Maine Swimming Next LSC to Ban Young Swimmers from Wearing Tech Suits

Maine Swimming announced a new suit policy that would ban younger age groupers from suiting up until they get to a certain age. They follow similar policy amendments made by both the Southern California and Arkansas LSCs. Maine Swimming actually writes at the top of their policy amendment that their rules were adapted from Southern California Swimming.

The new Maine LSC policy, effective September 1 of this year, states that:

  • Swimmers 10 and under may not wear tech suits at any Maine Swimming sanctioned meets.
  • 11- and 12-year-olds can only wear tech suits at these meets: JOs, Bowdoin Open, YMCA States and MSIII.
  • There are no restrictions on swimmers 13 and older.
  • No suits with bonded seams, kinetic tape, or mesh seams are allowed.

Here is the full list of banned suits, and the full policy amendment, courtesy of Maine Swimming. Banned suits are what one might expect when they think of a tech suit– Arena, Speedo LZR, Dolfin, and other performance brands.

In Southern California, tech suits were banned for all age group competition EXCEPT for Winter and June Age Group Invitationals as well as JO’s. They also banned tech suits for all swimmers aged 5-10 for any Southern California sanctioned meet, which is what Maine also did. Arkansas banned tech suit usage for all children 12 and under EXCEPT for during finals sessions of a prelims/finals meet as well as any meet at the sectional level or higher.

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98 Comments on "Maine Swimming Next LSC to Ban Young Swimmers from Wearing Tech Suits"

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good grief. What is a bonded seam, a mesh seam? What are examples of suits with these seams?

All of the following are a Speedo suit:

LZR X-seamed suit
LZR Pro-stitched suit
Aquablade-lycra suit (one step above a regular practice suit)

I hear they are looking to ban skates in hockey as well since they are so expensive……

Little League is going to ban bats as well. Until the kids are older and are able to show proper technique they can just use broom handles like they did “back in my day”. This will even out the playing field.

Richard Millns

Too strong of an opinion, you won’t learn with such strong opinions like that. Swimming is extremely technical and raw as a sport. We haven’t scratched the surface yet when it comes to definitive information about what exactly is right and wrong in this sport. That’s why swimming is so cool. I say let’s see the cause and effect of these suit bans and see if the kids benefit long term.

Should we ban caps too? Because, you now, technique!

Why? What is the purpose of banning tech suits for younger kids?

Punishes people who have money

Wiscoswimfan

Or doesn’t punish those that are fortunate to afford the suits. It doesn’t punish the rich, it evens the playing field for the less fortunate. Also teaching kids to rely on technical suits at a young age, doesn’t help them progress.

Sounds like a blue collar thing to do.

People shouldn’t be punished for being rich and successful

Sir Swimsalot

Agree. Many of them have earned their success. Punishing them is just out of envy.

muffinbottom

Absolutely. I remember when low net worth 10 year olds looked up to rich 10 year olds, but now they’re just jealous and angry. Maybe they should get a job like the rich ones who earned it! If you can’t figure out how to maintain a stable income and save for retirement by the time you’re 10, you are the one with the problem! Enough of these LSC’s trying to promote “level playing fields.” $500 should get you a free pass for flipturns in breast and fly, $1000 and you get to start at “take your mark.” If you can’t afford it, too bad! And if you think it’s a bad idea, you’re just jealous!

Actually, you are punishing the swimmer by putting them in a suit too early by typically denying them the proper foundation of fundamentals. Suit makers typically all agree the suits are not designed with the younger less developed body in mind. How arrogant to think coaches are “punishing” parents who are successful!

mcgillrocks

A kid should be rewarded for swimming faster, not having a daddy (or mommy) with enough money to buy the fancy suit.

You’re condescending.

I think you’re in the wrong this time. Anyone of a certain age remembers swimming as the sport any kid who had a $20 nylon Speedo & a < $10 pair of goggles was all set for a great summer at a local pool. Summer league or rec swimming has generally always been an obtainable seasonal activity for most kids regardless of background. I was sad to see that change with those ridiculous $600 costumes in the late 2000s. There were a few folks from back in the day I swam with who also had kids in the sport same age as my kids. I was simply disgusted to see schoolboys wearing full body Jakeds just because pops would shell… Read more »

Well that was tad dramatic. “Losing all respect” for people, “simply disgusted” and “toughen up buttercup”. Maybe your buttercup should toughen up and race the kids with the fancy suits and not care instead of sitting back and complaining.

Adults rely on suits just as much. Trust me, the world record in the 100 breast would be like 58 high or 59 without a tech suit. Suits go a long way. You will not perform the same time without s tech suit than with a tech suit. There is no way.

So tech suits are fine 13 and up. Read the article.

Are you kidding me? There is little enough money in swimming without limiting the market for swim gear even more. Making it even tougher for older athletes to continue chasing their dreams while making a living

So we should ban caps too? We don’t want kids “to rely” on them.

Swimming is already an expensive sport. Monthly dues adds up. Travelling to meets is expensive. How many parents will pull their kids out of swimming if now they have to buy a new tech suit every 6 months as their kid grows?

Those suits don’t fit kids that little properly. It really is a waste of money at that age.

Who cares if you have the money to waste?

Thats up to the parent, coach, and swimmer to decide, not the nanny state.

Helps keep the sport within reach of more people. Helps teach young kids that it is about them, not their equipment. Helps parents not have to let their kid feel entitled to everything under the sun without having to cope with the multitude of kids who have them.

If you ban a suit it does teach them its about the equipment

Swim shop and swim coach

10 year olds do not need to wear a $500 suit designed for an adult body (muscle mass, physique, etc). At that age, they are dropping time regardless.

Couldn’t agree more, all money aside and the argument of the less fortunate vs more fortunate and who can afford them, why does a 10 year old need to be wearing one of these suits there’s no point they’re going to drop massive time each year regardless and there’s no need to be relying on the suit at that age

If it doesn’t matter then who legislate? If it doesn’t help then who cares? Sounds like we are talking about parents’ ego and not the kids.

Banning tech suits evens out the competition at younger age groups. This much is clear.

The goal is that USA Swimming wants the competition to be more even at younger age groups for the better long-term health of the sport. If new swimmer families are discouraged by the money necessary to achieve elite times, they won’t join and they will spend their sports dollars elsewhere.

Once age groupers start getting to a place in their swim careers where high-level competition is possible, then let them wear the tech suits. Seems reasonable to me.

So who decides, the King Nanny state? Sounds like communism.

More governmental control! Yay!!

T.J. Willis

Because my dads a beast

I really don’t think these LSC boards even know for themselves exactly what they are trying to accomplish with this rule. They see 8- and 9-year olds wearing $400 suits, and they think “this is ridiculous” (which it is), and “we need to do something about it.” But there is nothing they can do that really solves anything or doesn’t create unintended consequences. The cost argument really doesn’t fly, because the kids are still allowed to wear $280 LZR Pros with stitched seams, yet they are not allowed to wear suits with bonded seams that can be bought on sale for much less. If this kind of rule becomes widespread, suit companies will just produce ever-more expensive suits with stitched… Read more »

“kids that have poor technique will not benefit from tech suits” exactly. Which is part of the reason why the ban is so stupid, if the kid is good they will still be fast and if the kid sucks they’ll still suck

Exactly UBERFAN. Well said.

The cost argument does fly. At these levels no one save for the absolute most elite 1% of swimming children MIGHT benefit from a LZR vs. a $15 jammer. And, these suits have not been tested on children, we only know (believe?) they work on adult bodies… I really question how much of it is the placebo effect (they say this suit will make me faster…), but there’s really no quantitative way to know for sure (can’t wait to read the counter arguments to that). The focus should absolutely be turned to technique and sportsmanship. Kids will always want the exact same equipment as their idol and maybe there’s ways to mimic the look/etc at a lower price point. Yes,… Read more »

Most of our fast kids wear Speedo PowerPlus at this age. Decent suit $40 boys/80 girls. They crush kids wearing $300 arena suits from other teams.

There is. You can purchase a Yingfa s
Tech suit for 30 dollars.

muffinbottom
The objective “keep the cost of the entire competition costume under $70 for swimmers 12&u” is well-defined and achievable. It seems like that is basically what they were going for. You’re right that this ban goes wrong by introducing the seam ban, which does not seem to address the goal well at all. I’d like to see usa swimming make a list of approved suits (like the fina stamp) for age group competition. Plain lycra. ~$30 boys suit, ~$50 girls suit. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for unintended consequences. Money spent of private lessons, coaching etc. is less of an issue for me. It is still possible to improve stroke and fitness without those expenses, and they require the… Read more »

I agree that if cost is truly the motivator, it makes more sense to simply put a price cap on suits for 10 & U’s. Let the suit companies compete to make the best $70 (or whatever price) suit, and see what they can come up with. But again, unless you are regulating club dues, private lessons, and all other equipment, it really doesn’t accomplish anything.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studies and swims at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and has been in the pool ever since. He misses Vine.

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