The Arkansas Swimming LSC has chosen to follow the lead of Southern California Swimming, putting restrictions on technical suits for swimmers age 12 and under. The ruling by the ASI House of Delegates will allow for only a few exceptions, with the wording of the rule proposed to be the following:
“ASI will not allow technical suits to be worn by any athletes age 12 and younger in ASI sanctioned meets. The only exception being during the finals of a prelim/finals meet, or if the meet is Sectional level or higher.”
The rationale for the proposal was presented as a concern over cost, citing that the rule, if passed, “relieves the burden on families who feel obligated to spend money on high dollar suits to be competitive.”
A poll in January showed that 56.2% of SwimSwam readers would support an age-based tech suit ban, with comments on the article reflecting several opinions from readers supporting both sides of the argument. In Arkansas the motion passed, but not unanimously as there were three in attendance who voted against the decision once discussion was finished.
In the meeting, when the question arose about which suits would be banned, the list made by Southern California was shared and it was agreed that this list would be used at this time. Discussion on the topic centered mostly around the fear of any unforeseen repercussions the decision might carry. This included the possibilities of parent push-back, the fear of over-stepping into “micro-management” of family decisions regarding purchases, and the fear that teams in other LSC’s might avoid attending Arkansas meets due to the ban. There was also concern that it might be difficult for officials to police a swimsuit ban, but the Officials’ Chair for the LSC reassured the group that this should not be a concern as it would be easy to spot younger swimmers in banned suits.
The ban will be effective at all meets hosted in the Arkansas LSC beginning on September 1, 2017.