A key piece of gear is now finally available for Black swimmers to feel more comfortable in the water.
Soul Cap, a company that makes swimming caps meant to protect thick and curly Black natural hair thanks to their larger size, can now be used after a ruling by The Fédération internationale de notation (FINA) or International Swimming Federation in English.
The organization is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and rulings of this sort ripple out and affect many facets of the swimming world.
FINA’s decision comes after initially banning the swim caps during last year’s Olympics because they didn’t “[follow] the natural form of the head,” and athletes participating in events never needed “caps of such size and configuration” in previous years.
“This announcement follows a period of review and discussion on cap design between FINA and SOUL CAP over the past year,” Brent Nowicki, Executive Director at FINA, told Metro. “Promoting diversity and inclusivity is at the heart of FINA’s work, and it is very important that all aquatic athletes have access to the appropriate swimwear.”
Soul Cap is a UK brand that was developed when two best friends Michael Chapman and Toks Ahmed learned to swim as adults and begin to notice that swimming caps weren’t inclusive. So they began to seek out a way to make caps that were large enough to fit on the heads of people with voluminous hair.
“We’re here to make swimming for everyone. It’s about feeling free, embracing the sport you love, and always pushing your true self forward. And you shouldn’t have to choose between any of them,” reads the brand’s site. “So say goodbye to ‘one size fits all’ – and say hello to the new wave of swim. SOUL CAP is the union of sportswear and self care, giving you the tools and style you need to train and play – with the freedom and confidence to swim your way. Swim for you. Swim with us. Swim for all.”
They’ve gone on to partner with swimmer Alice Dearing, who co-founded the Black Swimming Association in 2020 and was the first Black swimmer to ever represent Great Britain at the Olympics while in Tokyo.
To cop your own swimming cap or other swimming goods like bathing suits, goggles, and kickboards, click here.