On October 4th the MSC board voted to set January 1st, 2010 as the date when new suit rules will come into effect for Masters competitions in Canada. As of that date Masters suit rules will follow the suit rules set by FINA for youth and elite swimming and be the same as SNC rules.
The board chose January 1st as the effective date because Masters competition age is based on year of birth, and rankings are done by calendar year rather than season. Since Masters does not use qualifying times the considerations that led to SNC implementing the new rules immediately do not apply to Masters.
The board recognizes that opinion on the new suit rules is divided and there is no solution that will satisfy everyone. The board decided that following the international FINA rules was the only viable course but decided to implement the change on January 1st rather than waiting for formal approval by the FINA bureau later in January in order to preserve a level playing field for 2010 rankings. If the FINA Bureau goes in an unexpected direction in January the board will react expeditiously.
The FINA/SNC description of the new rules is:
MATERIAL - The material of swimwear will definitively be constituted only by textile fabric(s). The FINA definition of "textile" currently is: "Material consisting of, natural and/or synthetic, individual and non-consolidated yarns used to constitute a fabric by weaving, knitting, and/or braiding."
SHAPE - MEN: swimwear shall not extend above the navel or below the knee. WOMEN: swimwear shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor extend below knee. No zippers or other fastening system is allowed.
USE - Swimmers shall wear only one swimsuit, taping is not permitted.
CONSISTENCY - Swimwear effectively manufactured and used shall correspond to and be fully consistent with FINA approved samples. Any modification before use (including impregnation) is prohibited. Moreover, there shall be no variation/modification for individual swimmers.