Lausanne, Switzerland - Some aspects of the polyurethane-reliant swimsuits worn to break many records at the Beijing Olympics last year may be outlawed, if the sport's governing body amends regulations covering swimwear at its forthcoming 12-14 March meeting in Dubai.
Fina and 16 swimwear manufacturers met in Lausanne 20 Feb to consider tighter rules on suit construction to prevent the sport being accused of "technical doping."
Some 108 world records have been broken since early last year, and a large proportion of these new records were made by swimmers wearing the Speedo LZR (pictured), which made its debut last year. This suit uses polyurethane panels, embedded in the water-repellent elastane/nylon base fabric. This streamlines the swimmer's shape and cuts muscle fatigue. Swimmers report feeling more buoyant in the water with the LZR.
If some of the amendments being discussed go through, the long-sleeved Adidas suit that Ian Thorpe wore to win five Olympic Gold medals would have to be modified. One of the recommendations is that suits should stop at the shoulders and not extend below the ankles or cover the neck.
Also about to be banned is the wearing of more than one suit. This follows reports that Italian Olympic medallist Federica Pellegrini wore three suits, and apparently resembled the 'Michelin Man.'
Based on Fina's proposals and contributions discussed in Lausanne, in March in Dubai, the Fina Bureau will consider other amendments which include a maximum material thickness of 1mm, and that in use the material will follow the body shape and not create air trapping.
A limit to buoyancy effects of more than 1 Newton (100gr) is also proposed.
Fina will also consider limiting the use of non-permeable material.
These amendments indicate Fina's aim to monitor evolution of swimwer to keep the integrity of the sport, indicated Fina president Mustapha Larfaoui, in an official statement.
"While we need to remain open to evolution, the most important factors must be the athletes' preparation and physical condition on achieving their performances," Larfaoui added.