At the USA Swimming 2018 Annual Meeting, the governing body’s committee for age group swimming took the decision to add in a new rule restricting the use of tech suits for age group swimmers 12 & under that will take effect September 1, 2020.
Exceptions to this rule will be made for swimmers competing at national events including Junior Nationals, US Open, U.S. Nationals and Olympic Trials.
Here’s our own quick at-a-glance SwimOutlet.com Q&A about the new rule.
Q: What specifically is being banned?
A: For the purposes of this new rule, there are two technical aspects to look at which define a “tech suit” -- the seams and the fabric. A technical suit is defined as any suit with bonded or taped seams (regardless of fabric or silhouette) and are banned. Also in this ban is any suit with woven fabric that extends below the hips. A knit fabric suit is permitted provided it doesn’t extend below the knees.
Q: Who will be banned from wearing it?
A: Any 12 & under age group swimmer will be banned from wearing such a suit at any sanctioned, approved or observed meet except Nationals which includes Junior Nationals, US Open, National Championships or Olympic Trials.
Q: When will this go into effect?
A: In order for all of the appropriate constituents to be fully informed and prepared for this new rule to be put in place, USA Swimming announced the effective date as September 1, 2020, which is almost two full years from the date of the formal rule change decision in order to prepare for the 12 & under tech suit ban. This period allowed officials to work through the important issue of how to effectively and properly enforce the rule at swim meets, while manufacturers were able to prepare to properly label and develop suits as needed.
Q: Why was this rule change proposed?
A: Initially, the impetus for the rule change proposal was to limit the use of tech suits at a young age due to the increasing suit cost thereby helping to manage the costs of participation for families with kids swimming. However, during the course of the research on youth tech suits, other discussions emerged to ban tech suits in younger swimmers notably its potential negative impact on swimmer development and the chance for this rule to help curb the “arms race” mentality of parents spending whatever it takes for their kids to swim faster.
Q: How can consumers identify tech suits that are banned?
A: The primary identifier is that any suit with an official FINA logo will be considered a tech suit and banned from being worn by a 12-and-under at meets. There are a handful of suits on the market today that have an official FINA logo, but are not considered tech suits under the definition being used in the new rule. These suits will be identified with a visual mark developed by USA Swimming that allows them to be worn at meets with the check mark placed to the left or right of the FINA logo on the suit.
Q: How do we know what suits are compliant with the rules when we are shopping for 12 & under suits at SwimOutlet.com?
A: SwimOutlet.com will post an orange “12 & Under Eligible” logo on suits that are made for racing and allowed to be worn in meets by 12 & under age group. In addition, product descriptions under the product image will highlight racing suits compliant with the 12 & under rules. Lastly, and perhaps most useful, are the 12 & Under Race Suit Category that has been created for both females and males to allow customers to view all the eligible suits at a glance! All training suits are of course compliant as they are not made with bonded or taped seams.
Q: Is there a return policy on suits?
A: These suits are subject to our standard policy. SwimOutlet.com will return an unused tech suit, with all tags attached for up to 30 days after purchase. If you have questions about returns please contact us.