Understanding the 12 & Under Technical Suit Ban

Understanding the 12 & Under Technical Suit Ban

At the USA Swimming National Convention this past weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, the House of Delegates passed a ban on technical suits for all swimmers 12 years and younger.

What does this mean exactly?  


For starters if you have recently purchased a technical suit for your young swimmer this rule does not go into effect until September 1st, 2020.  This gives manufacturers a chance to catch up as well as athletes to use the suit they have purchased.


Beyond 2020 technical suits will no longer be legal for 12 & unders to wear unless at an upper level competition where their older peers will be wearing them.


What defines a technical suit?


Technical suits would have bonded and/or taped seams with woven fabric.  Documents say ‘woven fabric extending to the knee or mid-thigh.’ This has caused a bit of a panic.  It does not mean boys are being forced into briefs and jammers are now illegal, nor does it mean a girl cannot wear a short-john.  The material is under scrutiny here, not the style.


A quick pro-tip cheat?  If your suit has the FINA approved barcode on it, the suit is likely illegal as of September 1st, 2020.  The exception would be suits that are knit, generally under the $75 price tag. The suits will still be FINA stamped but a second stamp will likely be added to assure legality for the wearer.  Note per USA Swimming: there are less than five suits that meet this criteria.


Are there exceptions?


Yes.  Certain meets will still allow technical suits regardless of the competitors age.  Among these events: Junior Nationals, US Open, National Championships, and Olympic Trials.  


Want to read more?  You can find FAQ’s and additional resources at USA Swimming’s site within this PDF: https://www.usaswimming.org/docs/default-source/usas-convention/2018-convention/tech-suit—overview-from-agd.pdf


Questions?  Comments?


If you have any please drop them below and I will do my best to get you a response!


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About Emily Milak

Emily Milak is a lifetime competitive swimmer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. Emily is a US National Team champion, NCAA champion, and USMS champion with extensive coaching experience. She is a product development consultant at Kiefer.

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