High School Swimming Moves Forward After Suit Ban

Prep swimming moves forward following the ban of controversial high-tech suits.

The 2008-09 boys' and girls' high school swimming seasons reflected what was happening at every level of competition during the past 16 months: Records fell with alarming frequency. Twenty world marks were established at the 2008 Olympics, and 43 during the 2009 World Championships in Rome. Meanwhile, SwimmingWorldMagazine.com reported that at least 70 NCAA records were broken.

High school swimmers set 10 national marks in 2008-09, "which is a lot," according to Becky Oakes, the assistant director of the National Federation of State High School Associations who oversees swimming and diving. While typically only two or three national records fall every year, Minot (N.D.) High School's Dagny Knutson set three on her own at the 2008 North Dakota girls' state swimming and diving championships. At that meet, she wore a Speedo LZR Racer, one of a popular and controversial new breed of sleek (and pricey) full-body, low-drag and water-repellant swimsuits coated in neoprene or polyurethane for added buoyancy. Knutson took approximately two-and-a-half seconds off both the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle marks - in the process, unseating five-time Olympic medalist Janet Evans, who had held the national public school record in the 500 free since 1988.

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