July 3: A Return To Textile-Only Suits?
Jun 5, 2009 - Craig Lord
Sources close to FINA's executive have let it be known that the ruling body has almost made up its mind: the fast suits, the non-permeables, the non-textiles must go. From January 1, 2010, there will be a return to textile-only suits depending on the votes of the 22 members of the FINA Bureau now being asked for the views to be returned to HQ by July 3.
The FINA suits commission is to meet in mid-June, to coincide with the June 19 deadline for resubmission for independent testing of suits modified since failing the first round of checks. The commission will not only look at the rest of 2009 but will consider where the line should be drawn from January 1, 2010.
The new mindset of the FINA executive is not hard to follow: we asked suit makers in good faith to work with us to reduce and weed out performance enhancement; some did, others took our invitation as a cue to press ahead with further development of devices aimed at enhancing performance beyond the natural capacity of the swimmer; we cannot control that world, not with science and not with clever wording of rules; time to return to textiles as soon as possible and then frame that world within the new suit approvals regime that means what it says when it comes to claiming that suits will be tested for compliance.
Once the views of the Bureau are known, FINA will be in a position to let suit makers know what they must set their production lines to for 2010.
Meantime, John Leonard, the head of ASCA and member of the FINA coaches commission, has given the following useful analysis of where the sport is on the suits issue and where it is going:
That latter point is key to the next stage of the decision-making process. It is possible to engineer textile suits in a way that is problematic in terms of providing stimulus to the central nervous system. As Leonard suggests, that can be dealt with by limiting coverage of material.