The body governing the official rules and policies for competitive swimming across the globe sparked outrage after it banned the use of swim caps specifically designed to accommodate Black athletes' thicker hair.
In a new policy, the Federation Internationale de Natation or FINA ruled the swim caps, designed by Black-owned British brand Soul Cap, would not be allowed in the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games because they deviate from "the natural form of the head."
But critics of the decision have loudly spelled how they feel the policy missed the mark completely.
According to BBC, the larger swim caps protect dreadlocks, afros, weaves, hair extensions, braids, and thick and curly hair from the chlorine found in swimming pools—a chemical that tends to damage Black hair more than others.
Alice Dearing, who will compete in Tokyo as the first ever Black woman to represent Britain in the Olympics, has in the past commended Soul Cap for addressing a serious need for greater inclusivity in the swimming community.
"I vividly remember a Black girl saying at training that the reason Black girls don't swim is because of their hair."
"I was about 12 or 13 at the time and had never thought of the idea of hair stopping you from swimming. Now that I am older I can fully understand why someone would quit over their hair."
Dearing has not commented on the recent FINA decision.
Soul Cap, in a post on the company's official Instagram page, decried the decision as a step backwards in the fight to make swimming more inclusive and approachable for young Black athletes.
The Black Swimming Association of the UK, however, was crystal clear about its stance on the FINA ruling.
In addition, people who heard the news on Twitter didn't hesitate to share their outrage.
The wave of backlash was apparently loud enough to get the attention of FINA who committed to reviewing the policy, according to a statement posted on the organization's website.
"FINA is committed to ensuring that all aquatics athletes have access to appropriate swimwear for competition where this swimwear does not confer a competitive advantage."
"FINA is currently reviewing the situation with regards to 'Soul Cap' and similar products, understanding the importance of inclusivity and representation."
Only time will tell if the Soul Cap will be making an appearance at the Tokyo Olympics, which begin only a few weeks from now on July 23.