When Should Your Child And Age Group Swimmer Wear A Tech Suit?

by SwimSwam Contributors 24

March 28th, 2017 Lifestyle

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

When should age group swimmers wear tech suits? In Southern California, the LSC has banned tech suits in specific situations:

Southern California Swimming’s House of Delegates voted unanimously to prohibit the wearing of Tech suits in Age Group competition at committee level (BRW), invitationals, dual/tri and intrasquads.  Tech suits will be permitted at Winter Age Group Invitationals (WAG), June Age Group Invitationals (JAG) and Junior Olympics (JO) meets.

The HoD also voted a ban on Tech suits for swimmers 5-10 years old for all Southern California Swimming sanctioned meets.

The effective date for both is January 1, 2017.

The list of restricted suits may be found in the attached .pdf  The list will be updated as needed.”—from the Southern California Swimming website

When I first read this new rule, I was strongly in favor of it and wrote about it here. I understand why our LSC would make this rule and I admit it used to bother me to see eight-year-olds at BRW meets wearing tech suits. It made me question whether I needed one for my young swimmer, too. I also believe too much emphasis can be placed on the magic suitrather than technique, going to practice regularly and effort.

Ive heard a few other people talk about when children should wear tech suits and there doesnt appear to be a consensussome strongly agreewhile others are against the decision. Listening to several discussions, I wonder if there should be exceptions?

One coach, who lives in an area without tech suit rules, told me that families leave their teams over suit rules. Plus, he doesnt like playing the suit copat swim meets. He lets parents and swimmers make the decision, but puts his ideals and preferences out there for everyone to know.

Another coach said hed never dream of putting a 10-year-old in a tech suit, but then he had a young swimmer going for a NAG record. Did the swimmer get the record because of the suit? The coach said of course it wasnt just the suit, but he believes it helped. Also, another exception would be for older age group swimmers, who dont have JO or Sectional times. Maybe a tech suit could make the difference for them at an age group meet where they could get those cuts. But with the current SCS rules, the suits wouldnt be allowed at BRW meets.

There are many opinions, pluses and minuses to tech suit rules. On one hand, everyone is on a level playing field and swimming is more affordable. Or, is this a decision thats best left up to coaches, parents and swimmerson an individual basis?

What do you think about tech suit rules for age group swimmers?

Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog: http://bleuwater.me/.

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5 years ago

If a suit is FINA APPROVED, why are we banning them? The decision should between the coach, parent, and swimmer. We don’t need a nanny state making these decisions.

If you throw a tech suit in the water, it doesn’t swim by itself. It doesn’t overcome bad technique or poor swimmer preparation.

5 years ago

The only way a swimmer 12 or younger should wear a tech suit is if they are at a senior level national ( jr nationals / Sr championship) meet. Tech suits are pointless unless the swimmer has curves ( muscles / female development). I think 13 should be the first age In which a swimmer should be aloud to wear a tech suit, that’s when it actually starts to make some kind of a difference.

A swimmer
5 years ago

Honestly this is a ridiculous rule. While it may not be appropriate for 12 year olds to wear 400 dollar suits, the bigger issue with this that I see is that it encourages a very unfortunate mentality that becomes especially prevelant in 15 and over swimmers: that you shouldn’t care about in season meets. When you have a suit that, whether it actually does or doesn’t make you swim faster, Is at least symbolic of swimming faster, is only allowed during a taper meet, it creates a mindset for failure and carelessness at in season meets. There are so many high school aged swimmers who will swim 4+ seconds over their best times in a 100 at in season meets… Read more »

5 years ago

Socal does not have a ban on tech suits. Theyve banned on SOME suits in relation to the seems. Either set a rule all the way or not at all. So you are telling me an age grouper can wear a stitched seemed 200 dollar suit but not a fused seem costing $300? Who decided that line? And what happens when someone does step up in a suit that’s banned in Socal? Are they going to have suit inspections at the 8 and under staging area? I attended Sectionals in San Diego a few weeks ago. The deck was largely staffed by officials from socal swimming. I’ll say this as politely as possible, when you can’t start the first event… Read more »

5 years ago

I have often joked that I’m glad I finished competing before the introduction of the tech suits because my parents could have either bought me a suit or paid for my nationals – not both! When you multiply the cost of these suits with the number of swimmers wearing them, the cost is truly staggering. If you’ve got 100 kids competing across different championship meet levels from 14 down to 9, you could be standing on pool decks basically watching your yearly salary walk around. I also think it brings about an extra barrier towards making the sport of swimming accessible to a greater percentage of our population. The suits do make swimmers faster, and cut times for various levels… Read more »

5 years ago

Best discussion was while on our club team board 8 years ago. Listening to conversation, I agreed with head coach: Parents complain about increases in any club fees where *technique* can be taught to improve time and instead will pull out the credit card for instant gratification.
I’d like to see clubs provide & support education for young parents from those who have the experience of having gone through the journey; their alumni parents. Where is money better spent? Let’s do some quick calculations from a recent junior national level meet:
Tech suit-$450
8 swimmers/ heat
50 heats of 50 free
Whoa…and that just the women!
….it’s a lot of money to shell out… Read more »

5 years ago

Not surprising that the over-legislation of suit rules by a bureaucratic governing body would happen in California first. If such a rule becomes widespread, suit companies will simply compete to make the best — and most expensive — suit allowable within the rules. Neoprene body suits were banned in 2009, and within a few years, we had $680 FS3 Super Elites, and now $600 Carbon Ultras.

This really should be a decision that is made at the club and coach level. However, if local governing bodies are going to insist on making such a rule, the only viable way I can see it working is to simply put a price limit on suits, e.g. “suits worn by age group swimmers… Read more »

5 years ago

How does wearing a tech suit at a championship meet distract from technique in the months or years of practice in a regular suit? Answer: It doesn’t. The top kids in the country are working on technique and starts and etc in practice without thinking about tech suits. There is no connection to these two things at all. There are plenty of arguments against tech suits. I think that FSII’s for 10 and unders is fine.