A national ban on technical racing suits for 12 & unders has been passed by the House of Delegates on Friday at the USA Swimming National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. The ban will take effect in September of 2020, which was designed to give manufacturers the opportunity to catch up and to adjust inventories ahead of the change.
One of 24 proposals being voted on by representatives of clubs and LSCs across the country, the ban passed on Saturday. The ban was passed with a change from proposal, though, specifically to the meets that are exempt from the policy (see more below).
- See also: Member of USA Swimming Age Group Committee Appeals for Tech Suit Ban
- See also: Tech Suit Restriction Moves Forward Without Vote
The working definition would count suits as technical suits if they have:
- bonded or taped seams regardless of its fabric or silhouette, or
- any male or female suit with “woven fabric extending to the knee or mid-thigh” regardless of the type of seams.
The full text of the proposal that was voted on:
The ban does include exceptions for top-tier regional and national championship meets, including Junior Nationals, US Open, National Championships, and Olympic Trials. At those events, athletes are likely to be racing against older swimmers, for event titles, who would not be subjected to the ban – which would put younger swimmers at a disadvantage. However, from the original proposal, Sectionals, Futures, the Pro Swim Series, and YMCA Nationals were dropped as excepted meets, and the ban will be in effect for 12 & unders there.
Among the rationale for the change is that sectionals aren’t uniform across the US, which could lead to some 12 & unders having an advantage over others; and that Y-Nats qualifying times were too slow to be included on the list in comparison with the other remaining meets.
Update: a plethora of specifics regarding the new ban is expected to be released by USA Swimming in the coming weeks, well ahead of the ban taking effect in 2020. Among the key details is that, for the most part, suits that are “woven,” and therefore not allowed, are the suits with FINA approved tags on them. This means that most of the suits sold by the suit companies in the $75-and-down range (all cuts) will still be allowed. There are a few suits that have FINA tags that are knit and have allowable seems – in these cases, there will be a 2nd tag next to the FINA tag verifying that they are allowed for 12 & unders.
We have reached out to each of the major American suit brands to gather more specific information about their lines and how they’ll be impacted by the ban. We will provide more information as wew hear back from those brands.