By Swimming Australia / May 2021

Inclusive Swimwear Policy

Swimming Australia has released its new groundbreaking, nationwide Inclusive Swimwear Policy, which follows the recent release of the renewed National Inclusive Swimming Framework.

The Framework firmly commits everyone in swimming to these goals:

  • All Australians feel welcome, safe, valued and celebrated in swimming.
  • All Australians can participate in the role and at the level of their choice in swimming.
  • Australia’s diversity is reflected in swimming.

A key piece of work stemming from the renewed Framework is the development of the Inclusive Swimwear Policy. This new Policy will allow all swimmers at all competition levels to wear alternative or modified swimwear, guaranteeing no swimmer is excluded or discriminated against because of competitive swimwear.
Swimming Australia’s President, Kieren Perkins said he was proud to release this new policy.

“Choice is an important enabler of inclusion,” Perkins said.

“I am excited that this new policy will encourage participation in all levels of swimming by offering greater choice in swimwear that accommodates and supports the individual needs of our competitive swimming members.”

Why the Policy is needed?

Lack of appropriate competitive swimwear options are a key barrier to participation in swimming for many people in the community. It was found that for some swimmers the standard competitive swimsuit options outlined within the Swimming Australia rules did not suit their individual needs and preferences. This may be attributed to a range of factors including but not limited to a swimmer’s cultural or religious observations, gender identity and expression, impairment, hygiene or medical needs, modesty, body image and cost.

The Inclusive Swimwear Policy seeks to accommodate and support swimmers’ individual needs and encourage participation and involvement in swimming competitions at all levels, for all Australians.

Key points of the Policy:

  • Any swimmer at all levels of competition in Australia can request to wear modified or alternate swimwear, as long as this is presented to the Technical Manager or Meet Referee prior to the swimmer’s first session of competition.
  • All swimmers are eligible for an Australian Record if they wear approved modified or alternative swimwear.
  • Swimmers may choose a swimwear style that covers additional body surface including the legs, arms and/or head.
  • If approved within the policy, there is no limit to the number of pieces the swimwear may be made from and swimmers may wear additional layers over a traditional swimsuit.
  • Swimwear which the Technical Manager or Meet Referee believes would be capable of unfairly enhancing a swimmer’s performance will not be permitted.
  • Swimwear which the Technical Manager or Meet Referee believes would cause a safety risk will not be permitted.

What swimwear is allowable?

This Policy allows for increased range and choice of swimwear styles and use cases.

Examples of acceptable swimwear

Enquiries or feedback about this policy including clarifications on acceptable swimwear may be directed to [email protected]

The full policy and supporting resources can be found at www.swimming.org.au/inclusion.