TYR APPEALS TO U.S.O.C. TO LIFT BAN
Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg
NEW YORK — Tyr Sport, which is contesting USA Swimming’s ban on the use of full-length swimsuits at next month’s Olympic trials, expects to get a ruling by the end of the week from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Concerned that the full-length swimsuits would not be available to all athletes for the trials, USA Swimming’s board banned them last fall. USA Swimming is the governing body for the U.S. Swim Team. This month, Tyr asked USA Swimming’s board to reconsider, and offered to suit up any swimmer with its Aquapel, a sleeveless, ankle-length version.
The Aquapel is made of Lycra spandex that is compressed, seared with a thermal heat application and coated with a water-repellent finish to minimize drag and turbulence in the water. Ashley Tappin, a favorite to make the U.S. team who won a gold medal in Atlanta, is one of the female swimmers who competes in Tyr’s Aquapel.
Adidas and Speedo also offer versions of full-length swimwear for competition.
After the board gave no indication about whether the ban would be reversed, and advised Tyr to address the issue with the USOC, Tyr did just that, according to a Tyr spokesman. Looking for a response within 48 hours — 21 days before the start of the Olympic Trials for swimming, Tyr filed “an emergency grievance” Wednesday with the USOC, he said.
Interestingly, U.S. swimmers are allowed to compete in full-length swimsuits at qualifying meets for the Olympic trials and they will have the option to wear them at the Olympics. Unlike most Olympic sports, swimmers are not required to wear the swimsuit of their sponsor. Each team wears their respective sponsor’s brand on the pool decks, but they do not have to wear that brand in the water. Some teams have other sponsors for their awards uniforms.
Tyr’s appeal is based on the fact that FINA, the international governing body for swimming, allows full-length swimsuits to be worn for competition. In accordance with the Amateur Sports Act, federal legislation passed in 1978, a national governing body can not impose stricter guidelines than an international governing body.
Officials at USA Swimming could not be reached for comment.
A U.S.O.C. spokesman said the grievance, which was reportedly sent to its legal counsel, had not been seen. The U.S.O.C.’s legal counsel was unavailable to comment.