuwait Swimming Association from any International Aquatic Activities due to concerns over improper interference by the Kuwait government.
FINA took steps to establish an officials school, where meet officials could receive top-notch training and certification.
Beginning in 2011, the FINA World Championships will include a team event, where 1 woman and 1 man will participate in a team time-trial swim.
FINA also set the location for several upcoming Championships; most notably the 2012 Masters World Championships which will be held in Riccione, Italy.
Here is the press release in full:
Under the presidency of Dr. Julio C. Maglione, the first 2010 FINA Bureau Meeting took place on January 14-15 in Bangkok (THA) and approved the following main decisions:
1. After the vacancy caused by the loss of FINA Vice President Hironoshin Furuhashi in August 2009, the Bureau elected a new member from Asia, Mr. Kazuo Sano, President of the Japanese Swimming Federation. Moreover, the new Vice President for Asia will be Mr. Husain Al Musallam;
2. Affiliation to FINA of Tonga Swimming Association. With this new Member, FINA has presently 202 National Federations worldwide;
3. In accordance with the spirit of the resolution of the Olympic Congress in Copenhagen to preserve the autonomy of the Olympic Movement in Kuwait, the FINA Bureau by interpretation of the FINA Rule C12.12 decided to temporarily suspend the Kuwait Swimming Association from any International Aquatic Activities with the purpose to protect the Federation, their Officials, Coaches and Athletes from acts by the Kuwait Government or any governmental or other body as consequences of the constitution, law or other regulations in force in the country.
4. Allocation of upcoming FINA events:
o FINA Synchro World Trophy 2010 – Russia (Moscow)
o FINA World Junior Men’s Water Polo Championships 2011 – Greece (city to be confirmed)
o FINA World Junior Women’s Water Polo Championships 2011 – Italy (city to be confirmed)
o FINA World Junior Diving Championships 2012 – Australia (Adelaide)
o FINA World Masters Championships 2012 – Italy (Riccione)
o adoption of qualifying times for the FINA World Championships (50m pool) and unified entry system for FINA World Championships (50m, 25m and Juniors)
o creation of the Swimming Officials School
o approved the programme and the Rules & Regulations for the FINA Swimming World Cup for the period 2010-2013
6. Open Water Swimming:
o launch of a team event (one man, one woman team time trial), starting from the 2011 edition of the FINA World Championships in Shanghai (CHN)
o creation of a FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships, starting in 2012 which will replace the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships (last edition to be held in 2010, in Roberval, Canada). The Open Water Discipline is included in the FINA World Championships Programme to be held in odd years (2011, etc).
7. Water Polo:
o FINA World Junior Championships will comprise of two separate events, to better follow a four year cycle: 18 years and under, in the year following the OG and 20 years and under in the year preceding the Olympic Games alternate with the Continental Championships for 17 years and under and 19 years and under.
o new competition format for a 16-team tournament
8. Synchronised Swimming: the Bureau decided to postpone the implementation of the Technical Routine rules for judging/scoring until the technological and operational needs arising in this new format are adressed.
9. Press/Communication: launch from February 2010 of an improved edition of the FINA Aquatics World Magazine
10. Anti-doping programme:
o investigate the introduction of the “biological passport” for athletes
o re-analysis of the samples collected in Roma with the occasion of the FINA World Championships Rome 2009 to search the presence of plasticizers
o considering the possibility to store the samples collected during FINA World Championships for future analysis for a minimum of 8 years
11. Coaches Commission:
o launch of a “FINA Coaches’ Educational Programme”, as an addition to the already existing FINA Development Programme
o establish a FINA Swimming Coaches Certification Programme and considering further extension of this programme to all FINA disciplines
o as per the FINA Legal Commission Report the world records will stand as established in accordance with existing FINA Rules
12. Athletes Commission:
o election of two new members: Britta Kamrau-Corestein (GER, open water swimming) and Virginie Dedieu (FRA, synchronised swimming)
o the proposal for an athletes’ commission representative to attend Bureau meetings (without vote) was not accepted as this will be in violation of the FINA Constitution Rules.
o organisation of a “FINA World Aquatic Convention” to be held in September 2010 in Punta del Este (URU). Delegates of FINA Member Federations will be invited. An exhibition will be available for sponsors, partners and companies linked to the Aquatics World.
The main goals of this Convention will be:
o To establish necessary action to develop and better organise our present 202 National Member Federations worldwide;
o To present, together with our commercial partners, especially Television and Sponsors, FINA in the 21st century
o Open Water: from June 1, 2010 Open Water Swimwear, for both Men and Women, shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor shall extend below the ankle. All Open Water swimsuits shall comply with the FINA Criteria for Materials and Approval Procedures. Until June 2010, the 2009 models can be used in order to protect the athlete from sunburn, jellyfish etc.
o Masters: the same swimwear regulations as per pool swimming will be applied from January 1, 2010.
“After the memorable 13th FINA World Championships last July in Rome (ITA) and the election of the new FINA Bureau for the period 2010-2013, this Meeting here in Thailand was very important for the implementation of our future goals. Together, and acting as a team, we have already accomplished a great amount of work in the last six months, but we must continue our effort for the enhancement of the FINA image and for the benefit of our 202 National Member Federations. I leave Bangkok pretty confident in the future”, considered FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione after the meeting.