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British Swimming Signs with Diana

Jun 13, 2001  - Anita Lonsbrough

A contract signed recently by the Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain with Diana Sport the Italian swimwear company has once again brought British swimmers into conflict with the governing body.

A bodysuit has been classed as technical equipment by both FINA (the world governing body) and the British Olympic Association. Under the new contract swimmers were to be given the choice of which bodysuit they wore providing it did not carry any logo or contrasting seams, stripes or other marks.

The swimmers were not happy with this. At a meeting with David Sparkes the chief executive held during training camp at Bath the swimmers expressed their feelings. Mr Sparkes agreed to consult further with them before completing the deal with Diana Sport. This never happened.

Last Saturday James Hickman acting chairman of the Swimming Competitors Association made a presentation to the board of the ASFGB, based on the "inequality of choice". Swimmers wanted freedom of choice on all swimwear.

Hickman was keen to point out "this was the feeling of all those who wear the body suit". The meeting acknowledge that not enough discussion had taken place with the swimmers and that in the future there must be more consultation.

It was also agreed that as there was not adequate time before the World Championships in Japan next month for swimmers to test the Diana swim suit with only one more event the Scottish Championships-the final World Championship trial.

So a compromise was agreed that the swimmers could wear what they liked in competition as long as there were no logos etc on the suits. During warm up and swim down Diana suits are to be worn.

But by the European Short Course Championships due to be held in December, only Diana swimsuits could be worn the body suit will be freedom of choice. This applies to all disciplines including the disabled. In the mean time the swimmer's lawyer is to meet with the ASFGB legal man to go through the contract and see what action if any can be taken by the competitors.