CAT Represented at USA Swimming National Convention
October 1, 2018
This past week Carolina Aquatic Team's Head Coach Josh Weaver, Athlete Matthew Rigsbee, and Board President / Meet Ref David Rigsbee had the opportunity to attend the USA Swimming National Convention in Jacksonville Florida. Below is a recap of the week’s events through the eyes of Matthew Rigsbee and the importance of the Athlete experience / involvement on the local and national level of USA Swimming Governance.
This past week, and weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Jacksonville, Florida to represent North Carolina Swimming as an athlete representative and delegate at the USA-S National Convention.
Within North Carolina Swimming, I am the Senior Athlete Representative. What this means is that I am the voice of the swimmers in our state. I represent them at the North Carolina Swimming House of Delegates (an open meeting with coaches, athletes, and officials to discuss legislation, amendments, and ideas), as well as the North Carolina Swimming Board of Directors (a private board meeting with governance of North Carolina Swimming).
The USA-S convention is a week long event consisting of meetings, lectures, and fun events between the aquatic sports in the US (Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, Synchronized Swimming, and Masters Swimming). As the North Carolina Swimming Senior Athlete Representative, I was able to travel to the convention as the LSC (Local Swimming Committee- North Carolina Swimming) athlete delegate.
At convention, I did A LOT of things. On the athlete side, we had meetings non-stop. We would wake up at 4:10 a.m. to go swim at Bolles every day, then have meetings from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. These meetings consisted of leadership training and athlete education (USADA, WADA, Safe Sport, Clean Sport, Diversity explanations). We voted in a new USA Swimming Athlete Executive Committee to fit the newly restructured governance platform. This was especially fun for me because, during my time as a national representative, I have met so many amazing friends who are now on this committee of 10 athletes that represent the entire nation. We were able to listen to a keynote speaker, Rishad Tobaccowala, sit in on Q & A’s with USA Swimming Executive Leadership, meet candidates for the new USA swimming Board of Directors, and watch the Olympic Trials Time Standards announced live. In addition to the meetings, we also attended the National USA swimming House of Delegates meeting. Here, we voted on legislation and amendments to the rules of our sport. If you follow USA swimming, SwimSwam, or Swimming World, you probably already have seen numerous articles on our work at HOD. We voted in our new Board of Directors (I voted for 5 candidates, and all 5 were elected), added legislation to ban tech suits for 12 & under swimmers (more on that in the future), as well as alcohol sponsorships and more! The athlete voice is very important. 20% of the HOD must be represented by athletes. We met prior to HOD and discussed our values and prepared to propose amendments (many were actually passed). We also voted for the Athlete of the Year! To see more on our work, please visit https://www.usaswimming.org/ and look through the articles and blogs we have posted. They are very informative and are important to us because they directly impact the way our sport is ran.
North Carolina Swimming has a large national representation. In addition to being one of the most valuable, well-ran organizations, we have immense national recognition. Jay Thomas, recently moved to Charlotte, was voted to the Board of Directors. John Roy, head coach at WAVE, plays an instrumental role for the South Eastern Zone. Tharon Drake, a blind 2-time silver medalist in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, helps lead the national disability committee. We have many officials on National Committees as well. To say the least, NC swimming is well represented.
I loved convention. Being able to represent the NC LSC is a great honor. I met so many life long friends, and amazing athletes. I spent numerous hours socializing with Olympians and Executive Directors of North Carolina Swimming. To name a few- Tim Hinchey, President of USA Swimming, Anthony Irvin and Davis Tarwater, both olympians. I also enjoyed speaking with Chris Brearton (newly elected to the Board of Directors, who is the COO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, an American Media Company most famous for Creed, Sherlock Homes, Hot Tub Time Machine, the Hobbit, James Bond, and more) about his goals to make swimming a better televised event. I became great friends with the Olympic Team Captain for Women’s Synchronized swimming, Emmanuella Tchakmakjian. I was able to hang out with the AEC (athlete executive committee) all week as well as the olympic synchronized swimming team. We shared an athlete lounge where we played corn hole, karaoke, ate food, and socialized. I was also interviewed twice by the USA swimming productions team. One for the Make a Splash foundation and the second to discuss Athlete Involvement at the national level. Both of these interviews will be on usaswimming.com soon.
From convention, I am bringing home many great ideas. After discussing and creating connections and bonds, with other LSC’s, I have learned many new strategies and can’t wait to implement them in the future of NC swimming. As LSC representative athletes, we are planning some big events that will be happening within the next year.
If you are at all interested in opportunities like this please contact me. I am working on redoing the athlete committees within NC swimming and we need athlete participation. Like I stated earlier, athlete’s MUST make up 20% of a delegation. I am the BEST contact to get onto a committee for NCS. This weekend, we will be hosting the NC swimming HOD. If you would like to attend, once again, contact me. The athlete voice is the most important. You can have a say in how swimming is ran.
If you have any questions about legislation, athlete involvement, or anything else feel free to contact me:
North Carolina Swimming Senior Representative
USA swimming National LSC Representative