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FINA to rule on swimsuits

The swimsuit controversy takes another turn next week when a panel of swimming experts decides which models of high-tech swimsuits can be worn at the world championships In Rome this year.

The sport’s governing body FINA said yesterday that independent laboratory tests have been completed on all models of suits which have been used by swimmers to rewrite the sport’s record book in the past 15 months. An incredible 108 world records were broken last year and already 18 marks have fallen this year.

‘Now we have the results of the tests,” FINA said in a statement. The commission will analyse the results and draw a list of the swimsuits that are approved and not approved.’

The commission, which includes technical officials, athletes and coaches, will meet at FINA headquarters in Lausanne to decide which suits can be worn at the July 19-August 2 worlds, and for the rest of the year.

Testing on suits’ thickness, buoyancy and permeability was carried out last month by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

And if that was not enough a second round of updated tests will be done later this year to create a new list of approved suits for use in competition from January 1 next year.

FINA’s action is in response to the rapid development of new materials and designs in swimsuits which has been described by critics as ‘technological doping’.

FINA was criticised for allowing the suits to be used at last year’s Beijing Olympics and failing to provide a clear distinction between an acceptable suit and one that enhances performance.