Following a nationwide trend that has included a ban on tech suits at younger level age group meets in Southern California, Swimming Victoria has prohibited them at their own events.
The organization announced a change to the Rules of Competition starting July 1st 2017, they will be prohibiting the use of technical/performance suits for athletes 11-years-old and under.
The purpose of the ban is to encourage young swimmers to stay in the sport, and allow more of a focus on confidence and building technique among young swimmers. This will remove the pressure of the expensive cost that associate with the technical suits.
We have reached out for clarification on which suits are and are not allowed, and whether there had been complaints about modesty in the new rules, but did not receive a response from Swimming Victoria. According to the picture they posted to their website, knee skins are restricted, but the below photo is the only guidance given – which means there’s no information about whether technical suits that are hip-cut are allowed.
Update: Swimming Victoria indicated that briefs wouldn’t be the only style allowed, telling SwimSwam that “trunk styles, aqua shorts and mid-thigh length are all fine.” Swimming Victoria said it understood the original silhouette “did not communicate that as well as we need it to,” and that the organization is working on an updated version of the graphic.
A similar rule recently passed in Southern California, regarding tech suits at age group meets. The new rule prohibits tech suits for swimmers 5-10-years-old from all Southern California Swimming sanctioned meets. The new rules restricts suits with bonded seams, kinetic tape and meshed seams. If a suit has any of these it is not allowed, even if not on the Restricted List. Some suits that are on the restricted list include: Blue Seventy Nero, Speedo LZR X LZR ELITE LZER ELITE 2, Nike Swim NG, Arena Powerskin, and Finis Vapor. Approved suits include the Speedo Aquablade, TYR Fusion, and the Arena Powerskin ST.
Swimming Victoria Events that will be affected by this change:
- Winter Interclub
- Metro Short Course Competition
- Victorian Country SC Championships
- Victorian Age SC Championships
- Long Course Distance Meet
- 7-10s Competitions
- Victorian Sprint Championships
- Victorian Qualifying Meet
- Victorian Age Championships
- Victorian Country Championships
- Victorian Relay Competition
- Victorian Country Inter-district
- All Junior Competitions
There are several reasons as to why Swimming Victoria implemented this ban. Not only do they feel that it will keep the younger swimmers interest in the sport, but it will provide an encouraging environment and allow the youth swimmers to feel less pressure about the competition. The specific reasons listed by Swimming Victoria are:
- There is no documented evidence that supports performance benefits of technical suits for athletes 11 years and under.
- Personal best times should not be the only evaluation or measure of success for younger swimmers. Technique and skill development is essential for all long term swimmer development. It is crucial that as swimmers progress through the sport they have developed a solid foundation in technique and stroke development to enable them to achieve higher results in the latter years of their career.
- The cost of technical suits makes them unattainable for many families. SV does not want to add any extra financial pressure on parents with unnecessary purchases.
- These suits aren’t designed for young swimmers. The manufacturers design these suits for older athletes. One of the main benefits of wearing a technical suit is for muscle compression. Children, who are not yet developed, are not impacted by this benefit. Swimmers cannot ‘grow into’ these suits.
- A common misconception amongst younger swimmers is that without a technical suit, a swimmer cannot swim fast. An age group swimmer does not need a performance suit to swim fast; swimmers will improve and attain PBs regardless of the sort of suit they are wearing due to gradual increase in training and skill development.
- The aim should be to build mentally-strong swimmers, confident in his or her own ability and training ethic rather than an athlete depending on a technical suit to get an improved result.
- Technical suits are required as you get older when your skills, conditioning and physique are developed. At that time, the fraction of a second drop you’ll get from the suit will actually make a difference.
As more and more tech suit bans continue for age group swimmers, we look to see who else will follow Southern California and Swimming Victoria.