While USA Swimming has not formally released the contents of the Stu-Isaac-led review of technical racing suits for USA Swimming’s youngest swimmers, a draft of the meeting minutes from the latest meeting of the USA Swimming Board of Directors includes the report, in its entirety, as well as the Age Group Development Committee’s reaction to it.
- We’ve extracted the Isaac Report specifically from the bigger document, and that can be seen here.
Specifically, Tim Bauer, USA Swimming’s Technical Vice Chair, said that the Age Group Development Committee supports banning the use of “tech suits” for 12 & unders. He also acknowledged that in spite of that general recommendation, there is still “considerable work to do” to better refine the idea, including enforcement and definition of what, exactly, a tech suit is.
Tim Bauer reported that the Age Group Development Committee is in favor of banning the 164 use of tech suits by 12 and under swimmers, but the Committee still has considerable work 165 to do before proposing a rule change, including defining what constitutes a tech suit is and 166 assessing how to enforce any such restriction (Attachment 14)
More details can be found on attachment 14, about midway through this PDF document, which includes a draft of the full report from the Isaac Sports Group, which was paid to conduct the study. The group interviewed coaches, parents, suit manufacturers, and team dealers, but not swimmers.
Among the interesting responses were that “virtually all the (suit) manufacturers agree that the high end/highest cost tech suits are not appropriate for use by younger swimmers.” Those manufacturers were generally against all restrictions, but said they “could live with” restrictions if they are included in the process of defining the rules and were given reasonable lead time to adjust their inventories and design.
The report concluded that “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.” It also raised a series of questions that it wanted 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.
USA Swimming Hires Consulting Firm To Review Age Group Tech Suit Policies