New England Swimming LSC recently passed a new technical suit policy which bans the use of most technical suits by swimmers aged 10 and under. This partial ban was adopted on September 5th and made effective to all New England Swimming, Inc. sanctioned competitions.
“Swimmers 10 years old and younger may not compete in a ‘Technical Suit’ in a New England Swimming, Inc. sanctioned or approved competition.”
According to this policy, suits that have bonded seams, meshed seams, or kinetic tape will also be banned, even if the suit is not on the banned suit list. Some of the the suits that are not banned for use include the Speedo Aquablade and Fastskin 2, Arena Powerskin, and TYR Fusion 2.
With this new policy, New England Swimming joins a growing list of LSCs to ban technical suits for age group swimmers. Southern California, Arkansas, and Maine LSCs have already put similar policies in place, although Arkansas has delayed enactment of their policy which was intended to begin on September 1st of this year. However, unlike new restrictions from the other LSCs, New England Swimming is not allowing any exceptions where 10 & unders would be allowed to wear an otherwise banned tech suit. Also, New England Swimming only banned tech suits for swimmers aged 10 or under on the first day of a meet, while the others banned the suits for 12 and unders.
The move by New England Swimming comes in the wake of USA Swimming hiring a consulting firm to study tech suit policies among age group swimmers. A full report of the findings is set to be out in November, and may result in action from USA Swimming on a national scale.
However, even if no action is taken by USA Swimming, more LSCs will likely follow the lead of those that have already passed tech suit bans. The topic of young swimmers using tech suits has become a hot button debate, and public opinion appears to be on the side of restricting the use of tech suits for younger swimmers. A poll in January found that 56.2% of respondents agreed with new restrictions.
To view the complete policy from New England Swimming, and see the full list of banned suits, click here.