FINA’s swimsuit regulations In 2009
FINA rewrote the competitive swimming regulations, to take effect from 1 January 2010. The new rules required that swimsuits met double the number of criteria that they had in 2009 in order to gain FINA approval, which included passing fourteen distinct tests. These tests were developed with the aim of determining whether the swimsuit had the capacity to ‘affect’ swimmers’ performances in a way that was illegal based on the rules of the sport.
They include multiple tests for buoyancy, body compression, body coverage, roughness and thickness. Undertaking the tests requires the use of a variety of equipment, including scanners, measuring tools and an underwater camera (Manson, 2010), demonstrating that the addition of the new rules included the expansion of the swimming network to include a variety of test mechanisms that were not previously required.
This expansion of the swimming network was deemed necessary owing to FINA’s determination that a particular type of popular swimsuit – the full-body, polyurethane suit – had impacted on swimming results in a significant way for several years, culminating in the World Championships in 2009.