USA Swimming Adopts FINA Wetsuit Rules For Next Week’s OW Nationals

After originally declaring next week’s U.S. Open Water National Championships to be a no-wetsuit event, USA Swimming has amended its decision on Tuesday and adopted FINA’s wetsuit rule. From the announcement:

The decision to implement this new rule was decided based on recent water temperature readings at Castaic Lake and athlete safety being USA Swimming’s number one priority. The new rule reads that for water temperatures lower than 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit wetsuits will be required. For water temperatures above 68 degrees Fahrenheit wetsuits will not be allowed. Between 64.4 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, wetsuits will be optional.

The official water temperature will be taken 2 hours prior to the start of the national 10k, national 5k, and junior national races. USA Swimming says that based on information from Los Angeles County Lifeguards, they anticipate that the temperature will fall in that optional gap of between 64.4 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

The new decision has also impacted the start times of next week’s 10k races:

  • Men’s 10K – May 19th, 11 AM
  • Women’s 10K – May 19th, 1:30 PM
  • Men’s 5K – May 21st, 9:30 AM
  • Women’s 5K – May 21st, 8:00 AM

Read more about the event here.

Wetsuit regulations:

  • Wetsuits must be between 3mm and 5mm thickness
  • Wetsuits must completely cover the torso, back, shoulders and knees and shall not extend beyond the neck, wrists, or ankles
  • Sleeveless wetsuits would not be allowed, as they would not completely cover the shoulders.
  • The full wetsuit rules can be read here.


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3 years ago

Ridiculous ?

3 years ago

Forecast is for 80’s and sunny Fri of the race with peak between noon at 3. Good time move for no wetsuit, but could get a little toasty in a wetsuit with water temp just below the optional cutoff (68). Doubtful though, with air temps forecast the next week, that the water will warm that much.

Pressure will be on to wear a wetsuit in the optional range to be competitive. Not sure it is really optional if you want to compete.

Sat/Sun even warmer in forecast, but those events are early so still probably in the 60’s without the noon sun.

3 years ago

Scrambling to figure out if my swimmer is going to need one, which he doesn’t currently own. Weather warming a bit heading toward race day(s), but before cooling off the last few days they had 5 days in the 90s there and water temp is still only 64 as of this morning. Not to mention the requirements that the suits shall be a minimum of 3mm and maximum of 5mm thick and that “… the outer surface of the wetsuit shall not include outstanding shapes, such as ridges, fins, etc.” Not all manufacturers note the thickness of all their products, and all the suits look like Batman costumes… maybe with “ridges”. And there’s no FINA approved list at this point.… Read more »

Reply to  barbotus
3 years ago

Barbotus – drop me a note – [email protected]

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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