Race Directors that are producing wetsuit legal races should be aware of the USA Triathlon rules on wetsuits and be sure to have consistent, comprehensive messaging on their race communications to inform athletes of the procedures they plan to implement.
In addition to the wetsuit rule noted below, other items Race Director’s will want to take into consideration when athletes have wetsuits on:
- Timing Chips – be sure that the wetsuit will not interfere with the timing chip signal, and that timing chips are not placed over the top of the wetsuit since the timing chip will then be ripped off when the wetsuit is stripped following the swim.
- Race Numbers – if you are utilizing race tattoos, these will inherently be covered by an athlete’s wetsuit on their legs and arms. This is not against USAT rules, but alternative identification methods should be utilized to ensure athletes can be identified during the swim. Marking the swim caps with numbers is always a great alternative option.
- Wetsuit strippers – for Long Course races or above, wetsuit strippers will sometimes be provided to assist athletes in stripping their wetsuit following the swim.
4.4 Wet suits. Each age group participant shall be permitted to wear a wet suit without penalty in any event sanctioned by USA Triathlon up to and including a water temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water temperature is greater than 78 degrees, but less than 84 degrees Fahrenheit, age group participants may wear a wet suit at their own discretion, provided however that participants who wear a wet suit within this temperature range shall not be eligible for prizes or awards. Age group participants shall not wear wet suits in water temperatures equal to or greater than 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The wetsuit policy for elite athletes shall be determined by the USAT Athletes Advisory Council. The AAC has set the wetsuit maximum temperature for elite athletes at 68 degrees for swim distances less than 3000 meters and 71.6 degrees for distances of 3000 meters or greater. Any swimmer wearing a wetsuit with a thickness measured in any part greater than 5 millimeters shall be disqualified.