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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Swimming Fast Under FINA Rules

FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur) announced its list of approved swimsuits, swim caps and goggles as of March 12th 2014.

Compiling, testing and approving this comprehensive list cannot be an easy task to administer and complete.

After reading the list here, we had the following random observations:

1. No mention was made of open water swimming specific items such as ear plugs or other potentially useful specific or generic GPS-guidance units.
2. Would bubble caps fall within or outside the FINA criteria for approve swim caps?
3. How realistically can goggles be aqua dynamically advantageous in the open water under dynamic conditions?
4. It was interesting that FINA specifically pointed out that no hard helmets can be worn. Perhaps they were specifically thinking about the physicality used in competitive open water swimming competitions?
5. Spoilers and rigs on swim caps sounds sorta cool. Maybe not for competition, but for looks and fun.
6. There are so many swimsuit, swim cap and goggle manufacturers around the world. This is one excellent sign of the commercial viability of the swimming market.

FINA's swimsuit criteria is as follows:

3.1.1 Swimsuit Design
• Decency: the wearing of the swimsuit shall not offend morality and good taste (in particular, but not exclusively, because of the cut of the suit and body parts exposure whether covered or not).
• Surface covered (shape);
For swimsuits used in pool swimming competitions:
• Men’s swimsuits shall not extend above the navel or below the knee.
• Women’s swimsuits shall not cover the neck or extend past the shoulders, or below the knee.

For swimsuits used in open water swimming competitions:
• Men’s and Women’s swimsuits shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, or extend below the ankle.
• NB: Swimsuits fulfilling shape requirements for pool competitions comply a fortiori with shape requirements for Open Water swimming competitions.
• Composition/other items: Men’s swimsuits are in one piece. Subject to observance of the decency rule and limitations of the body surface covered, women’s swimsuits may be in one or two pieces. Other items covering the body that are not part of the swimsuit are prohibited.
• Colours: To avoid any doubt, colours will not be considered as part of the design for the purpose of these rules.

3.1.2.Material (general)
• Health: The material used must not put the health of the athletes at risk.
• Type of material: the material used for swimsuits can be only "Textile Fabric(s)". For the purpose of these rules, this is defined as material consisting of, natural and/or synthetic, individual and non-consolidated yarns used to constitute a fabric by weaving, knitting, and/or braiding.
• Surface treatment of the textile fabric: any material added on to the surface of the textile fabric (e.g. coating, printing, impregnation) shall not close the open mesh structure of the base textile fabric. The treated material shall also comply with all requirements, particularly in regard to thickness, permeability and flexibility. This part of the rule does not apply to logos and labels. This applies to both the manufacturing level and the actual use of the swimsuit.
• Flexibility: the material shall be flexible and soft folding.
• Regular flat material: The material shall be regular and flat. The material shall not form outstanding shapes or structures, such as scales.
• Outside application: No outside application shall be added on the material.
• Variety of materials: Different materials may be used in one swimsuit provided they are textile fabrics as defined above; and they comply with all other criteria including thickness and permeability. Furthermore, combining materials shall not create any outstanding shape(s) or structure(s). Layered materials must be attached/ bound together except where required to protect sensitive parts ("privacy layers").

3.1.3.Material (measured values)
• Thickness: The total thickness of material/s used shall have a maximum value of 0.8mm. The thickness of layered materials is the total thickness of all layers are measured together. It is clarified that this maximum thickness does not apply to seams as far as the seams are functional, and their thickness and width result from their natural functions.
• Buoyancy: The swimsuit shall not have a buoyancy effect above 0.5 Newton measured after application of vacuum.
• Permeability: material(s) used must have at any point a permeability value of more than 80 l/m2/second. Permeability values are measured on material with a standard multidirectional stretch of 25 %. However, measures on material which cannot be significantly stretched will be carried out on unstretched, flattened material. Permeability of layered materials is the permeability of layers measured together.

3.1.4.Construction
• No zippers or other fastening system is allowed.
• Seams shall be limited to functional systems and shall not create outside shapes. Use of seams (notably number, overall length, disposition) shall not affect compliance with the criteria set forth herein.
• External stimulation or influence: swimsuits which include any system providing external stimulation or influence of any type, including pain reduction, chemical/medical substance release, electro-stimulation etc. are prohibited.

3.2.1. Cap Design
• Independent item: the cap shall not be attached to the swimsuit or goggles nor be in continuity therewith (i.e.no "hood" or "mask" effect).
• Shape: The shape shall follow the natural form of the head.
• Surface: The outer surface shall not include outside artificial shaping such as rigs or spoilers and similar.

3.2.2.Material

• Health: The material used must not put the health of the athletes at risk.
• Hardness: no hard material (material can have some rigidity but shall be able to follow the shape of the head: no hard helmets).
• Types: Different types of materials may be used on the same cap. They can be of different thicknesses. However, differences in the thickness of different materials shall not be used to form shapes.

3.2.3.Construction
• Seams if any shall be functional and shall not create outside shapes.

3.3.1. Goggle Design
• Independent item: the goggles shall not be attached to the cap nor be in continuity therewith (no "mask" effect).

3.3.2.Material/construction:
• Health. The material used or the construction must not put the health of the athletes at risk nor create a risk of injury.
• Safety standards and functionality: the goggles shall comply with prevailing safety standards for eyewear. Goggles have the function to protect the eyes against water and ensure visibility. Their design or construction shall serve these functions and especially shall not seek to obtain aquadynamic advantages (e.g. through extended shapes not related to the above functions).

FINA has approved 1,509 items from 77 manufacturers around the world including 783 female suits, 539 male suits, 71 swim caps, and 116 goggles. The manufacturers on the 2014 list include:

*A3 Performance - 2 female suits, 1 male suit
*Adidas - 5 female suits, 6 male suits, 2 caps, 2 goggles
*Agon - 11 female suits, 9 male suits
*Akron - 9 female suits, 7 male suits
*Aquadeus - 2 female suits, 2 male suits, 2 caps
*Aqualung - 3 female suits, 1 male suit
*Aquarapid - 6 female suits, 6 male suits
*Aquarius - 2 female suits, 1 male suit
*Aquaside - 1 female suit, 1 male suit
*Aquatak - 3 female suits, 4 male suits
*Aquazone - 10 female suits, 4 male suits
*Arena - 40 female suits, 24 male suits, 3 caps, 4 goggles
*Argotess - 3 female suits, 2 male suits
*Asics - 56 female suits, 29 male suits, 4 caps, 5 goggles
*Autric Sport - 2 female suits, 2 male suits
*Baysics - 1 goggles
*blueseventy - 12 female suits, 8 male suits
*Decathlon - 3 female suits, 4 male suits, 1 cap, 2 goggles
*Delfina - 1 female suit, 1 male suit
*Descente - 94 female suits, 63 male suits, 5 caps, 10 goggles
*Diana - 21 female suits, 11 male suits, 1 cap
*Dolfin - 3 female suits, 3 male suits
*Draph - 3 female suits, 3 male suits
*Engine - 10 female suits, 5 male suits
*Essenuoto - 2 female suits, 2 male suits
*Euras - 2 female suits
*Fashy - 4 female suits, 4 male suits, 1 cap
*Few - 7 female suits, 6 male suits
*Finis - 12 female suits, 15 male suits, 1 cap
*First Ranked - 1 goggles
*Footmark - 1 female suit, 1 male suit
*Gimer - 2 female suits, 2 male suits
*Hammerhead Sports - 4 female suits, 2 male suits, 2 caps, 4 goggles
*Head - 10 female suits, 10 male suits, 4 caps, 7 goggles
*Huub - 2 female suits, 2 male suits
*Inus - 1 male suit
*Jaked - 23 female suits, 18 male suits, 2 caps, 3 goggles
*KEO - 8 female suits, 9 male suits, 1 cap, 2 goggles
*Kiefer - 1 female suit, 1 male suit
*Kobayashi Gomu - 4 female suits, 4 male suits
*Lane 4 - 15 female suits, 12 male suits, 1 cap, 1 goggles
*Leonian KK - 3 female suits, 3 male suits, 1 cap
*Mad Wave - 5 female suits, 4 male suits, 1 cap, 1 goggles
*Malmsten - 4 goggles
*Maru - 11 female suits, 7 male suits
*Miyata - 1 female suit, 1 male suit
*Mizuno - 104 female suits, 73 male suits, 7 caps, 13 goggles
*Modeta Style - 1 female suit, 1 male suit
*Mosconi - 4 female suits, 3 male suits
*Multisport - 4 female suits, 3 male suits
*Nike - 21 female suits, 9 male suits, 7 caps, 10 goggles
*Orca - 2 female suits, 2 male suits
*Rallysport - 2 female suits, 2 male suits
*Rocket Science Sports - 16 female suits, 19 male suits, 1 cap
*Sanwa - 3 caps
*Sassis-Schwimmshop - 2 female suits
*Sazan - 1 female suit, 1 male suit
*Second Skins - 2 female suits, 1 male suit
*Shibro - 1 female suit, 1 male suit
*Speedo (146, 16 added) -- 90 female suits, 41 male suits, 8 caps, 7 goggles
*Sports Hig - 41 female suits, 21 male suits, 1 cap
*Swans - 2 caps, 17 goggles
*The Finals - 2 female suits, 2 male suits
*Tulip - 6 female suits, 3 male suits
*Turbo - 3 female suits, 3 male suits, 1 cap, 2 goggles
*TYR - 29 female suits, 26 male suits, 5 caps, 5 goggles
*Tyron - 3 female suits, 1 male suit
*VA Project - 7 female suits, 7 male suits, 1 cap
*View - 6 goggles
*Vorgee Pty - 3 goggles
*Way Funky - 2 female suits, 3 male suits
*Yamamoto Hokosho - 8 female suits, 8 male suits, 1 cap
*Yamanami - 1 cap
*Yingfa - 8 female suits, 3 male suits
*Zaosu - 2 female suits, 1 male suit
*Zoggs - 5 goggles
*Zwei - 3 female suits, 4 male suits, 1 cap, 1 goggles

The FINA approved swimsuit list is here.

Photo above shows Pádraig Mallon.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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