USA Swimming Tech Suit Study Results Will Be Available in February

The results of the study into tech suits in age group swimming commissioned by USA Swimming will be made public in early February, USA Swimming tells SwimSwam. When the study was first announced in August, USA Swimming said that a final report was due in November. Now, USA Swimming says that the results of the study, conducted by Isaac Sports Group, will be discussed at the February 3rd USA Swimming Board meeting “after some initial conversations with (the) Age Group Development Committee.”

The study was commissioned after several LSC’s, the local governing units of USA Swimming, started implementing policies to ban ‘tech suits’ for certain age groups. Among the highest profile was the hotbed of Southern California, though others like Maine and Arkansas have also implemented such bans.

When announced, USA Swimming said that among the topics covered in the report would be:


  • Review of existing and proposed LSC rules, policies and actions
  • Review of a sample of swim club suit policies
  • Analysis of membership history and trends vs. tech suit timeline
  • Review of the range of suit technology and costs
  • Market analysis of tech suit use
  • Impact of any new rules on teams, swimmers, parents, coaches, manufacturers, retailers, officials
  • Impact of LSCs with differing rules (ex. swimmer from one LSC competing in another LSC)
  • Age cut-offs
  • Financial impact to parents
  • Need for a national rule vs. LSC-by-LSC
  • Legal issues
  • Evaluation of suits and/or testing

Those in favor of a ban often cite preferring to focus on technique rather than technology for swimmers at a young age, which they suspect will lead to improved long-term development. Others have also cited ‘leveling the playing field’ for different economic groups and making the sport more accessible to all.

Opponents of the ban feel that it is an overreach by USA Swimming, jumping into matters of how parents should best spend money on their children, and violating the athletes’ rights to use a suit that is approved everywhere else in the world. Swimming World Magazine publisher Brent Rutemiller even went so far as to suggest in an editorial last week that suit companies might pursue legal action against USA Swimming (which would result in them suing an organization that would pay for its defense with dollars received from, among other places, those very same suit companies).


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6 years ago

It is ridiculous to ban a legal FINA approved tech suit for any age. That decision should be between the child, coach, and parents.

I am more concerned about my teenage daughter racing swimmers who are taking anabolic steroids such as testosterone. Unfortunately this seems to be getting more common even at the high school level and it really does give the cheater an unfair advantage.

Reply to  SwimMomof2
6 years ago

I hadn’t heard about this being on the uptick. Can you please cite a source showing that anabolic steroid use is becoming more common in high school swimming? Sad to think that parents might be supplying such drugs for their children.

6 years ago

It’s March. Any updates?

Pete P
6 years ago

Is this any different than:
1) a little league baseball player using a $300 bat (as opposed to the kid that uses the old wood bat supplied by the team) ??
2) a basketball player who can get the latest $200 hi-tops instead of a pair of nylon ankle high sneakers ??
3) a junior bowler that gets a $250 hi-tech ball instead of an old, redrilled ball that his parent used to use ??
4) a junior golfer that uses a $1000 set of clubs instead of a bargain set purchased at a department store ??

Those who are more affluent will ALWAYS be able to provide better equipment for their children, and that’s just… Read more »

Single mom of 4 girl swimmers
6 years ago

My daughter is 10yo AAA-AAAA swimmer. She’s the size of a 12-13yo. She works her tail off in every practice, striving to become better. She only wears an entry level kneeskin that I can find on swimoutlet cheaper than a regular suit. And then, she only wears it for championship meets. Regular meets she wears her practice suit. She knows and understands that the suit doesn’t make her times. Her hard work has caused that. I am a single mother of 4 female swimmers, and have no intention of putting them into the higher level tech suits until they’re at the higher caliber of swimming. All I hear is complaining from people about kids wearing these suits. If the kids… Read more »

Reply to  Single mom of 4 girl swimmers
6 years ago

I agree. A savvy shopper can buy an entry level tech suit without breaking the bank. Also some kids wear a second hand tech suit or their sibling’s suit. The nanny state should not be banning a tech suit that is FINA approved.

6 years ago

The argument that banning theses suits lowers the cost of swimming is, in my opinion flawed. We purchased a Tech Suite but saw that the more our daughter competed the overall cost of the suit decreases. One cost always increases and will far out strip any cost of a tech suit is the event entry. You can enter 4 galas and you can spend the same amount on events as one suit, yet I know the suit will carry on for a good 20 – 30 more galas. Perhaps the administrators don’t actually understand the sport they run!

6 years ago

I don’t understand the problem with limiting/banning tech suit usage for the younger age groups, other than companies selling less of them ($$). I would argue that most 12 and unders are still working on technique and consistency in times, and that other than a very small percentage it wouldn’t make much difference. I also know that what one kid has all the rest will want, which creates an imbalance in the locker room when parents can’t spend that kind of money. Why not even out the playing field? If no kids have them then it shouldn’t matter, no one would have the ~advantage, and swimming would be financially accessible for more families.

My parents wouldn’t have been able to… Read more »

Reply to  Racheal
6 years ago

For the cost of a parent’s monthly starbucks, tobacco, or alcohol habit you can buy an entry level tech suit. Don’t pretend to tell others what is good for them.

Reply to  Don
6 years ago

That’s funny, the only thing on that petty list my parents do is my mom drinks beer or wine on occasion. We had to plan and save to go to travel meets when I was a club swimmer, and I’m grateful to my parents for doing that for me. I’m also glad unnecessary (for my age) expensive suits weren’t available for me to ask them for. I was speaking from my and my family’s experience.

Your comment is right up there with saying more people could afford health care if they didn’t have iphones. It clearly comes from a place of privilege, and while I’m glad there are people in the world that have never had to worry about… Read more »

Reply to  Don
6 years ago

Tech suits should be banned for 12 and under swimmers. It levels the playing field. Most parents should not be put in the position of feeling that they need to be spending a few hundred dollars for a bathing suit for a preteen. Kids that age are growing like crazy too – imagine having to buy one for the December Holiday Invite, one for the March championships and another for the end of LC season in August!!! Moreover, some LSCs are already banning the suits. It makes sense to have a national rule instead of allowing different rules in different LSCs.

There is no way that my own parents would have been able to reasonably afford tech suits for… Read more »

Reply to  Karen
6 years ago

Thank you for deciding what I buy my children!

Reply to  Racheal
6 years ago

Goodness! An entry level tech suit is $40 on sale which is a price point comparable to what my kids wear for training suits. And, FYI, I buy them multiple training suits each year. They wear their tech suits 6 times a year and we buy another one at Christmas to use the next season.

What world are you busy body, presumptuous know it alls living in? You talk like there are no options but a $600 tech suit investment. That’s like saying the only cell phone on the market is the $1000 iPhone. Perhaps, in your mind that is true but there are a lot of budget conscious shoppers who do a lot more with a lot less than… Read more »

6 years ago

I predict both sides will be unhappy with the report but all will agree it was a waste of money.

6 years ago

Interesting that they guy who led the charge at Speedo in developing the LZR is now preparing a report that might limit tech suit use.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner 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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