FINA headquarters in Lausanne is abuzz with suit makers and/or their latest products this week as the international federation meets today to consider the latest application for suit approval. This is the last-chance saloon for manufacturers keen to catch-up with Speedo in the new era of performance-enhancing polyurethane and compression technology.
SwimNews understands that the two main market players beyond Speedo, Arena and adidas, have submitted updates to their latest suits in the wake of the launch of the LZR Racer, which set new standards in suit design and in which swimmers have set an unprecedented (for this time of year in Olympic year throughout the modern history of the sport) 30 world records so far this year. Arena hopes to have its product on the skins of swimmers in time for intensive testing in race conditions during the Mare Nostrum Tour, which gets underway in Monte Carlo this weekend.
Cornel Marculescu, Executive Director of FINA, explained that the approval meeting would normally have been held in late June but that the federation had brought the date forward to today in order to give suit makers time to prepare themselves and the athletes they sponsor time to adjust and prepare for Beijing 2008.
Expect to see a greater number of panels at a pool near you soon. Meantime, you can read more on the background of the suits war and where it led the sport in February and March this year in the latest edition of SwimNews Magazine.