1 Aug 2009

Ban on swim suits to start in new year

1:21 pm on 1 August 2009

Swimming's world governing body has confirmed that performance-enhancing, non-textile swimsuits will be banned from January first 2010.

Fina had said the ban might not take effect until April or May, three or four months later than expected.

But it was brought forward when Olympic legend Michael Phelps threatened to withdraw until the suits were outlawed.

35 world records have been set in the first six days of the current Fina World championships in Rome.

Only two of the current world records, both men's and women's, were set before the introduction of polyurethane suits in 2008.

And, with the ban being implemented in January, it is likely that many of the current records may not be broken for many years.

The return to common textile suits, men in shorts and women in suits above the knee and to the shoulder strap, would mean world records will be almost impossible to better in the short term.

The World Swimming Federation's decision came amid calls from a number of national swimming federations for record-breaking suits to be banned.

However, the question of exactly how to define "allowable textiles" is unlikely to be determined until the next Fina bureau meeting in September or October.