By USA Swimming | Thursday, September 12, 2019
The following rule, proposed by the Age Group Development Committee, will take effect September 1, 2020.
F. No Technical Suit may be worn by any 12 & Under USA Swimming athlete member in competition at any Sanctioned, Approved or Observed meet.
1) Exceptions to the foregoing restriction are only for Junior Nationals, US Open, National Championships, and Olympic Trials.
2) A Technical Suit is one that has the following components:
a. Any suit with any bonded or taped seams regardless of its fabric or silhouette; or
b. Any suit with woven fabric extending past the hips.
(Note: WOVEN FABRIC-A suit with woven fabric and sewn seams that does not extend below the hips is permitted.)
(Note: KNIT FABRIC-A suit with knit fabric and sewn seams not extending below the knees is permitted.)
This rule is in effect for all USA Swimming competitions in the United States, so any manufacturer or vendor selling a suit in the United States is subject to the above rule. No Technical Suits may be worn by any 12-Under USA Swimming athlete member in competition at any Sanctioned, Approved or Observed meet.
A Technical Suit is one that has the following components:
- Any male or female suit with any bonded or taped seams is defined as a technical suit regardless of its fabric or silhouette.
- Any male or female suit with woven fabric and to the knee or mid-thigh is defined as a technical suit regardless of the type seams: bonded, taped or sewn. (Note: A woven suit with sewn seams and in a male brief or female regular cut not to the knees is not defined as a technical suit and is not restricted).
Exceptions to the foregoing restriction are only for a meet in USA Swimming’s Championship Series (i.e. Sectionals, Futures, Junior Nationals, US Open, National Championships, and Olympic Trials) or YMCA National Championships. For additional questions, please consult the FAQ.
Any suit that does not have the FINA logo on it is approved for 12-Under use.
There are a handful of suits in the market that have the FINA logo that would be considered legal for age group competition because they do not meet the definition of what is deemed a technical suit. These suits and only these suits will bear an additional check mark logo developed by USA Swimming to indicate that the suit is complaint with the rule. This check mark is to be printed on the white background and is to be placed to the left or right of the FINA logo on the suit. The check mark logo is to be the same size as the FINA logo with the green check mark being Pantone color number 354. Currently, FINA rules would not allow a suit with the FINA logo and the check mark to be worn in the Olympics or World Championships. A picture of the check mark logo is next to this paragraph
Suit Manufacturer Feedback
Suit manufacturers have a vested interest in both this legislation and future growth of the sport. Virtually all the manufacturers agree that the high end/highest cost tech suits are not appropriate for use by younger swimmers. Manufacturers have provided significant input during the process of defining tech suits and have been given a reasonable lead-up time to adjust product lines and have agreed to adapt to the proposed restrictions. All major brands in the USA market were actively involved in this process and 14 manufacturers overall were consulted.
Use of Tech Suits by Age Group Swimmers White Paper (September 2018)
The New York Times: Young Swimmers May Have to Wait to Dress Like Katie Ledecky (May 2018)