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FINA rules on suits

The battle over hi-tech swimming suits rages on with governing body FINA rejecting 10 racing suits and approving 202 others on Tuesday ahead of July’s world championships.

FINA’s expert panel sent back 136 models to the manufacturers, who now have 30 days to resubmit modified designs.

Eighteen of the  21 makers who submitted suits for laboratory tests on thickness, buoyancy and water resistance had designs cleared for competition in 2009.

However, the approved list did not include polyurethane suits worn by French freestylers Frederick Bousquet and Alain Bernard when they set unofficial world records last month.

Bousquet had worn an Italian Jaked 01 model during the fastest men’s 50 freestyle, and Bernard wore Arena’s X-Glide suit in the men’s 100m.

It was not clear if the suits were rejected or need to be modified, as FINA did not identify suits or manufacturers that were not approved by the panel at an emergency meeting on Monday. ‘We don’t want to get into controversy with manufacturers, or get into more speculation,’ FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu said.

‘ I’m not worried about it,’ French star Bousquet said after the Charlotte UltraSwim at the weekend, where he defeated Michael Phelps in the 100 freestyle while wearing a Jaked suit. ”ll have to adapt to it. I’m not going to try to go against it. I’m not going to try to fight it. I’m not going to complain if the suit is banned. I’m just going to go with FINA. They are the masterminds.’

The Jaked 03 design was approved, while Speedo got 12 designs approved in its LZR range worn by the majority of swimmers who set 108 world-record times last year.

Leading scientist Jan-Anders Manson ‘s lab team will conduct a second round of tests later this year. FINA will create a shorter list to regulate race-ready suits that can be used from Jan. 1, 2010.


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