April 23, 2018
TO RECRUIT OR NOT TO RECRUIT...IT IS NOT A QUESTION [please take the time to read]
As everyone should be aware we have had a fair number of swimmers transfer to our club from all of the other local clubs over the past few months. When that happens it is not unusual for coaches and parents from the other club or clubs to feel or believe that their swimmers are being recruited.
Bottom line is that recruiting swimmers [or their parents] is against the USA Swimming rules. I agree with these rules and want our team of swimmers and parents to follow them. If for no other reason then I believe that swimmers who are convinced they need to make a move instead of changing because they want to make a move will not be happy or productive. There are all different reasons to stay or go, that is not the issue here. The only issue here is that telling swimmers or their parents that they should switch clubs or even why switching clubs would be better for them are breaking those rules that all clubs must work in.
Clubs can do what is called 'General Recruiting'. That is putting an ad in the local newspaper or even flyers on cars at a soccer field, or even to a summer league team not associated with USA Swimming. In those instances a currently USA Swimming registered athlete with another club might see your ad or flyer but it is not targeted to them. 'Specific Recruiting' which is against the rules is where you target USA Swimming registered swimmers to come join your team. Texts, e mails, phone calls, etc. are all against the rules.
Lastly, the grey area comes when someone comes to you and asks you questions about our team. Especially if you moved to our club recently you might be asked why you moved, if you like it and other questions. I don't want you to be rude, if you want to answer questions like those hopefully it will be with a good report. But in the answer you should not make any reference to the other party switching teams, that they would benefit if they do, that they would have great relays or championship teams to be a part of. All that would be specific recruiting, even though you were approached first. If the individuals who approached you have specific team questions you should refer them to me. You should also be aware that even though you were approached the individual who asked the question might go back to the coach of their own team and curry favor with that coach by stating they had been 'recruited' to make a switch. You would be amazed at the things I have seen over the years in dealing with this issue.
But here is the best recruiting tool of all, at meets parents, coaches & athletes be supportive, be positive, have fun and swim fast.
Thanks for your time and consideration on this topic. I hope I have not confused anyone. The simplest thing to do if someone asks you questions about our team is to tell them to contact Coach Ira if they are interested.