New Jersey Swimming Bans 12-and-Under Tech Suits: Updated

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

Swimming World sources have confirmed that New Jersey Swimming has banned tech suits for 12-and-under swimmers at all New Jersey Swimming, Inc. sanctioned or approved meets.

The decision was made at the NJS House of Delegates Meeting on Oct. 7, 2017.

The news was first made public via the following Tweet:

The full text of the new rule, per the NJ Swimming website, can be found below:

1. Swimmers 12 years old and younger may not compete in a “Tech suit” (i.e. Bonded or mesh seamed suits) in a New Jersey Swimming, Inc. sanctioned or approved meets. (Age is determined by the 1st day of the meet.)

2. Swimmers ages 12 and under may not compete in a “Tech” suit in a New Jersey, sanctioned or approved competition. Starting November 1, 2017.

3. There is no “Tech” suit restriction for swimmers age 13 and over.

4. A “Tech Suit” is defined, as a suit that has bonded seams, Kinetic Tape, or Meshed Seams, and/or have the FINA approved tag verifying the suit. The suits listed below are in this category, and will be posted on the New Jersey Swimming website.

5. Rule Enforcement and Penalty: Swimmers that race in a restricted suit will be disqualified from that event. Swimmers who are wearing restricted suits will not be permitted to compete in said suit. However, they are able to change into an acceptable suit to swim. No extra time before their race will be given to change suits. If there is any question about a suit, it should be addressed to the meet referee prior to the start of the session.

6. Coaches and Officials will be responsible for monitoring this Policy. Coaches need to educate their teams and be willing to speak up if they see a swimmer with a suit on at a meet. Officials should have the list of restricted suits available as a reference.

7. The following statement shall be added to all meet announcements.

The ban defines a tech suit as “a suit that has bonded seams, Kinetic Tape or Meshed Seams, and or have the FINA approved tag verifying the suit.” It also included a list for clarity:

Restricted Tech Suit List

  • BLUE SEVENTY: NERO
  • JAKED: J12 WATER ZERO, LIMITED EDITION J11 STEEL, J11 WATER ZERO, JKATANA, JKEEL, JRUSH
  • SPEEDO: LZR X, LZR ELITE, LZR ELITE 2
  • TYR: TRACER SERIES, AVICTOR, AVICTOR PRELUDE, AP12
  • COMPRESSION NIKE SWIM NG
  • ARENA: POWERSKIN OPEN BACK, ALL ARENA CARBON SERIES (AIR, PRO, ETC)
  • DOLPHIN: TITANIUM
  • AQUASPHERE MP EXPRESSO
  • FINIS: VAPOR
  • HUUB: FINA TECHNICAL

Non- RESTRICTED Tech Suit List: (classic hip cut or knee skin)

  • SPEEDO: AQUABLADE (male & female), POWER PLUS (female), FASTSKIN 2/FSII (male & female), LZR PRO (male & female)
  • ARENA: POWERSKIN ST (male & female), POWERSKIN XP
  • TYR: FUSION 2, THRESHER
  • DOLPHIN: GRAPHLITE SERIES, LTF PRO SERIES, PLATINUM 2PRO

Swimmers that race in a now-banned suit will be disqualified from their race. They will be given the opportunity to change suits, but no extra time will be given before any individual race. However, they will receive one warning:

“Swimmers in restricted suits will get a warning for the 1st event that is swum in a restricted suit, and both swimmer and coach will be notified. The swimmer will not be disqualified. For all events after this warning event in the meet-they must be in a non-restricted suit or they will be disqualified or not allowed to swim,” the proposal stated.

The policy will be completely enforced starting November 1, 2017.

New Jersey is not the first to make this change. Middle Atlantic and New England Swimming did so in September.

USA Swimming’s Take

USA Swimming is in the midst of a national study determining whether tech suits should be legal at the lower age group levels. The organization has hired Stu Isaac to oversee this operation in figuring out what the impact of tech suits is for young swimmers and how the high prices of these suits can impact swimmers and their families financially. Check out a video interview with Isaac from the ASCA World Clinic.

Additionally, a recent Swim Poll of the Week showed that a majority of Swimming World readers are in favor of restricting tech suit use for age groupers.

New Jersey Swimming contributed to this report. 

75 Comments

75 comments

  1. José Antonio

    Ok under 12 it makes sense. Swimming is also fun. Why put pressure on the kids for whatever time they will do???

    • Ang Gold

      Exactly……from experience I have seen those who made 1st 2nd & 3rd in competitions at a young age burn out and give up as teens. It’s all about technique and love of the sport and training that keeps them swimming in their teens and beyond!

    • Pat Kerrigan

      A full list of the banned and allowed suits will be announced. An updated list is being worked on. Not all suit companies want to pay for the FINA label so there will be banned suits on the list that do not have the FINA label on them.

  2. avatar
    Tristan Formon

    NJS banned 12 & U’s from wearing restricted suits at all meets. (Including championships )

  3. Pat Kerrigan

    What is in this article is from the original proposal. Actual ban is 12 and under

    • Pat Kerrigan

      Joshua Udermann if you read the whole thing it says 11-12 can wear at specified championship meets. They cannot wear them at all at a NJ sanctioned or approved meet

  4. Kirsten Prior

    I’d love to see this in Australia. It would make swimming more accessible and affordable for many families.

    • Marg-Sio Afoa

      Agreed. Only started buying racers because we had to at state comp. Now theyre expected to wear them at most comps. Not only expensive for families, but for the kids, also takes the fun carnivals into the sphere of serious comps.

    • Peta Maree

      It is…in Victoria for all SV meets (States etc…not club meets)..but the kids can’t even wear the non-restricted suits listed in this article. They can only wear speedo or funky trunk type…nothing longer than mid-thigh…so no jammers…

  5. Wyatt Fate

    Good! They shouldn’t have them in the first place

  6. Bob Wright

    Good rule….the cost/benefit of a tech suit should not enter the equation for a kid starting out…just let them enjoy swimming!

  7. Amy Hsu

    If only Potomac Valley, with all it’s rich parents, would do the same thing.

  8. Brian Harris

    I wouldn’t let my swimmers wear tech suits unless they made it to Senior Sectionals

  9. Jackie Madden

    A similar initiative introduced by Swimming Victoria this season. …for the reasons cited above and more. Pleased so many support.

  10. Bonnie-Ann Brill Keagy

    Mid Atlantic has done this for 10 and unders and it’s a good thing. I wish we’d go to 12 and under (my youngest is 11)

  11. Doina Bogdan

    Swimming is an expensive sport anyway.

    Parents need to pay for a lot of trainning swimming suits all the year around.

    A competitive swimming suits, said ‘tech’ will not change anything…for the 12 years old swimmers…in term of times BUT it may make them dream.

    • Adam Joshua Hendren

      Or make them rely on an expensive suit to go fast. I want swimmers who can swim fast in any suit.

    • Jennifer Gienger

      If you think swimming is expensive then you’ve never had a child in dance or a child play hockey or football.

  12. Fu Ren

    Dansk Svømmeunion Dansk Svømmetræner Sammenslutning Hovedstadens Svømmeklub

  13. Mel Bailey

    about time!!! it reduculous having 9 year olds in tech suits! they shoud bring the age uo to 16 i think!!!

  14. Sally Smith Bennett

    Swimming WA should also do this. Enough competition in the water without who’s got the most expensive bathers!

  15. Kimberly McDermott Miller

    Wait a minute. My 12 and under is super competitive and she ownes several tech suits. She is 11 now. If they would ban her at this age, thats a lot of money going to waste because she will grow and then they will not fit by the time she’s 13. It’s a parents choice. No one forces you to buy these suits at any age.

      • avatar

        Kimberly and Victoria, I am sorry but you are part of the problem with swimming. If your child is “super competitive”, why should they gain an advantage based on a suit. This rule attempt to put all swimmers at a level playing field. I am disgusted at times at the “arms race” mentality by parents to spend anything and everything to put their child at the top.

    • Peta Maree

      Agree.
      Has Basketball put a ban on kids U12 wearing Kyries, Kobe’s ect….they’re not exactly cheap. 🙄

    • Ang Gold

      But you must be very wealthy to afford so many! It’s putting pressure on parents who are not so fortunate to struggle to buy one….let alone several!

    • Kimberly McDermott Miller

      Kinda funny you think I’m wealthy. Actually I am truly middle, middle class. I have 3 children who all swim competitively. They all wear tech suits. Knowing how to budget money goes further than being wealthy. I live in an average house, drive an average car. I don’t drink or smoke. My kids come first. Wearing a tech suit has nothing to do with being wealthy. If you can afford to be on a competitive swim team you can affors the suit that goes along with it.

    • avatar
      Amy Wurmnest

      I agree they should be allowed to wear whatever they want, I have two swimmers and if my older one out grows her tech suit too fast then my younger one needs a chance to wear it before she our grows it as well as they are close in size. If a parent doesn’t have money to spend on suits when these kids are younger,they are not going to magically have it when they are older either so what’s the difference

  16. Michelle Partsch

    Wish PAC swim would do this. My 12 year old HAD to have one because “everyone else does” (which on her team is pretty much true). Peer pressure at that age is hard to overcome. I made her use her own money and told her it was stupid and not going to give her any kind of competitive advantage whatsoever especially when “everyone else” is also wearing one, which she took as a vote of no-confidence in her swimming ability. Wish the coaches would set this boundary so we as parents didn’t have to.

    • Mary Lynn Wilhite

      It’s not a bad idea. Save the tech suits for championships only. Our winter coach has the same policy and we like it.

    • Cristin Robens

      Mary Lynn Wilhite that’s what we’ve always done. I don’t understand why they would wear them all year? Defeats the purpose

    • Desmond Lam

      if people wants to waste money on suits that don’t improve their performance, i say let them do it

  17. Thomas Carley

    Two questions 1 do the suits really give swimmers and edge 2. Can I get my money back now that the suits are banned?

  18. William Donhue

    If a kid wants to swim at that age his talent should be the focus learning the basics. Not told unless you have certain suit no.chance to win. Kid thinks why try an quits

  19. Andrew Travis

    I can’t believe tech suits can be that small and parents would fork over the money for one. Mine currently looks like a suit that 12 year old me would struggle to get into

    • Eddy Chan

      Yeh Australia should follow suit. Haha get it?
      But yeh good move, kids should be making time drops anyway regardless of suits and such. The tech suits these days I feel are used more for psychological advantages. I never owned a tech suit until I was 19.

  20. James Bice

    Ban the tech suits outright. Make it about the swimmer not the suit.

  21. Barry Alldrick

    @pooleswimmingclub @swimengland should follow suit if you excuse the pun

  22. Nichole Mitchell

    Swimming Queensland needs to take a look at this great example. Too much pressure put on the kids!

  23. Peta Maree

    My kids don’t wear tech suits, but Swimming Victoria have gone further & banned any suit longer than mid thigh…so the kids can’t even wear jammers… 🙄🙄

  24. Ang Gold

    It should be banned for all competition apart from open age! So expensive and parents feel obliged to buy as you don’t want your child to be the only one without!

  25. Darryl Molisee

    Southern California Swimming LSC banned them months ago.

  26. Mark John Davies

    Parents have been and still are the biggest problem in Junior sport. These suits don’t improve speed at that age.

  27. avatar
    Gerrit Schwedler

    Sounds like a good idea. But will it stop with banned tech-suits? Goggles for competitive swimming are expensive as well – another ban? And I am not sure every official can see the difference between an arena carbon (banned) and an arena st (not banned). In Europe, there is a “FINA approved” stamp on ALL competive swimsuits, even on the suits in the “non-restricted” list above. I don’t think it is different anywhere else. And tech-suits without stamp ? Come on, there will be a lot of discussions.

    My son got his first techsuit, as he crashed the 1:05 barrier 100F LC.I think that is a well earned appreciation. I don’t think it is a real advantage in pool competitions (but it is in openwater competitions, even with FINA approved techsuits). It is about looking like a “real competitive swimmer”.

    I think it’s the coach’s job to stop overeager parents. It’s ridiculous to swim 1:10 or slower in a tech suit, ESPECIALLY if you’re OLDER than 12. So I don’t understand the age barrier,, what has age got to do with it?

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Author: Diana Pimer

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Diana Pimer was a breaststroke/IMer at Keene State College and is the NEISDA Conference record holder in the 200 IM. She is the assistant swim coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach at Keene State, as well as KSC's head site coach for Greenwood Swimming. Pimer also helped coach 2016 Paralympic bronze medalist Robert Griswold.

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