The death of tech suits

At long last, the minutes from the Long Distance committee at the recent USMS National Convention are available. I’ve cut and pasted the most interesting excerpts (IMO) below.

Bottom line: The era of full-body tech suits (B70 Nero Comp & similar) in USMS-sanctioned open-water events is now over. I believe this is a good thing, but I present the following without further commentary.

Well, aside from saying: From now on, my friends, you’ll have to keep your man-boobs in check the old-fashioned way!



Swimwear allowed for open water events is defined below and is not impacted by decisions of FINA, USA-Swimming or part 1 of USMS rules. It is the swimmer’s responsibility to understand the appropriate swimwear allowed at a particular event.

303.6.2 Rules for Category I swimwear for open water events

A. Swimwear shall include only a swimsuit, cap or caps (which may include those made of neoprene), and goggles. Swim caps shall be defined as head gear conforming to a traditional swim cap design and shall not extend to protect the neck and shoulders.

B. The competitor shall wear only one swimsuit in one or two pieces. All swimsuits must shall be made from textile materials. For men, the swimsuit shall not extend above the navel nor below the knees, and for women, shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor extend below the knees.

303.6.3 Rules for Category II swimwear for open water events

A. Swimwear that does not meet the requirements for Category I swimwear shall be considered Category II swimwear. Swimwear may include a swimsuit or wetsuit, cap or caps, goggles, arm bands, and rash guards. Nose clips, ear plugs, wristwatches and grease are also allowed.

3 thoughts on “The death of tech suits”

    1. I wasn’t at the convention, but I think the important point is that tech suits (i.e., swim “skins” that extend below the knees or above the navel for men, including the B70 pointzero3, Nero, etc.) are now officially distinguished from “traditional” swimwear (for men, briefs or jammers).

      The issue in the past was that people wearing tech suits were scored in the same category as people wearing traditional suits – e.g., for winning O.W. national championships, for “All-American” status, and for “All-Star” scoring.

      With the new ruling, if you wear a B70 Nero, you might as well be wearing a wetsuit – both are considered “Category 2” swimwear.

      While Category 2 swimwear may be allowed in USMS-sanctioned races, people wearing Category 2 suits will always be scored in separate divisions than those wearing briefs/jammers and, I assume, will not be eligible for O.W. national championships.

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