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If you’ve been keeping up with us lately, you’ll know we’ve had a busy year.
Between our partnership with historic Olympian Alice Dearing, the celebration of our 5th year in the swim community – and a whole host of new products and partnerships along the way – we’ve had plenty to be grateful for in the last twelve months.
But today, we’ve got a huge new success to share with you – and it’s a success that affects the entire swimming community.
It’s been a long road getting here, with plenty of ups and downs on the way.
But the truth is: we couldn’t have done it without you.
So from everyone here at SOUL CAP, we want to thank all of you in the swim community for coming together to share your voices and raise awareness about accessibility and inclusion in the sport.
And if you haven’t been keeping up?
Here’s what you need to know:
In the run-up to the 2021 Olympics, as we prepared to watch Alice Dearing become the first Black woman to swim for Great Britain, we submitted the SOUL CAP for FINA approval.
We were applying for a place on their approved list of competitive swimwear – with the hope that our inclusive design would help to encourage more swimmers to get involved in competitions.
Unfortunately, that application was rejected.
Our design was unconventional. And back then, there just wasn’t enough awareness about the challenges faced by swimmers from some backgrounds.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
After an outpouring of support from swimmers like you – a wave that swept across the swim community all over the world – people started to take notice.
Our story was picked up by news outlets across the globe: from the BBC and The Guardian to The New York Times and CNN.
It sparked a public discussion around diversity in swimming: about the steps we can take to open up the sport to promote greater accessibility and inclusion at every level.
Following this huge global debate, FINA issued an apology for their rejection, and invited us to re-apply for consideration.
After a fresh application process – and in large part thanks to the massive efforts of swimmers like you – we’re proud to announce that SOUL CAP is now officially approved for use by FINA.
Before this new approval, the swim caps on FINA’s list followed a conventional design.
They were all made for people with shorter or thinner hair types – and there was nothing made to fit people with braids, locs, or afro hair.
For a long time, conventional swim caps have been an obstacle for swimmers with thick, curly, or volume-blessed hair. They can’t always find a cap that fits their hair type, and that often means that swimmers from some backgrounds end up avoiding competitions, or giving up the sport entirely.
We want to see swimming become an accessible sport, with equipment and swimwear that lets anyone get involved and see success.
And this new approval by FINA is a huge step in the right direction – bringing inclusive swimwear into competitive swimming, and helping to bring down some of the obstacles that are keeping swimmers away from the sport.
But it’s not just about the Olympics and other high-profile events:
It’s a decision that affects competitive swimming at every level – from triathlons and marathon swims, right down to the grassroots organisations that develop and train the next generation of elite athletes.
The FINA approval is a huge deal for competitive swimming – and that makes it a huge deal for the swim community, too.
But that doesn’t mean anything has changed with us.
The swim cap that’s been approved is the same original SOUL CAP that you already know and use. It was designed around hair types, not official approval – and we’ve got no intention of changing that.
In the same way, we built our business around serving the swim community: creating products that make swimming more inclusive and accessible, and campaigning to promote diversity in the water.
We’ve got no intention of changing that, either.
We’re thrilled to see our caps being approved for competitive use, and we’re excited to see the future of a sport that’s becoming more inclusive for the next generation of young swimmers.
But most of all: we’re amazed and humbled by the way the swim community came together to make a positive change in the sport we all love.
So from the bottom of our hearts – thank you.
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