FINA’s list of approved suits for world championships was released today (phase 1 of the FINA suit plan) and it has honestly made me more angry about swimsuits than I was before.
According to Swimming World, Blue Seventy has been left off completely, and the Arena X-Glide is out as well. SwimNews says that the Jaked suits on the list do not include the Jaked 01, which is the suit Fred Bousquet used when he broke the 21 barrier in the 50 free. In glancing at the list, I see TYR models A12, A7 and A10 which Swimming World also reports are the Tracer Rise, Tracer Light and another suit in development… so that means the TYR Titan is also gone.
Tony Austin brings up a great point as always, in that FINA is allowing people paid by Speedo to be on the committee that makes the decisions regarding the list, which is ridiculous. Tony and I are both on the same page in our thinking that Speedo has too much influence and this list pretty much proves us right. The line was drawn at the LZR, and every recent suit that could be considered better was removed from competition. If I were a betting man, I would have won big cash. I really worried that the LZR would be approved and anything better would be cut. Talk about dead on the money!!
Now here is where I have issues with all of it. Everyone knows I would love to do away with the tech, but I think that FINA has made a real blunder here. Keeping the LZR and ditching the rest leaves us no better… it actually makes it all worse:
1. They haven’t solved the issue of cost. The LZR is still $550 and new suits that comply will still have an outrageous price tag.
2. We still can't compare with past generations.
3. What do we do with records set in unapproved suits? Craig Lord is already proudly announcing that the sub-21 50 free by Bousquet and sub-47 100 free by Bernard never happened.
4. With the LZR still in play, don’t we still have the same issues with ‘performance enhancement?’ The “world record bull run” started with Speedo and their “2%” improvement.
5. What happens to all of those athletes who are sponsored by companies who will now be struggling because Speedo is the only major tech suit still legal?
6. The only issue that might be solved here is that of the “level playing field,” since now Speedo will own nearly 100% of the market share.
If you are gonna allow the LZR, you better allow the rest or you have solved ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You were right, Mr. Schubert. It is going to be a “real test of character.” And FINA might have just shown that they have none by allowing the richest swimsuit company to set the rules by which all the rest must play.
I think that this list might be the straw that broke the camel’s back to help TYR win their anti-trust lawsuit. Thoughts, anyone?