Rome - World swimming federation Fina has released more information on the swimsuit materials and types it will allow in future, after a 28 July meeting of its bureau during the world chamionships in Rome.
Fina confirmed that swimsuits will have to be made only by textile fabric(s) and said "textile" will be defined by a group of scientific experts led by Prof Jan-Anders Manson, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland (Fina's base).
This definition will be available by 30 Sept 2009, Fina said.
As an initial definition, textile is, "Material consisting of, natural and/or synthetic, individual and non consolidated yarns used to constitute a fabric by weaving, knitting, and/or braiding."
Men's suit will only be allowed to cover from the navel to the knee, while women's "shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor extend below the knee," Fina said. No zippers or other fastening system will be permitted, neither will taping, or the wearing of multiple suits, the group added.
The news comes as US swimming star Michael Phelps, who won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, was beaten into second place in Rome in the men's 200m freestyle final by Germany's Paul Biedermann. The German, wearing an all-polyurethane-coated Arena X-Glide suit, "had the race of his life" according to a Fina statement. His time of 1.42.00 smashed Phelps' World Record from Beijing of 1:42.96l.
Now, according to press reports, Phelps' coach will not allow him to compete again until the new regulations are in place and the PU-coated suits have been outlawed. Phelps himself wears a Speedo LZR suit, the first high-tech type with PU and Neoprene panels which started the current record-breaking spate in swimming. Water-repellent polyurethane coated suits are claimed to streamline the body, aiding buoyancy and cutting drag.
Since early last year, swimming records have been falling at every meeting, most by swimmers wearing one or other of the new suits. Fina is reported as saying that these records will be allowed to stand. In Rome, eleven world records have fallen in two days of competition.
Other suit rules from Fina will cover the thickness of swimwear, with the current 1mm limit cut to 0.8mm, while the present value of 1 Newton for buoyancy will be reduced to 0.5 N. Fina said it "will even consider the limit of 0 Newton."
Permeability of the material must be more than 80l/m2/second, with values measured on material with a standard multi-directional stretch of 25 percent, but Fina said such parameters will be further considered by its scientific experts.