Staff Editorial: New swim rule body shames atheletes

During a swim meet, there should be only one thought sprawled across an athlete’s mind: perform at their best potential. Now with a much stricter regulation by the National Federation of High School Sports, high school swimmers have a much bigger problem to worry about, and at some points, they can’t do anything about it.

Following the public uproar about the news of an Alaskan swimmer being disqualified for what the officials called a “uniform violation”, a question arises. Can a rule about how a suit should fit on a swimmer’s body be placed onto all high school athletes?

The answer is no. In the model that the NFHS is using to portray an appropriate and inappropriate example of a suit coverage, it shows one body type. Only one. The rule excludes a plethora of different body types, which brings up the conversation of body shaming.

The impediments that the NFHS has placed onto our pool decks have created a sense of foreboding tension throughout the states. Athletes of all shapes and sizes will now be worrying about the fit of their suit instead of their performance. And the outcome of their race will now be put into the hands of an official, determining if their race should be nullified due to their suit riding up while they were racing.

The swimmers aren’t being disqualified because they are wearing their suits in “provocative” ways, it’s because their body doesn’t match the ideal figure that NFHS idealizes.