I am not alone in branding the decision by FINA, swimming's world governing body, to allow all fastskin suits as a joke. What I also cannot accept is their reasoning: essentially, that it's simply too hard to prove that a handful of suits may or may not have particular properties that assist the swimmer through the water.
FINA says all suits will be allowed provided they are available to all. They should have said, available to all who can afford them or have access to them under sponsor constraints. Richer countries and swimmers do; poorer countries and swimmers don't.
The far simpler, fairer response from FINA would have been to ban them all, every last one of them, requiring all swimmers to use just your conventional sluggoes (for blokes) and armless, legless versions for ladies. We have a useful definition in ocean swimming that FINA is welcome to adopt. Then, at least, we would get a contest amongst athletes, not their sponsors and their suits.
World swimming is a joke, a hopeless joke. And that's such a pity, because its athletes, by and large, are wonderful.
And when a sport pays greater heed to sponsors and their money, than to creating the environment for fair and even competition, then it is no longer a sport.
It's good that we in ocean swimming are not constrained by such hare-brained decision-making. No-one is the boss of us.
Vale, pool swimming as a credible sport.