Friday, May 28, 2021

Technical swimsuits for young swimmers

Technical swimsuits are specialised swimsuits, that push the boundaries of performance advantage in competition.  Design is with the senior swimmer in mind and they are tight fitting with bonded seams, creating an unyielding construction that provides muscle compression and other benefits to performance from the types of fabric used.  They are also very expensive, have a short life and their use is widely considered to be detrimental to the development of young swimmers with many countries banning their use by pre-teen swimmers.

The National Swimming Committee, with the support of the Coaches Technical Panel and the Performance Team at Scottish Swimming are recommending that swimmers aged 12 and under (this may be varied to 11 and under to blend in with the new Competition Framework) be prohibited from using technical suits in swimming competition in Scotland. 

The primary considerations in support are as follows:-

  • In young swimmers the development of good technique and the introduction to training methods is the primary focus.  The availability of technical swimsuits brings an undesirable focus on enhanced performance through the use of equipment and away from technique and training. Young swimmers should feel and understand that it is their own commitment and effort that makes a difference when they compete, not the swimsuit they wear.
  • Technical swimsuits are expensive and have a short life (the qualities that provide the performance advantage start to deteriorate as soon as they are worn in water).  We want swimming to be inclusive in a way that enables as many people as possible to enjoy the sport and competition without the additional pressure of buying unnecessary, expensive and potentially detrimental equipment.
  • The focus of younger swimmers should be less on results, more on learning the process of how to improve and on the enjoyment of the sport and competition.  Buying technical swimsuits for young swimmers puts the emphasis on delivering the result.

Please note that there is no intention to ban the use of knee suits or jammers.

On 20 June 2021, the Company Board of Scottish Swimming will be considering the recommendation for a technical suit ban. The date of commencement of any ban, if it is agreed, will not be immediate and would be made public as soon as the decision is known.