USAS Age Group Committee Favors Banning Tech Suits for 12 & Unders

While USA Swimming has not formally released the contents of the Stu-Isaac-led review of technical racing suits for USA Swimming’s youngest swimmers, a draft of the meeting minutes from the latest meeting of the USA Swimming Board of Directors includes the report, in its entirety, as well as the Age Group Development Committee’s reaction to it.

Specifically, Tim Bauer, USA Swimming’s Technical Vice Chair, said that the Age Group Development Committee supports banning the use of “tech suits” for 12 & unders. He also acknowledged that in spite of that general recommendation, there is still “considerable work to do” to better refine the idea, including enforcement and definition of what, exactly, a tech suit is.

Tim Bauer reported that the Age Group Development Committee is in favor of banning the 164 use of tech suits by 12 and under swimmers, but the Committee still has considerable work 165 to do before proposing a rule change, including defining what constitutes a tech suit is and 166 assessing how to enforce any such restriction (Attachment 14)

More details can be found on attachment 14, about midway through this PDF document, which includes a draft of the full report from the Isaac Sports Group, which was paid to conduct the study. The group interviewed coaches, parents, suit manufacturers, and team dealers, but not swimmers.

Among the interesting responses were that “virtually all the (suit) manufacturers agree that the high end/highest cost tech suits are not appropriate for use by younger swimmers.” Those manufacturers were generally against all restrictions, but said they “could live with” restrictions if they are included in the process of defining the rules and were given reasonable lead time to adjust their inventories and design.

The report concluded that “Based on our research, we find that the tech suit cost issue is an important issue, but not one that is driving people out of the sport or as significant an issue as initially assumed. The major concern of tech suit use is the impact on the development of young swimmers, potentially drawing focus, attention and resources away from the development priorities swimmers, coaches, and parents should be focusing on.” It also raised a series of questions that it wanted the Age Group Development Committee to consider, including whether it is in USA Swimming’s best interest to “micro-manage,” whether restrictions can be enforced fairly and consistently without overburdening officials, and whether new rules can “significantly influence” the current culture of tech suit use.

See Also:

USA Swimming Hires Consulting Firm To Review Age Group Tech Suit Policies



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Steve Nolan

Huh. Did not see that coming.

It’s gotta be a small enough percentage of business that the suit companies think they’ll get these 12&Us so hyped up to get a suit when they’re old enough that it’ll make up for it?

Ugh and I dunno if I even like the idea of a ban, even if we could properly define what constitutes a tech suit.

Does give me more stuff to yell at people in the comments about though, so. Silver lining!

N8 Swim

Even the manufacturers agree with getting rid of tech for 12 and unders! I am excited/hopeful to see how USA swimming implememts this change in the coming months/years.

Carolinas Swim Coach

Tech Suits are a complete waste of money for 12 & Under swimmers – the only beneficiaries are Speedo and all the other companies that profit massively from their sales. I would love to know the gross sales of tech suits this year within USA Swimming for just 12 & Under swimmers — and imagine the impact that would have in so many other areas of our sport — namely, POOL SPACE. Imagine how many more pools could be built with that money. Unfortunately, passing a rule is the only way this gets solved. While many parents would opt to do the right thing just based on individual clubs doing the right thing and creating club-level policies, there are always… Read more »


According to my 11 year old son, who is well aware of the limited actual impact it has on his swim times, Tech suits add to the FUN of racing. And I honestly cannot see any harm in that.


How does gross sales correlate with additional pool space? I’m just confused how a ban on tech suits will increase $ for pools? I couldn’t care one way or the other if they ban the suits. I just think if they ban tech suits for kids, there needs to be bans on expensive bats for baseball & softball because heaven forbid one kid has a better bat than another! Oh, they better put some law into place telling soccer kids they can’t spend more than $40 on soccer cleats. And those pricy, ugly basketball shoes… nope! Walmart sneakers from now on. Yes- I’m oozing with sarcasm because it amazes me how the answer to everything in life is to put… Read more »

Carolinas Swim Coach

The point I was raising is that the money being used today on technical suits for 12&Unders could be spent on things that provide significantly more value to the athlete – such as pool space. Let’s say your team has 100 12 & Under swimmers. 100 swimmers, multiplied by $200 per technical suit is $20,000 – and since those suits are regularly purchased on an annual basis, that $20,000 per year, every year being spent on technical suits – just for one team! After just a few years, you could have a nice down payment for a 25yd x 25m training pool. Or allowing teams to rent more lane space. Or hire more coaches to improve the swimmer-to-coach ratios on… Read more »


It’s not our place to tell a parent how they can spend their money. Some of the same parents who are buying tech suits for their kid are also making generous donations to the club and other charities. As a side note, not all tech suits cost that much money. Some kids wear their sibling’s hand-me-down tech suit. Some kids wear tech suits for modesty reasons. I don’t understand the fuss. Tech suits don’t replace good technique and hard work.


It’s the parent’s money….why should the nanny state tell parents how they can spend their money. I don’t have a dog in this fight…my child is not a12/under, but not all tech suits are expensive. There are reasonable options.

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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