The Age Group Tech Suit Issue.

*A note from Coach Holly about Age Group Swimmers (12 and Unders) Wearing Tech Suits. Please take the time to read this. It will answer A LOT...if not all...of your questions.

It's that time of year when every swim parent is asking themselves "DO I BUY A TECH SUIT??" I have attached 2 articles that will give you some insight into the justification of the Tech Suit Rule that will be in effect starting September 1, 2020. (Personally...I wish the rule was in effect now.)  If you have any questions after reading BOTH articles...don't hesitate to ask me.

1. This excellent article by USA SWIMMING is lenghty...but explains everything as to why this rule was put into effect. (If you can't click on the link...copy and paste into your URL)

2. Announcement of the rule change.

USA Swimming voted to ban the use of tech suits by 12-and-younger swimmers on Saturday at the United States Aquatic Sports (USAS) Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.

The board made one amendment to the decision, to allow the use of tech suits to 12-and-younger swimmers who have qualified for the USA Junior National Championships or the National Championships.

The rule goes into effect on Sept. 1, 2020.

The use of tech suits by younger swimmers has been debated for years as coaches and officials worked to figure out what was best for youth athletes.

A technical racing swimsuit, or tech suit, is a specialized swimsuit designed with bonded/meshed seams or kinetic tape. In simpler terms, tech suits don’t even appear to have seams – coaches often tell swimmers that if they can pinch the side of their tech suit, it isn’t tight enough.

(Note:  WOVEN FABRIC – A suit with woven fabric and sewn seams that does not extend below the hips is permitted.)

(Note:  KNIT FABRIC – A suit with knit fabric and sewn seams not extending below the knees is permitted.)

On top of that, tech suits have water-repellent properties that add little textile weight and help the swimmer cut right through the water. The conforming carbon fiber cage (and other approved textiles) gives the biggest performance benefit: compression. Extreme muscle compression streamlines the body in order to reduce drag, thus leading to greater improvements in performance.

The cost of tech suits can range anywhere from $90-500. In contrast to most standard nylon or polyester swimsuits that remain functional each and every practice throughout multiple seasons, a tech suit’s compression and water-repellent properties begin to noticeably deteriorate after one or two big meets, depending on how many times it’s worn. The more times the suit is worn, the more it stretches out and the repellent properties degrade. Rather than being worn for every meet of the season, tech suits are often saved for big championship meets or when trying to qualify for one.

At the same time, however, it’s not even clear how much of a difference wearing a tech suit makes at that young of an age. The majority of studies on the drag reduction of tech suits were done using post-adolescents whose physically mature bodies likely found greater benefits from the compression the suits provide. This ambiguity makes the $300-500 entry-level fee for championship meet competition seem even more ludicrous at those ages.

USA Swimming contributed to this report.