Similar to the decision FINA made last summer regarding swimwear in international competition, the World Triathlon Corporation has announced rule changes for wetsuits set to take affect in September 2010 which they say will level the playing field and standardize rules for all global competitions. Rule changes will apply to all Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events and will involve the water temperature at which a competitor will be allowed to wear a wetsuit, the elimination of swimskins in non-wetsuit legal swims as well as legal materials for those suits.


Wetsuits may be worn in water temperatures up to and including 24.5 degrees Celsius/76.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Athletes choosing to wear a wetsuit in water temperatures exceeding that temperature will not be eligible for awards, including World Championship slots. Wetsuits will be prohibited in water temperatures greater than 28.8 degrees C/84 degrees F.


“Ironman recognizes the importance of showcasing the competitive element at all events. We believe these amendments place more emphasis on performance and function and less on technology, therefore staying true with the Ironman spirit,” says Ironman’s Head of Officials Jimmy Riccitello.


All swim apparel must consist of 100% textile material such as nylon or Lycra and may not cover the neck or extend beyond the shoulders or knees of a swimmer.  Competitors are allowed zippers, as well as tri-suits underneath swimwear. 


Finally, swim suits may not contain any rubber, polyurethane, or neoprene material.  Wetsuits may not exceed 5 millimeters in thickness.