Tuesday, May 26, 2009

10 swimsuits banned, world records could be scratched

WORLD swimming chiefs have banned 10 swimsuits because they give an unfair advantage, but the legitimacy of some world records remains unclear.

After putting all 348 swimsuits from 21 manufacturers under a full review, FINA yesterday rejected 10, ordered modifications to 136 and approved 202.

But Australian sprinter Eamon Sullivan will have to wait until after further investigations to find out if the 50m and 100m freestyle world records will be returned to him.

Frenchmen Alain Bernard and Frederic Bousquet wore Arena's X-Glide and Jaked 01 respectively when they broke Sullivan's records, but both designs did not appear on FINA's approved list.

But the ruling body did not specify whether they were rejected outright or whether they would need to be modified.

"I didn't know there could possibly be 348 different designed suits in the world," said Australian head coach Alan Thompson, speaking from the FINA summit in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"You would have to think a world record would have to be swum by an athlete in an approved suit.

"This has been a very valuable exercise and we now have to get back to giving recognition to the athletes and not the suits."

For Sullivan it was business as usual yesterday as he prepares for the July-August Rome world titles, but he was eager for an end to the saga.

"All we need is a clear guide on what is and isn't legal so the sport of swimming can move away from the focus on the suits," Sullivan said.

"Whether or not the times that have been swum recently stand up is up to FINA, but no matter what they decide, they are the times I'm now targeting."

A FINA statement said the 10 swimsuits were rejected "for not passing the tests of buoyancy and/or thickness".

Regarding the 136 that required modifications, it added: "They don't fulfil the requirement stating that 'swimsuit material shall not be constructed to or include elements/systems which create air/water trapping effects during use'.

"The manufacturers have now a deadline of maximum 30 days (until June 19) to resubmit the same swimsuit for FINA approval, with the corresponding corrections."

The use of swimsuits has caused huge controversy in the sport because some experts, including some top swimmers, believe their use gives an unfair advantage in the pool.with AFP

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