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French duo's record-setting suits not included in FINA list

THE suit Olympic champion Alain Bernard wore when breaking the blue riband 100 meters men's freestyle world record last month was missing from an approved list published by the sport's world governing body on Tuesday.

FINA's 202 approved swimsuits did not include the Arena X Glide worn by Bernard, who set the 100 record last month and became the first man to crack the 47 seconds barrier with 46.94.

The list also did not contain the Jaked 01 worn by Frederick Bousquet when he broke the 50m freestyle world record at the same French Championships in April.

Bousquet said earlier he would abide by FINA's ruling and said he'd already talked with another manufacturer in case the Jaked suit was banned.

"I'm not worried about it," the French star said after the Charlotte UltraSwim, where he defeated Michael Phelps in the 100 free while wearing a Jaked suit. "I'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 French federation (FFN) said those suits would be banned on French territory pending further clarifications from FINA.

"In the present context, pending further explanations from FINA, and as a precaution, all competitions organized on national territory will have to take place with one of (...) the FINA-approved suits," the FFN said in a statement.

"The FFN will closely watch the implication of the (FINA) measures on the ratification of the world records set during the French championships in Montpellier and will strive with its athletes so their performances are ratified," the FFN added.

Alarmed by more than 100 world records in the past 18 months, most from swimmers wearing new technology suits, FINA decided to reassess the standards of the suits.

At the heart of the controversy are new suits totally covered with polyurethane to aid buoyancy. The old suits only had polyurethane plates.

"After reviewing 348 swimsuits from 21 manufacturers.... the FINA Executive decided the following: 202 swimsuits approved, 10 swimsuits rejected for not passing the tests of buoyancy and/or thickness."

FINA said 136 other swimsuits needed to be modified to meet the requirement that "swimsuit material shall not be constructed to or include elements/systems which create air/water trapping effects during use".

FINA said the manufacturers had until June 19 to "resubmit the same swimsuit for FINA approval, with the corresponding corrections."

As more-and-more hi-tech suits appear on pool decks and world records tumble, the calls for some form of standardised manufacturing regulations have escalated.

The FINA list of approved suits comes ahead of the world championships which take place in Rome in July and August.


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