FINA announced in July last year that it would review whether the Soul Cap product designed to fit dreadlocks, braids and afros could be used if there was no benefit to be gained from using them.
The move came after some media quoted FINA as saying the cap could not be used at the Tokyo Olympics last year because it did not match “the natural shape of the head”.
“I am delighted that this swim cap has joined the list of FINA approved swimwear,” FINA Executive Director Brent Nowicki told Reuters. “This announcement follows…a review and discussion of cap design that has come closer to FINA and Soul Cap over the past year.
“Promoting diversity and inclusivity is at the heart of FINA’s work, and it’s very important that all aquatic athletes have access to appropriate swimwear.”
Soul Cap makers hailed FINA’s decision to add the cap to its list of approved swimwear beginning September 1.
“It’s been a long road to get here, with lots of ups and downs,” he said in a statement posted on his website.
“But the truth is, we couldn’t have done it without you. So on behalf of everyone here at Soul Cap, we want to thank you all in the swimming community for coming together to share your voice and raise awareness about accessibility and inclusion in sport.”
Black swimmers are fewer in elite swimming as the sport seeks to break down socio-economic barriers.
British Olympian Alice Dearing, who is black, had teamed up with Soul Cap to help promote greater diversity, some young black women reportedly put off swimming due to hair issues.