Rules of the Game - Wetsuits

Swim Conduct: Wetsuits 

This week's rule is Article 4.4—Wetsuits.

The rule allows participants to wear a wetsuit if the water temperature is 78 degrees or less. The upper limit was set because wetsuits are allowed for protection against hypothermia, and there is little risk of hypothermia for a swimmer in water as warm as 78 degrees.

Beginning in 2013, participants must ensure that any wetsuit used has a uniform thickness of 5 millimeters or less. If the water temperature is between 78 and 84 degrees, a participant may elect to use a wetsuit but is removed from age group competition and rankings.

Here's the rule:

4.4. Wetsuits. 
Each age group participant shall be permitted to wear a wetsuit 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/pros at 68 degrees for swim distances less than 3000 meters and 71.6 degrees for distances of 3000 meters or greater.

Effective January 1, 2013, any swimmer wearing a wetsuit with a thickness measured in any part greater than 5 millimeters shall be