The World’s aquatic governing body has announced that swimmers will now be able to wear technology during swimming races.
“The use of technology and automated data collection devices is permissible for the sole purpose of collecting data. Automated devices shall not be utilized to transmit data, sounds, or signals to the swimmer and may not be used to aid their speed.”
This means it will be legal to “wear” technology to collect the swimmer’s data for research, education, and entertainment However, that data cannot be used in real-time to inform swimmers on how they are going, nor assist them with communication throughout the race.
The impact of this FINA rule change will impact the sport for a generation. A positive outcome is that feedback will be provided on swimmers performance in real time to their coach and potentially the public. But will the top swimmers want to wear the technology, particularly if the data is shared through tv coverage and to others?
To look at how this can work and the outcomes for the sport, let’s take a look.