By Elizabeth Wickham
In Southern California, a new rule regarding tech suits at age group meets was passed. I saw some discussion about it on Facebook and one parent wanted to know why the LSC would get involved and tell us when our kids could wear a tech suit.
“Southern California Swimming’s House of Delegates voted unanimously to prohibit the wearing of ‘Tech’ suits in Age Group competition at committee level (BRW), invitationals, dual/tri and intrasquads. ‘Tech’ suits will be permitted at Winter Age Group Invitationals (WAG), June Age Group Invitationals (JAG) and Junior Olympics (JO) meets.
The HoD also voted a ban on ‘Tech’ suits for swimmers 5-10 years old for all Southern California Swimming sanctioned meets.”
Read more on the Southern California Swimming website: https://www.socalswim.org/news/southern-california/2016/11/10/house-of-delegates-acts-to-restrict-tech-suits-for-age-group?ReturnUrl=/
Personally, I agree with these rules. I remember when my kids were in 10 and unders and one swimmer my daughter’s age got a LZR Fastskin. I thought I needed to buy one for my daughter, too. Our coach said no, and suggested a plain navy, one-piece instead. She said that she didn’t believe in young kids wearing tech suits, and in her day you didn’t get a suit unless you earned it.
Here are some thoughts about why you should wait to buy your child a tech suit, especially in the 10 and under age group:
It’s about technique.
A tech suit isn’t going to make or break a young swimmer. Tighter streamlines and not lifting their heads going into turns will get them faster than a suit—as well as growing and getting stronger.
Enjoy the process.
If there’s too much focus on results by parents, then the enjoyment and satisfaction children experience is minimized. Buying a tech suit for a young child places an emphasis on times.
It’s not the suit.
Kids should be having fun with their friends at the pool. We want them to love the sport and stay with it through college and masters. We don’t want them to believe that it’s a magic suit that earned them a time, rather than their own hard work and effort.
Earning a reward.
There is something be said for waiting and letting your child earn their first fast suit. Our team has a contract with a manufacturer and our swimmers get a free suit when they get to Junior Nationals. The problem is it may take a tech suit for a teenager to earn that first Junior National time. Most of our team’s swimmers get tech suits for their big meets, whether it’s JOs or Sectionals, on their way to earning Junior National times. It makes the big meets exciting with tapering, shaving and wearing tech suits—and swimming fast.
When do you believe kids should wear tech suits? Does your LSC or team have rules on when they wear them?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.