As a highly decorated former Alaska high school swimmer, I find the recent swimsuit controversy our female athletes are currently facing appalling. Girls’ swimming should celebrate girls’ bodies. Teammates should celebrate the differences in their bodies that make them unique, beautiful and powerful.
Swim meet officials see some things, especially during those years when the body is changing quickly and unexpectedly. I never, in 20 years as a competitive swimmer, worried that a wedgie, a ripped suit or an embarrassing slip would result in being thrown out of a race. Those moments were uncomfortable enough without an adult scolding me for them.
To this day, my most common recurring nightmare is swimming a race in front of thousands in the buff. Think that came about on its own?
I had wardrobe malfunctions in my stick-thin body given to me by my dad’s 6’6” genetics. Had I been closer to “normal,” with a bigger chest and butt, they would have undoubtedly happened far more often.
Never once in my swimming career was society’s inability to design a suit that stays in place held against me. What has changed so that this happens now?
— Laura Griffing Langfitt
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