The “President’s Message” is a continuing effort on my
part to keep the members of USA Swimming informed about current happenings in our sport and our
organization. Please feel free to share the message with others.
year 2013 promises to be another great year for USA Swimming.
Through April, our year-round athlete membership numbers are up 13.8
percent over last year, and 2013 promises to be our single largest
increase in recent history. Much of this can be attributed to the
success of our Olympic Team in London and to the character displayed by
athletes in and out of the pool.
The USA Swimming Board of Directors had its most recent meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo., on
April 27, and the following are items I thought may be of interest to you. Executive Director
in the past, Chuck Wielgus has been battling cancer for the past several
months. He is now back in the headquarters office on a full-time
and it was great to have him back in attendance at the Board meeting.
His fight with cancer is not over, but he is now back to being fully
engaged and expects to continue at least through the end of his current
contract in 2016.
Chuck also provides a general update to our Board
of Directors that you will find informative and interesting. Please click here to see the entire report, as well as a recent Q&A with Chuck since returning to the office. U.S. Olympic Team Trials
more than a year, USA Swimming has been working diligently on
choosing a site for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for 2016. The process
started with a selection committee, consisting of staff members Mike
Unger, Matt Farrell, Dean Ekeren, Amanda Bryant, and Sandra Griffith,
and Jim Wood, our immediate past-president. There were 16 initial
that expressed interest in hosting the trials. This group was reduced
to six cities and eventually narrowed down to three finalists: Omaha,
Neb., St. Louis and San Antonio. All cities had outstanding bids, and
because of the quality of those bids, making a decision was one of the
most difficult choices we had to make.
committee recommended the city of Omaha, Neb., to Executive Director
Wielgus, who accepted their choice and made the same recommendation to
our Board of Directors. The Board unanimously accepted the
and the formal announcement broadcasted via webcast the same day. For
the complete story and to view an archive of the live announcement,
USA Swimming Safe Sport Program raises awareness about athlete
protection, promotes open dialogue and provides training and resources
for all our members. It continues to be, and will always be, one of our
highest priorities. Our program at USA Swimming is recognized as one of
the best among youth-serving organizations. Education is the
cornerstone of our program, and in addition to the online training
program for our non-athlete members and for parents, a new online program designed specifically for our athlete members
was launched on April 9.
Both the parent and athlete
programs are voluntary and are critical pieces of our
overall program. Although the programs have received high marks, there
have been disappointingly few parents who have taken the course. As
of April 12, only 2,002 people had taken it, and with our athlete
membership at almost 330,000, this is a very small number. I ask all of
work proactively in your clubs and LSCs to encourage all parents to take
the online course and to have their children take the athlete course as
well. Click here to access the Safe Sport page of our
website. Due Increase
current structure for
membership dues is that there is a $1/year increase; this program
terminates in 2014. The Board of Directors agreed to recommend to the
Delegates that effective in the 2015 membership year, dues increase by
$2/year for the ensuing 10 years in order to continue to invest in
sport at the grassroots level, enhance services to clubs and increase
promotional exposure for the sport. Some of the Board meeting
focused on key metrics for the organization, such as membership growth,
success of the Olympic Trials, increased TV ratings, greater camp and
program participation, international competition success and more. We
want to continue to invest in our future.
Athlete Participation at Convention and Committee Meetings
of the things that make
our organization strong and successful is the participation of athletes
on our committees and at our annual meeting, which is held in
the United States Aquatics Sports Convention. While a large number of
our athlete representatives are college age or older, there are also
athlete representatives who are under the age of 18. In the past, many
of these athletes have traveled to conventions or committee meetings
unsupervised. While we have had no real problems thus far, there is
increasing concern over the safety and welfare of our under-aged
while attending out-of-town meetings.
In an effort to address
this, our Athletes’ Executive Committee developed policies and
procedures, which will govern the travel and conduct of all athletes
attending committee meetings or our annual convention. These will be
to all LSCs and will be available on our website in the very near
future. The most important aspect of these policies and procedures is
there is a designated adult chaperone for every traveling athlete. Both
the athlete and the responsible chaperone will be required to
acknowledge, via written representations, their respective
responsibilities prior to any travel.
More detailed information
forthcoming in the near future, but you should be aware of these new
requirements, especially as you make your athlete travel plans for
conventions. Online Membership Registration
Last year, a task force was appointed to look at the feasibility of developing an online
registration system. There were a number of important issues to address, including, but not limited to:
1. Being able to accommodate
various membership registration processes currently in place; 2. System-wide standardization of the process; 3. Existing third party vendors
providing some aspects of registration; 4. Allowing new athletes to join USA Swimming online, but still allowing clubs to maintain control of
membership in their individual clubs; and 5. Whether or not to require the online system to be mandatory.
task force submitted its
recommendations to the Board of Directors. These recommendations were
unanimously endorsed, and our staff will begin work on developing the
system. The recommendations were as follows:
1. Provide for a standardized system-wide registration process; 2.
that will allow new athlete members to join USA Swimming online and help
them locate a club, but allow clubs to make their own decisions about
membership; and 3. Allow for initial optional use of the system, but ultimately its use would be mandatory.
task force did a
considerable amount of hard work, and I want to express my appreciation
for its efforts. The next step will be a discovery project to find all
potential solutions to implement this program. This will involve working
with key constituents within the Registration Committee, LSCs, clubs
staff who will eventually work with this program. Closing
of USA Swimming is exciting and has never been brighter. We are very
fortunate to have an excellent staff, as well as devoted and dedicated
It is important to me, as your president,
to provide open and transparent communication to all our members. I
always available, and you should never hesitate to call or e-mail
me. If you have any topics or questions you would like covered in a
edition, please contact me at email@example.com.