Technical/Performance Race Suits Guidance

Below is some information on current guidance ALL Piranhas coaching staff are continuing to implement in regards to performance appropriate swimwear for age group swimmers. 

Technical/Performance Race Suits can be very expensive and thus can be considered a barrier to entry for families looking to be in competitive swimming. There are no proven performance benefits for young swimmers using technical/performance racing suits and our coaching team believe that any perceived benefits of wearing a technical/performance racing suit are not relevant to young swimmers who are at the start of their swimming development.

The development process is a long journey with many ups and downs, and it is important that swimmers concentrate on the application of excellent technique, completion of quality training sets and achievement of consistent attendance to practice to aid physical development rather than looking for perceived small gains from technical race suits. 

The coaching staff wish to limit the use of racing suits outside of specifically named competitions as an initiative to remove competitive pressure on young swimmers at a

crucial development phases of their swimming journey. Tech Suits cost hundreds of dollars and their ‘life’ in terms of making fractions of seconds difference to elite swimmers is less than 20 races – thereafter the small difference they make gets even smaller – and that is for only elite athletes. In swimmers below elite level, ‘active drag’ caused by poor technique far outweighs any perceived gains due to suit drag, provided the suit that is used is well fitted and not baggy.

The coaching staff’s recommendation to swimmers and parents is as follows:

Swimmers in squads including and below Youth Squad level should not wear Technical/Performance race suits at any competition the club hosts, attends and/or is represented at.

Swimmers in ALL Performance & senior squads may wear Technical/Performance Race Suits in line with FINA by laws 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 (rules governing technical racing suits) in relevant competitions designated by coaches but may be instructed not to wear them where there is no requirement or a perceived benefit to swim in normal costumes.

Except for the meets below where they will be permitted to wear Technical/Performance race suits:

JP Fiset or Ontario Junior International

Alberta Provincial & Championships (Spring/Summer)

Canadian Western Championships

Canadian Junior Championships

Canadian Championships & Trials 

Alberta Summer Games

The coaching staff recognises that we are not able to physically stop swimmers from wearing any suit they want provided it meets the decency requirements set by the sport’s governing bodies and will therefore be relying on the good behaviours of its swimmers and parents in supporting this guidance. As is normal in these cases, eventually peer pressure will win out, so early adoption by parents and their swimmers would be greatly appreciated. Adherence to these guidelines will not only save you money but will also ensure that tech suits are in the best condition when they are required, which will help our swimmers achieve at their target meets.

What is a Technical / Performance Suit?

Technical/performance racing suits are manufactured using scientifically advanced materials. Materials of this type are normally comprised of spandex and nylon composite fabrics with features to reduce “drag” against the water. The fabrics include features which are highly compressive and increase the swimmers glide through the water and reducing absorption of water by the suit as opposed to regular swimsuits. Traditional one-piece race suits for females as well as briefs and trunks for male swimmers are not technical/performance suits and will be permitted. Knee length suits and “jammers” will also be permitted provided they do not feature the key components of a technical/performance swimsuit.

The key component of a technical/performance suits which should be identified when differentiating what is and isn’t permitted are the following:


I hope you find this information useful and can understand the long term benefits of this guidance. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to speak with your squad coach.