US 12 & Under Tech Suit Ban Goes Into Effect Next Week; Approved Suits Revealed

USA Swimming’s ban on certain tech suits for swimmers in the 12 & under age group goes into effect on September 1 – one week from today.

A newsletter from USA Swimming lays out the specifics of both restricted and approved suits under the new rules.

The suit ban was actually passed two years ago. The delay between the passing of the ban and its effective date allowed suit manufacturers to adjust their suit options and inventories. We dug in on some of the key details of the ban itself in a story you can read here. A few key details about the ban:

  • Any suit with bonded or taped seams is considered a tech suit and banned, regardless of its fabric. (Seams must be sewn to be allowed in the 12 & under age groups).
  • Suits with “knit” fabrics are still allowed (provided they don’t have bonded or taped seams), but suits with “woven” fabrics are banned in the lower age groups
  • 12 & under swimmers can still wear tech suits at certain national-level competitions: Junior Nationals, Pro Swim Series, U.S. Open, Nationals, YMCA Nationals and Olympic Trials

USA Swimming released more brand-specific guidelines for suits this week, including lists of both restricted and approved suits. You can follow that link for very specific, brand-by-brand looks at which suits are approved and restricted, but a high-level look is available in the two documents below:

USA Swimming 12 & Under Restricted Suits

USA Swimming 12 & Under Approved Suits

The guidelines also came with an instructional video narrated by U.S. National Teamer Leah Smithwhich highlights a lot of the very visible differences between restricted and allowed suits:

Also a notable rule of thumb: the vast majority of suits with the FINA-approved logo on them would also be restricted suits under the age group tech suit ban. Suits with the FINA logo that are approved for age groupers under USA Swimming’s ban (and there aren’t many of them) will also have a logo with a green check mark.

In This Story

32
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
32 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Swimmer
1 year ago

I’m 10 years old. How am I supposed to go 17 in my 50 now

Admin
Reply to  Swimmer
1 year ago

Guess you’ll just have to wait until you’re 13 to go your first 17 in the 50 free.

CoachD
1 year ago

The suit companies who all invest in USA Swimming have a say. USA Swimming can’t just ban suits, and then the suit companies say “Thanks for cutting all our profits, no worries, we will still sponsor you”.

Suit companies will find a way, and parents will pay. Top level athletes get suits for free. Little kids see it. They want to be like their heros’. Then companies get the pay off for all their R and D. If the pros want next level suits, the parents have to pay for it.

Unfortunately, It seems to be a business plan that works. Parents control this with their dollars. Parents can just tell their kids no and it would end.… Read more »

Swimmom
1 year ago

Hurray! I can spend $100 on the “new” suit rather than the $150 tech suit he’s worn the last two years (or his older siblings leftover tech suits). So many other issues they could and should tackle. What a waste of USA Swimming time.

Joe Mama
1 year ago

When a 12 yr old fails to beat his 11 year old time and then drops 10 seconds when they’re 13 lol. I guess there will never be another 11-12 NAG broken.

IUkicker
Reply to  Joe Mama
1 year ago

If your 12 year old can’t beat their 11 year old times, it’s time for a heart to heart with the coach. It has nothing to do with the suit.

dmswim
Reply to  Joe Mama
1 year ago

I’m pretty sure most 11-12 NAGs are faster than Junior cuts, so swimmers close to those times will be able to wear tech suits.

swim2
Reply to  dmswim
1 year ago

there aren’t any 11-12 nags faster than the winter junior cuts

Last edited 1 year ago by swim2
N P
Reply to  swim2
1 year ago

Actually, every single one of the LCM women’s 11-12 NAGs are faster than the summer junior cuts. And two of those records are from the ’90s (no high-tech suits then).

swim2
Reply to  N P
1 year ago

but there are 0 on the men’s side.

iLikePsych
1 year ago

12 year olds @ national meets or on their 13th birthdays
comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by iLikePsych
Swammajammadingdong
1 year ago

This is a terrific move by USA Swimming. Thank you to everyone that helped make this happen! The era of the 10 year old in a $450 suit has finally ended.

But...
Reply to  Swammajammadingdong
1 year ago

Except they all still came out with new higher priced suits specifically for 12&unders that are priced the same as the tech suits most were already buying…just not the very top ones. Which means the majority will still be paying roughly the same as before for a “tech” suit.

Admin
Reply to  But...
1 year ago

I’m not sure that’s true. I’ve been looking through the lists, and while I haven’t checked every single one (and not every single one is available), I haven’t found a boys’ suit over $100 yet. Seems like “below $100” is the price point that everyone has targeted for the boys’ suits. That’s about twice a regular practice suit (give or take), but very few of the “FINA approved” suits previously were less than $150. Speedo’s are all $190 and up.

But...
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

I hope you’re correct but the spec sheet I got from my vendor with prices for suits (for 12& u) from our sponsor did not include any suits under $100 and multiple at $150+. Which would be right in line with the lower level tech suits already out there.

Last edited 1 year ago by But...
BSNSWIM
Reply to  But...
1 year ago

Sounds like you need a new vendor 😏 lol

I sort of disagree
Reply to  But...
1 year ago

Think of every kid you know who swam and had absolutely zero need to be in a tech suit. Not us, we are into swimming.

Rookie
Reply to  But...
1 year ago

I sort of agree. How many manufacturers were even producing $400-$500 tech suits that 12 and under kids could fit into to begin with? My experience is mostly with Arena, so maybe other manufacturers are different. Our soon-to-be 12 year old daughter is now just large enough to possibly fit into the smallest adult sized Arena tech suit, and she’s in the 97-98% percentile for height. Kids are still going to be wearing legal, knit kneeskins with visible seems, and parents who don’t fully understand the rules, will still be losing it the stands because they think those kids have an unfair advantage. Did anything really change here?

yardfan
Reply to  Swammajammadingdong
1 year ago

I agree. Terrific move. At that age, parents need to back off and let their swimmer enjoy the sport.

SwimFan49
Reply to  Swammajammadingdong
1 year ago

I thought it was a pretty poorly-reasoned decision when it was passed two years ago, honestly. The committee that recommended the legislation put together or sponsored a paper describing the problem. IIRC correctly, it went something like this: On the one hand, we need to have kids this age focus on learning the strokes and not use the tech suit as their crutch to faster swimming when it’s really masking problems with their strokes, etc. On the other hand, the rationale was that these suits have very little advantage for kids this age anyway. Just a bit of a contradiction.

I also remember that cost was discounted as not the real motivation. That actually made sense to me. Given… Read more »

SwimFan49
Reply to  Swammajammadingdong
1 year ago

And if you were a parent paying $450 for your 10-year old’s suit, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Swammajammadingdong
Reply to  SwimFan49
1 year ago

I’ve officiated multiple LSC championship meets and watched heat after heat of kids in $450 suits. It is shocking to see the amount of money these families spend, but I also get it because there is a clear advantage to be had with the most advanced suit. In a world where SwimSwam names age group swimmer of the year for each age group, USA Swimming has age group select camps, and there are LSC and national age group records being kept, it’s time to level the playing field.

Icanfreezetime
1 year ago

Per instructional video, 12&U can only wear tech suits at JrNat and above competition. No mention of Sectional or Futures (contrary to article’s third key detail).

meeeee
Reply to  Icanfreezetime
1 year ago

will be tough for them to make those meets without being able to use a tech suit in a lower level meet. Only the truly young and gifted will be at those meets.

dmswim
Reply to  meeeee
1 year ago

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. As a swimmer who peaked early and then plateaued, I probably would have been better off not going to high level meets at 13 and saving that for when I was 15 or 16. I swam in the pre-tech suit era (aquablades and FS1s were as high tech as it got), so those didn’t get me to higher level meets, but I think delaying kids attending those meets generally isn’t a bad thing. Those that are true talents and are likely Olympic bound will make it to that level without tech suits.

meeeee
Reply to  dmswim
1 year ago

didn’t say it was bad or good. Just stating the reality.

coach
Reply to  meeeee
1 year ago

The reality is that even with tech suits, I don’t think there were more than a handful of 12-years-olds at Juniors anyway.

Xman
1 year ago

Do they make knee cut suits for girls that sent tech suits?

SwimMom
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

I believe the Arena Girls’ Powerskin has a knee length version that is approved. A lot of stock photos still show the older versions without the checkmark though.

Walter
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

Perhaps you will find your answer in the link above!

BSNSWIM
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

Xman all the companies make a knee suit that will work. Speedo has their new Vanquisher suit and for TYR the Thresher meets the guidelines.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »