INDIANAPOLIS --- The NCAA Divisions I, II and III Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Committees are proposing rules and restrictions on the use of swimsuits used in NCAA competitions. All rules proposals will be considered by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel before taking effect.
The proposal by the committees include, among other things, suit construction to be restricted to textiles or a woven material, the coverage of men’s suits to be between the waist and the kneecap only, the coverage of women’s suits to be between the shoulder and kneecap, and the requirement of materials used to be 100 percent permeable to both air and water and be no more than 0.8 millimeters thick.
“Our NCAA subcommittee has been working tirelessly since the end of the 2009 collegiate championships and even well before that to get our arms around this issue.,” said Tracy Huth, chair of the Division I men’s and women’s swimming committee and director of athletics at Oakland University. “Previously our rules covered equipment and ‘uniforms,’ but now we have rules designed specifically for the suit swimmers wear.”
Based on the sentiment of the committees and NCAA swimming coaches wanting restrictions placed on suits, an NCAA subcommittee was formed to research the suits and offer recommendations.
“Our decisions reflect the vast majority of college coaches deciding what they are willing to accept in performance augmentation,” said Jim Richardson, liaison to the suit subcommittee and women’s swimming coach at the University of Michigan. “The general feeling among coaches was that the new technology suits had too profound of an effect on performance.”
Similar restrictions on swimsuits have been issued by FINA, swimming’s international governing body, for international competition starting in 2010. The primary difference between FINA and the NCAA’s recommendations is the timing on the standards going into effect. The NCAA committees’ recommendations are for the collegiate swimming season that begins in September.
Proposed swimsuit restrictions include the following:
- Textile – The material used for the swimsuit shall be a textile (a woven material).
- Permeability – All swimsuit materials must be 100 percent permeable to air and water.
- Buoyancy – The swimsuit shall have a net buoyant effect of not more than .5 Newtons (roughly 51 grams or 1.8 ounces).
- Thickness – The material used shall have a maximum thickness of .8 millimeters. (This measurement is in accordance with International Organization for Standardization 5084 for textiles.)
- Ergogenic aids – The material shall not provide external stimulation or influence of any form (for example, pain reduction, chemical/medical substance release, electro-stimulation, compression of body profile or other performance-enhancing properties).
- When used, the material shall follow the body shape.
- The design shall not create air-trapping effects.
- For men, the swimsuit shall not extend above the waist and below the top of the kneecap.
- For women, the swimsuit shall not extend beyond the shoulders and below the top of the kneecap, nor cover the neck.
- Any system providing external stimulation or influence of any form (for example, pain reduction, chemical/medical substance release, electro-stimulation, compression of body profile or other performance-enhancing properties) is prohibited.
- The swimsuit shall not have any zippers or fasteners other than a waist tie for a brief or a jammer.
- The swimsuit shall be composed of no more than two layers, the sum of which shall not exceed .8 millimeters in total thickness (except in the casing/ribbing in the terminal ends of the swimsuit).
- Elastic material may be contained within the casing/ribbing in the terminal ends of the swimsuit (for example, shoulder straps, waist opening, leg openings).
- All swimsuits must be constructed in an identical fashion with no variation/modification for individual swimmers.
- Modifications or alterations (for example, tape or water resistant sprays) are prohibited.
- One post-construction impermeable school logo (not to exceed 9 square inches) may be applied to the swimsuit.
- Swimmers with physical disabilities may request a waiver for customization from the NCAA swimming and diving secretary-rules editor at least one week before the individual’s first competition.
- A swimmer shall be limited to wearing only one swimsuit.
For more information on the swimsuit ruling, log on to NCAA.org.