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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

Annotated Ruling Letter from Kathy Casey

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i just received the following via email, and I suspect many of you have, as well.

I must say that I find the snifter of suit catastrophe in the air absolutely delicious!

I am going to post Kathy Casey's excellent letter of clarification of what is known and unknown at this point in time, while adding a few comments, questions, observations, and suggestions of my own. Mine will be in red; Kathy's in original black.


Hi, back atcha! I must say, I have been noticing you, too!

In light of new swimsuit testing and approval being conducted by FINA according to its recent "Dubai Charter", the following is U.S. Masters Swimming's official interpretation of Swimwear rule 102.14:

Sorry to be nitpicky here, but how did the international governing body for competitive swimming end up making key decisions in a desert nation?


FINA approval or rejection of new swimwear introduced after September 30, 2007, will be accepted by U.S. Masters Swimming for U.S.M.S. sanctioned and recognized competition.

What exactly happened on September 30th, 2007 that made this such a pivotal point in time? Is this when some new suit debuted?

I Googled the date and managed to find the following political cartoon, but I am not sure what, if anything, this has to do with swimming costumes:

The following interpretation regarding the use of two suits during competition is effective immediately. This interpretation conforms to the recent interpretations issued by FINA (03/15/09) and USA Swimming (03/18/09).


For purposes of Article 102.14 of U.S. Masters Swimming Rules of Competition, Swimwear, the use of more than one suit at a time during any U.S.M.S. sanctioned or recognized competition is prohibited.

This Article 102.14 of which you so confidently speak--how do we know it actually exists? Are you absolutely sure you don't mean Codicil 102.14 of Article Subsection 27-A paragraph 4 xiv?
How do you intend to prove this to a "B70-Conspiracy-Theory-Friendly" audience of vigilantes? Will the proof be offered in an American court under our, shall we say, highly malleable rules of law? Or do you intend to have it tried in Dubai under some sort of Wahhabi Doctrine, punishable by hand removal?


1. Question: Can I wear a regular racing suit that is not a body suit?

Answer: Yes, suits introduced prior to September 30, 2007, are legal for U.S.M.S. competition.

Must I wear a suit at all? And if I must, must CreamPuff? In the case of an affirmative in the latter case, give me 117 good reasons why.

2. Question: Can I wear my LZR at nationals in May?

Answer: At this point questions about suits (those introduced after
September 30, 2007) for nationals cannot be answered because the new list of
FINA-approved suits has not been published nor is there a set date for
publication of that list by FINA. Until FINA publishes the new list of
approved suits, the current status of approved or rejected suits is in
effect; therefore, your LZR is currently approved for competition until the
new FINA list is published. However, should U.S.M.S. officially receive
information that any of currently marketed suits introduced after September
30, 2007, have been rejected by FINA, those suits will no longer be
considered legal.

You menton "your LSR" as in, I presume, "my LSR." Where is it? What have you done with my LSR? To the best of my knowledge, I have never received my LSR from USMS. Was this a membership premium that I somehow failed to receive? If so, please send immediately, because I plan to use it in all non-Dubai covered competitions.

3. Question: Why can't questions about suits for nationals be answered now?

Answer: According to the Dubai Charter (published by FINA 03/15/09),
manufacturers must resubmit their suits for approval by March 31, 2009. The
suits will be retested under a new system for buoyancy (no more than 1
Newton), material (no thicker than 1 mm), and construction (no trapping of
air), just to mention a few criteria. At the point of publication by FINA
of newly approved suits, the questions about legal suits for nationals can
be answered.

Or, to put it less politely, because we don't want to.

Na na na na naaaa na!

FINA, after letting many of you twist in the wind with regards to the IGLA world records situation, wants a new issue to cause those whom it "represents" to suffer over for a while.

Suffering builds character. This is an implicit part of FINA's mission.

4. Question: How will this impact Masters competitors?

Unofficial Answer: It's going to ruin them.

Official Answer: That LZR, TYR, or Blueseventy suit you bought after September 30,
2007, is legal at this moment, but it could be illegal after the new
FINA-approved swimsuit list is published. Regardless of the new list, that
old Fastskin that you have will be legal since it was introduced prior to
September 30, 2007.

5. Question: My coach is forcing me to swim the 1650 Free as a training
swim. Can I wear a drag suit over my jammers?

Answer: No. Although wearing an extra drag suit may not be perceived as
having an advantage, the interpretation is that only one swimsuit is

Ordinarily, one would think that coaches would not be allowed to force you to do anything. However, upon closer reading of the FINA rulings from Dubai, we have found that slavery is, indeed, legal in that part of the world. We encourage you to do what he or she forces you to do, and gladly, or get used to the sting of bullwhips crackin'!

Try to see the humor here. It is, you must agree, a a rather risible twist on the meaning of "master", eh? And all the time you thought you were the "Massa"!

6. Question: Does "one suit for competition" mean I can only wear one suit
for the whole meet?

Answer: No. You can change suits during the meet, (True or false? you need a note from your doctor documenting an existing yeast or other form of fungal infection, AKA, "crotch rot," aggavated by hours spent in damp clothing?) but you can only wear one
suit at a time. This restriction applies only to the actual races
(competition). Where do I sign up as volunteer "Citizen Swimmer Inspector"? Is it true that guys like me will be issued special cards that allow all hours access to the Women's Changing rooms, plus indemnity against any "nuisance" harassment suits filed during the discharge of our inspection duties? You can wear more than one suit during warm-up and
warm-down. This restriction applies to all types, makes, and models of swim
suits, but it is not intended to apply to athletic supporters or modesty
type wear (a single pair of "briefs" or "bikini bottoms or top" or a sports
bra worn to ensure modesty and privacy).

I don't get it. Do I have to wear a bra? What about my home-made bubble wrap "modesty" vest cum codpiece? Surely this is still legal?

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Thanks, Kathy. If I can think of more, I will not hesitate to post them!

Kathy Casey, Chair,

U.S. Masters Swimming Rules Committee

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  1. SwimRobin's Avatar
    You crack me up Jimby!
  2. Iwannafly's Avatar
    Sorry to be nitpicky here, but how did the international governing body for competitive swimming end up making key decisions in a desert nation?
    Dubai is at the southern end of the Persian Gulf and despite the fact that it is a desert nation, it is right on the ocean. Plus, Dubai has all the cool, man-made islands in the shape of palm trees and the globe and whatnot!
  3. tjrpatt's Avatar
    I love the part where the coach is forcing someone to swim the 1650!
  4. quicksilver's Avatar
    Very funny.
    You may be onto something with the bubble wrap.

    But seriously. Thin ice man. Thin ice.
  5. jim thornton's Avatar
    I don't think Article 102.14 of U.S. Masters Swimming Rules of Competition yet bars swimming on thin ice, which is, correct me if am wrong, a form of water. When I swim in this particular venue, the bubble wrap vest and modesty codpiece are absolutely critical to preventing abrasions.
  6. swimshark's Avatar
    Good ones, Jim
  7. quicksilver's Avatar
    The rules committee is going to be watching you Mr. Inhaler.
    And so is Shane Powers. You're swimming on thin ice man.

    That's not allowed. No sir.
  8. jim thornton's Avatar
    I had forgotten about Shane Powers! Thanks for reminding me that threats are ubiquitous in life, coming not just from FINA and B70 conspiracy theorists lead by one Ms. Leslie Fortress, Esquire, but also from people you do not know but hate you anyhow, like Mr. Shane Powers, criminal recidivist!
  9. quicksilver's Avatar
    That's where "thin ice" comes from.
  10. jim thornton's Avatar
    Yes, yes! It all comes back to me now. At first I thought you meant that any dissent over the decisions of Chairman FINA might get a humble vlogger booted off this site for impertinence to our magisterial overlords from Tunisia or wherever, with their inability to swim themselves and gluttonous taste for life's finest accouterments and appurtenances! But now I realize what you meant, and that there will be no stifling of opining here at the home of one of the Vlog the Inhalers, i.e., the non-smoking less criminally insane one!
  11. quicksilver's Avatar
    It was a double entendre. Meaning both Kathy Casey and Shane Powers may be inclined to give you a 'beat down' (whatever that means)....should you continue the public scrutiny of the rule book.

    I am not sure where the Tunisians fit in however. Surely you do want wish to seek their wrath.
  12. jim thornton's Avatar
    I had heard at my last meeting of the B70 Conspiracy Theorists study group that the head of FINA was a wildly overspending pig-at-the-trough non-swimming junketeer of the sort that might make King Tut look abstemious, and this fellow is from Tunisia, or Morocco, or one of the other nations in that dessicated part of the world. A place where IGLA meets are frowned upon in public and perchance convened for Turkish amusment in the privacy of one of the many, many palaces bought with FINA luchre.

    But we didn't dally long on this topic. I think everyone was anxious to move on to controversial subjects.