USA Swimming Sends Tech Suit Ban Proposal on to House Without Vote

USA Swimming’s Board of Directors was expected to vote last Saturday on a proposal that would ban the use of tech suits for 12-and-unders, except at high-level meets.

However, after hearing a progress report on the proposal, the board agreed to move the measure forward in the approval process without a vote. According to USA Swimming’s Chief Marketing Officer Matt Farrell, the organization’s rules of procedure do not require a board ballot on the issue.

The Age Group Committee will instead submit the proposal directly to USA Swimming’s house of delegates, which will conduct the final vote when it convenes in September.

In late 2017, USA Swimming commissioned the Isaac Sports Group to review various policies on tech suit use in age group swimming. The results of the review were informally made public through Board of Directors meeting minutes in March 2018, and revealed that the Age Group Committee favored some form of restriction, though the exact logistics have yet to be released.

The Isaac report concluded: “based on our research, we find that the tech suit cost issue is an important issue, but not one that is driving people out of the sport or as significant an issue as initially assumed. The major concern of tech suit use is the impact on the development of young swimmers, potentially drawing focus, attention and resources away from the development priorities swimmers, coaches, and parents should be focusing on.”

As the report suggested, those favoring the ban often cite preferring to focus on technique rather than technology for swimmers at a young age, which they suspect will lead to improved long-term development. Others have also cited monetarily ‘leveling the playing field’ and making the sport more accessible to all.

Opponents of the ban feel that it is an overreach by USA Swimming, jumping into matters of how parents should best spend money on their children, and violating the athletes’ rights to use a suit that is approved everywhere else in the world.

Based on these concerns, the report also raised a number of questions for the Age Group Development Committee to consider, including whether it is in USA Swimming’s best interest to “micro-manage,” whether restrictions can be enforced fairly and consistently without overburdening officials, and whether new rules can “significantly influence” the current culture of tech suit use.

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Ohioswimmer

I am not a fan of tech suits for 12 and under, but if you are going to ban them, then do it. I am al so not a fan of telling kids they arent good enough to wear a standard piece of equipment that will make them faster. If you are leveling the playing field, then level it.

National records

level the palying field for who?

Go Bearcats

For who can and can’t afford the suit

James

This is a bit of a hypothetical, but what if you are a 11-12 year old right on the brink of a cut for a so-called elite level time. What if the suit would make the minuscule difference needed to get it done? Perhaps I’m just not around age-group swimming enough yet to know (I swam in the 90’s, and have a 7 year old just starting), but is this really a major problem? Are that many parents of 10 year old children rushing out to buy them 2-$300 suits?

swim2fit

Yes. Have you been to Southern California?? Not saying they’re spoiled, at all, just saying that they have ALL the resources from SUCH a young age. I love SoCal swimming, for the record- just clarifying that yes, the 9-10 swimmers there are absolutely given the royal swimming equipment treatment; and the competition is SO thick that $2-300 is chump change for how much it could blast you through the rankings in just that area

National records

parents should be in control of what is necessary for their child, Not USA Swimming

BGNole97

My 12 yr old is looking forward to training hard all season with his eye on a couple sectionals cuts at the State meet. He’s saved up, so who is USA swimming to tell him he can’t buy a suit?

I should be able to tell those voting against the suits that they can’t buy diamonds for their wives because they really aren’t the most rare or hardest gemstone, so you’re really just wasting your money. You should be feeding the hungry with that money.

These swimming commissars need to get over themselves. Figure out how to keep pervs off our pool decks first, THEN come back to me with fashion pointers.

National records

Too bad, wait till next year, or maybe never, you never know what life brings! It just isn’t fair for the other kids! stand down you are succeeding too fast!

Swimparent

Yes. It IS that big of a problem. And if a swimmer at that age is that close to a cut, I promise you there are plenty of changes they’d be able to make in their races at that level to drop more time than any suit would.
I have older kids now but Many times at that age their fastest swims were in a non tech suit or an old tech suit.
I 100% agree with this change.

National records

I agree with this change……. for your kids, but not for mine!

jojoNV

It ain’t the suit and what a great lesson for kids to learn rather than be told. Quick, save the children! This pretend issue is ridiculous.

CoachChris

If you can’t make the cut without a suit, then you can’t make it. End of story. As long as everyone is held to the same standard, it’s completely fair.

National records

Yep, forget it kids! Those Adults got it all figured out! oh, they aren’t your parents, either!

swimmom

There are a ton of 10 and unders wearing Tech Suits. I bought my son one when he was 10 for making Far Western and Western Zone cuts. He is now 11 and still only wears it for Championship meets, he wears a regular brief for all other meets. However, there are a ton of kids 8,9,10,11,12 who wear them for every single age group meet.

Jeff Olsen

How many 12-year-olds do you see at elite meets? Usually zero.

National records

And for those few who do, too bad too sad! Your success must be subdued

@Carly Geehr made the Pan Pacs team at 12.

Gretchen Walsh and Mariah Denigan were the only two 2003 births at Nationals last year.

swimcoach24

Beisel also made her first international team at 12 I think

SwimCoachCA

But was Beisel in a tech suit at 12? At 10? At 8? This has gotten out of hand. Ban the damn things for 12 & unders and let coaches do their job.

National records

Ban those “damn” things! You do know this isn’t a gun control debate?

SwimCoachCA

I fail to see how the use of the word “damn” leads you to gun control. Tech suits for 12 & unders is clearly being debated and I have a clear opinion on them. Sorry if you can’t respect it. There are far too many coaches that just bury their swimmers in yardage and rely on a suit to make them fast instead of teaching and promoting the fundamentals of swimming technique. The sport should be taught not bought.

Guy

Which coaches do that? What is the proof you have that they are doing that? It kinda sounds like you’re just completely making things up unless you can show evidence to support this. Do you attend all these coaches practices every day? Where does this kind of opinion even come from?

National records

i agree with you about coaches teaching kids proper fundementals at young ages but i dont agree that a sport can be bought. you obviously missing the point! And for a coach to lump a superior athlete to those who still need fumdamental issues with a swimmer who may benefit with Tech suit and those who benefited previously says alot!

Ferb

I’m shocked that a supposed coach is that clueless about how tech suits work. They do not make slow swimmers fast. Swimmers will poor technique will get little or no benefit from the modest drag reduction that even a properly fitted suit provides.

swimmom

There are a few, Claire Tuggle comes to mind. She is 13 now, but was swimming elite meets at 12

National records

Yep, no more suits for these children! Money, suit dont fit right, we know better, and it isn’t fair! All kids coming up like Gretchen, Claire, Mariah, too bad it isn’t fair for your competition!

Alsmom

The proposed ban is for 12 and under except for championship meets. If the child makes a state or national cut they can wear a tech suit. Why on earth would anyone allow their kids to wear these suits to regular in season meets. It makes no sense. They only last for a few wears. Tech suits are meant for championship meets.

swimmermama

I was shocked at how many swimmers were wearing them at mini champs. Most of the suits didn’t even fit correctly, they were too big. But the suits are very commonplace among the 12 and under swimmers.

Michelle Graham

Yes it’s frustrating that retailers don’t fit the suits right into kids. More education needs to be understood on how race suits are meant to fit and their purpose. As a race suit specialist in Australia and involved from brand level to athlete that is what I try and facilitate and achieve educating young swimmers and parents on race suits, when they should be part of your swim life and how to fit them and most importantly the most suitable suit on the market for your age, level and body as highly technical suits are not designed for young kids but their are suits at decent prices for the kids that want to have a race suit and they are… Read more »

Kempawl

As a retailer in the United States, we take a lot of time to fit properly the young swimmers and take responsibility in educating the parents who walk into our store. The higher level tech suits do not fit the younger bodies, and that is discussed in detail to our customers (parents) … — however, we have parents who want their child in a tech suit, and they purchase the larger size. Do I agree? No

National records

This is false! Tech suits absolutly fit 9 and 10 year olds! The TYR Activator size 24 fits perfectly and may be a little small depending on the child. BUT by all means lump all kids together! And for a retailer who doesn’t know this also says alot about your business practices

SwimMon

Per the TYR Size Chart for a size 24 Avictor, your child would have to have a 30-31.5” chest, 24-25.5” waist, 33-34.5” hips, and a torso loop of 55.5-57”. I have suited up 11-12 year olds in a 20.

I have a hard time believing that average 9-10 year olds can wear a size 24. Blue Seventy NeroFit, Speedo PowerPlus, and Arena Powerskin ST2.0 are the only suits that come in youth sizes.

Ferb

There are also retailers who encourage young swimmers and their parents to buy suits that are too big, because the retailer doesn’t want to replace a ripped suit. Maybe you are not one of them, but they definitely exist.

National records

I sell Rolaids, don’t buy them because they might get rid of your acid reflux!

Michelle Graham

Very good points here as you correct most 10 and under are purchasing $150 below suits not 300 plus suits but like any area of life the ones that want to and can , do and that I believe is their choice.

Swim parent

$150? Where do they get their suits? Where I’m From girls tech suits start in the $300 range and boys are right behind them. It’s stupid.

KBR

Yingfa has affordable tech suits. Sale now on their site, $49 for women’s, $33 for mens.

Ferb

What’s stupid is parents of 10-year olds paying full retail for tech suits, when they are widely available on sale, or on the secondary market, for a fraction of the price.

National records

I know, How dare them! Their free thought decision to buy a suit for their child is a disgrace! “Off with their head”

Twin Swim Mom

Yes. It’s almost nauseating how many 10 and unders are in elite level tech suits. We’ve swam in several LSCs including Georgia swimming, Mid Atlantic and Potomac Valley and they are everywhere!

jojoNV

Nauseating? I think it’s cute that little kids get so excited to put on a special suit for a “big” meet. I’m shocked that it makes you nauseous.
And, over time, it’s great for the kids to learn that special suit or not, if they don’t put the time and effort into practice they won’t see the results.

Do the adults on here actually think that telling kids something resonates as much as an actual life experience? Trust me, it doesn’t.

“Experience is the teacher of all things,’ in ‘De Bello Civili’ (c. 52 B.C.).” Julius Caesar

Swim Dad

I believe she was being sarcastic with her nauseating statement.

National records

OMG! The site of a swimmer wearing a suit that A parent and child made a decision to buy! Mr. and Mrs. Tuggle, you should be ashamed of helping your daughter achieve success! Claire tuggle should forfeit those records! That isn’t fair!

Water Bug

You cannot compare a swimmer of her caliber to the average swimmer her age. I’m sure she doesn’t wear a tech suit to every single meet of the season.

BGNole97

And most kids don’t. If a parent has more money than sense and wants to put their swimmer in a tech suit for a mid-season meet, then they should be allowed to do so. More than likely the coach is going to make a rule on their individual team that tech suits should not be worn until champs-type meets, and that’s the way it should be.

Just like if Indiana wants to suit up for a mid-season dual against UT while the Longhorns just did 10,000 yards in the morning and are wearing briefs.

James

I guess I get it…kids always want to newest and best toys – even if they really don’t need them. My guess is a 10 year old racing in a tech-suit is not going to really see any substantial noticeable difference in their times. Most kids that young are already dropping seconds at a time just from natural development and size/strength increases.

Michelle Graham

It’s an interesting topic and always one spoken about since the super suit era from 2008 on wards. The interesting thing is they talk about cost being the main reason for the ban yet I would think the ban should be more because maybe swimmers of this body shape, level and age don’t require highly technical race suits unless they young swimmers who break through / mature in body shape and progress early early to high level meets etc. I have been involved in retail for 21 years in swimming and the parent just spends the money on something else swim related as often they the ones wanting their kids in suits and very often the best suits and we… Read more »

Cynic

This isn’t about anything except generally dissatisfied people wanting to use bureaucracy to control other people.

National records

lets lump all swimmers and parents in the same bucket! We are not all the same and this logic is the problem with this issue! You and anyone else who says “Your child should not wear this or that because of this or that” is the problem with this issue!

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majors in Media Studies and American Studies at Claremont McKenna College. When she's not writing about swimming or baseball, you can probably find her listening to a podcast or in a pool ... and/or watching Seinfeld, which she just realized is funny.

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