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FINA Suit List Due May; Bernard 'Body' In Testing

Apr 24, 2009  - Craig Lord

FINA will publish a list of all approved suits sometime in May, a spokesman confirmed to SwimNews today - along with an acknowledgment that Alain Bernard (FRA) raced to a world record of 46.96 in the 100m freestyle at French nationals in an Arena suit, the X-Glide, that has not yet been approved for use in competition. 

The independent testing process currently being carried out in a laboratory at Lausanne University in Switzerland is in the midst of compiling a list of ticks and possibly crosses. That work will translate to a list of approved suits "within a couple of weeks, probably". 

A FINA spokesman added: "The tests are not finished. We are in a transition period. It is a difficult moment timing-wise. We did not want to put out an incomplete list of what is and what is not approved so far. One list is what we will publish."

As far as Bernard's record is concerned, FINA would wait to receive the documentation that must accompany the submission of a world record, including anti-doping certification, suit details, time place and much more. "Only when we have all of that will we be able to make a decision, as in any case," said the spokesman.

Here is the the new FINA world record form, as of March, 2009.

Clearly, ratification of the record would require retrospective approval of the suit that Bernard wore and a blind eye turned to the circumstances of the moment in Montpellier that a suit maker chose to launch a product competitive with all the other approved performance enhancers parading the pool decks of the world at this point in the transition from chaos to what FINA is hoping will be a place that restores integrity, balance and fairness to the sport. Debate about the definition of fairness and the status of swimming as an equipment-based sport this summer is likely to continue until the "transition period" on suits is much further down a tunnel that looks set to bypass the 2009 world championships, though we will not know that for sure until FINA's list is published.