September 20, 2011
Our upcoming IM Prep meet is sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). We have have some questions regarding the AAU, our involvement and how it benefits our swimmers. This news post will address those issues.
Clearwater Aquatics, along with some other forward-thinking aquatic clubs, are exploring alternate competitive options for our swimmers. Pre 1978, all swimming in our country was governed by the AAU. Some of you who swam back then, like myself, may remember the blue and pink athlete cards we carried around proudly. In 1978, Congress broke up the AAU and had specific sports govern themselves, such as swimming. United State Swimming was born; with 7 or so people running the show.
Over the course of the decades, United States Swimming turned into USA Swimming; and the size and scope of the organization has certainly grown. A big ship doesn't turn on a dime. Many innovative initiatives and swim meet formats, or other ideas, are slow to be adopted. We, and others, turned to the AAU to see if they can be a viable option to implement those innovations for the swimmers. Our research indicated that are a good fit for much of our program and athletes.
While we are building the options and meet offering through the AAU, we are not pulling away from USA Swimming. The AAU might be a viable option by itself in the future, but right now, there are some meets that require USA membership for entrance, such as FLAGS and Olympic Trials. We believe that the AAU offers us many benefits and justifies the small membership fee. Below are a few highlights:
- Low membership fee - The low cost of becoming a member means that we can bring people into our pre competitive programs without the additional costs associated with joining Florida & USA Swimming.
- Low meet fees - The AAU charges much less for us to offer sanctioned competitions. We also do not have to give a percentage of our entries to Florida Swimming. These lower cost mean that we can charge less. This will keep the cost of swimming lower for our families on a long-term basis (even if you have to pay a small initial sign up fee)
- Better insurance coverage - The AAU insurance coverage exceeds that provided by USA Swimming.
- Meet format autonomy - With the AAU, coaches and teams have the ability to run any type of competition they can conceive. This means we are free to create formats that helps put an emphasis on periodic training goals; such as an early season IM meet, or a prelim finals meet were you qualify swimming 75s or 150s and swim 100s & 200s at night, etc. Personally, I'll welcome a change of pace for the swimmers.
- Easy registration - The AAU online registration system is fast and easy. An athlete will be registered in minutes for any internet enabled device.
- One fee, many sports - Your AAU card is good for all the sports the AAU governs. This may come in handy if we decide to cross train for Triathlons, etc. It simply gives us more options; options that will be sanctioned and insured.
Given those reasons and others, we have asked our families to join the AAU. We hope that you and your swimmers will enjoy the new offerings and option that AAU membership provides our team and our athletes.
There have been many positive changes happening here at CAT. We have seen a near 40% growth in club size; all in the pre competitive and novice levels. We welcome our new members to the CAT family and hope to provide them with the best aquatic instruction training available anywhere.
Thanks for the opportunity to work with you and your children,