Banning Technical / Performance Race Suits for Swimmers Aged 12 and Under

You may be aware that a number of swimming regions, both internationally (states in Australia and the US) and throughout New Zealand (Swimming Otago, Canterbury West Coast and Swimming Auckland) have banned the use of Technical / Performance Race Suits for their junior swimmers (swimmers age 12 years and under).

As a result of those decisions, the Board of Swimming Waikato has looked into whether banning these suits was also the right decision for the Waikato region.

After researching this issue, and after having discussions with a number of our Coaches and with Club representatives at our 2018 Annual General meeting, the Board of Swimming Waikato will introduce a ban on these suits, for swimmers aged 12/U, at all swim meets hosted in the Waikato. Please note that this ban does not include “Jammers” (knee length swim suits/togs).

This ban will come into effect from 15 December 2018 (our Waikato Christmas Meet).

What is a Technical / Performance Race Suit ?

  • A technical / performance race 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.  These suits have water-repellent properties that add little textile weight and help mature swimmers cut through the water. The conforming carbon fiber cage (and other approved textiles) give the biggest performance benefit: compression. Extreme muscle compression streamlines the body in order to reduce drag, thus leading to greater improvements in performance.

Our Rationale –

  • Very good research suggests that there is no determinable speed advantage for a young person 12 years old and under.
  • These race suits are expensive and have a short life span.  Whilst we recognise that this may not be an issue for everyone, we want to encourage participation in our sport and the cost is likely to be a barrier for some.  Swimming Waikato does not wish to place unnecessary financial pressure on parents or create an environment where it is thought to achieve at this level, a technical / performance race suit is required.
  •  At the junior level, refining technique and skills is more likely to contribute to improved race performance, rather than the swimwear the young person is wearing.

Over the next few weeks, we will provide more information about how this ban will be enforced.  The purpose of this ‘heads up’ is to ensure that our families do not purchase new technical / performance race suits for their young swimmers in the meantime.

If you have any questions, please direct them to