COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Following extensive research and consideration, USA Triathlon announced today that beginning in 2013 use of wetsuits exceeding five millimeters in thickness will not be permitted at USAT-sanctioned events.
The new regulation, which falls under Article 4.4 Wetsuits of the USA Triathlon Competitive Rules, states: "Effective January 1, 2013, any swimmer wearing a wetsuit with a thickness measured in any part greater than five millimeters shall be disqualified."
"Our board has been considering this issue and the impact it might have with our athletes for some time," said USA Triathlon CEO Skip Gilbert. "The overall feeling is that it makes perfect sense to align with the guidelines set by our international federation and multisport enthusiasts around the world. This is a standard that is good for the athlete community and our sport overall."
By implementing this rule change, USA Triathlon falls in line with the international standard of five millimeters recognized by the International Triathlon Union (ITU) and other National Governing Bodies.
The adoption of this rule is designed to eliminate any competitive advantage gained by enhancements in wetsuit technology in recent years. Studies have shown there is a marked and measurable performance benefit to the use of certain wetsuits, specifically added buoyancy effectively reducing passive drag. These performance benefits have led to an increased, and artificially induced, reduction in physical demand required during the swim leg of a triathlon and an increase in speed.
USAT recognizes that there may be wetsuits currently available on the market that are greater than five millimeters in thickness. Consequently, the organization has implemented a phase-in period of the rule to allow the use of wetsuits that currently do not meet the thickness requirement. This announcement of the new regulation serves as notice that the rule change will come into effect in 2013.
USAT recently solicited feedback on the wetsuit thickness issue from its certified race directors via a comprehensive survey. The majority of those surveyed supported USA Triathlon's adoption of this rule.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon - one of the fastest growing sports in the world - as well as duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. USAT sanctions 3,100 races and connects with more than 133,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USAT provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic Games.
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