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
One of USA Swimming’s best assets is its ongoing commitment
to good business planning. We have a “Quad Plan”
that is annually reviewed and modified. An essential
component of this Quad Plan is a four-year financial plan, which
includes an operating budget that is annually approved by both the
Board of Directors and the House of Delegates.
As part of our 2016 Quad Plan, the USA Swimming Board of Directors
has approved raising the annual dues for athlete and non-athlete
members from the $1/year annual increase that is currently in
effect through 2014 to an annual increase of $2/year effective with
the 2015 membership year. On behalf of the Board of
Directors, I want to share with you why we believe this dues
increase is important.
Our membership dues provide approximately 60% of USA
Swimming’s annual operating budget. These funds have
helped to fuel our growth and pushed forward our ongoing mission
to: Build the Base; Promote the Sport; and Achieve Sustained
Competitive Success. We believe this modest increase is
important to continue expanding on these objectives.
The public profile and stature of our sport has never been higher,
and USA Swimming is recognized as among the flagships within the
U.S. Olympic Committee’s family of 45 national governing
bodies (NGBs). USOC research from 2012 shows swimming is the
#1 sport in Olympic fan interest in the Summer and Winter Olympic
Achieving this status did not come easily or quickly, but rather
is the result of the incredible performance results and public
personalities of our National Team athletes, including the great
Michael Phelps, coupled with our NGB creating programs and
platforms to grow and promote the sport. The convergence of
these athlete performances with our membership programs and
marketing platforms have elevated swimming to the highest level of
recognition, both in the United States and internationally.
USA swimming provides a long list of programs, services and
opportunities for its members. Following are a few highlights
that we have been able to accomplish with support from membership
Some Things We've Accomplished
Build the Base
- Field services staff have visited and provided onsite services
to more than 2,000 clubs over the past 5 years.
- Our Facilities Development Department has consulted on 564 new
pool projects, assisted with 243 renovations, and played a key role
in the completion of 82 new aquatic facilities since 2005.
- 1,730 clubs have participated in the Club Leadership/Business
Management School since 2009.
- Through the Club Excellence Program, grants totaling $3.2
million have been awarded to 1,002 clubs over the past 10 years.
- Regional coaching clinics have served 5,800 coaches and 42 LSCs
Promote the Sport
- The Deck Pass app is among the most successful sports apps with
more than 125,000 users.
- Splash Magazine is now distributed to more than 250,000 member
homes; and the digital version has more than 25,000 readers per
- All major domestic and international events are now televised
- USA Swimming’s Times Database Program is now contracted
by both the NCAA and FINA to handle meet entries for championship
events. There are more than 70 million times in the database
that assist in the analysis of performance trends in the
sport. Our SWIMS database powers Top Times reports, LSC
records, online meet entries and much more.
- The U.S. Olympic Team Trials was recently selected as one of
the top four sporting events of 2012.
Achieve Sustained Competitive
- More than $20 million in direct athlete assistance has been
awarded to National Team athletes over the past 10 years, helping
to create opportunities for athletes to stay in the sport
longer. This has led to improved performances and given older
and experienced athletes the opportunity to mentor and serve as
role models for countless younger swimmers.
- More than $3 million has been awarded to coaches over the past
10 years in recognition for the performance of their athletes at
the Olympic Games and other major competitions.
- USA Swimming’s “Athlete Partnership Program”
has become a model for other NGBs.
- USA Swimming has been significantly increasing its support for
the Junior Team and Open Water programs.
In addition to these highlights, over the past three years USA
Swimming has put together a comprehensive Safe Sport
Program that has put our NGB in the forefront of the
movement for youth-serving organizations to better protect all of
its athlete members.
The current dues program of increasing $1/year terminates with the
2014 membership year. Your Board of Directors has approved a
plan to continue the annual dues increase for another 10 years
starting in 2015, and is proposing a dues increase of
$2/year. This amounts to an approximate average annual
increase of only 3.5% and is in line with current inflationary
trends. We believe this ongoing dues increase is important
for the following reasons:
- We want to continue providing and expanding the programs and
services that helped USA Swimming achieve its stature and serve its
members. These programs and services will continue to be
subject to an annual review process.
- We recognize that in every business enterprise there is a need
to keep up with inflationary costs, and having a long-term dues
program in place ensures continuity and organizational stability.
- We want to continue expanding USA Swimming’s impact and
reach. We are responsible for growing the sport of swimming
in this country and there is a long list of new programs, platforms
and services that USA Swimming can consider providing in the
Looking to the Future
Following is a list of programs that are currently on our
“drawing board” for the future, but not included in our
current quad business plan due to lack of available funding.
These and other new programs will be evaluated and considered for
inclusion into USA Swimming’s future business plan via the
annual budgeting process. This process provides many
opportunities for member input as new programs are developed, and
ultimately the approval of the Board of Directors and the House of
Delegates is required. If you would like to suggest other
programs to be added to the drawing board, please submit your
Build the Base
- Create a USA Swimming “Leadership Program” to
develop the next generation of volunteer and staff leaders.
- Find additional ways to continue growing participation in
existing Club Development Division programs and services.
- Invest in new recruitment and training programs for coaches and
officials working with clubs that are predominantly Hispanic and
- Develop new on-line training and education opportunities for
coaches, officials and club administrators.
- Establish and provide the resources for a national online
membership registration system.
- Further develop and expand matching grant programs to clubs
seeking to undertake a feasibility study to construct a new
facility and provide some matching funds to refurbish older or
unused facilities in order to produce more “water time”
for member clubs.
- Study the possibilities to establish medical and retirements
benefits for club coaches.
- Fund “test kitchen” swim teams that serve
under-represented populations to find new business models that
- Create and promote “bridge” programs to introduce
recreational swimmers to the fun of competition.
Promote the Sport
- Congratulate Make a Splash learn-to-swim kids who successfully
complete a series of classes with a special “Welcome to USA
- Reach every member every year with a special “Welcome to
USA Swimming” package outlining benefits, providing coupons,
- Expand prize money and promotional efforts for Grand Prix
- Continue to grow the SwimToday program into a major promotional
campaign to increase participation at all levels.
- Geo-target media and social media campaigns to reach
- Produce educational workshops and marketing materials to
empower clubs at their local level.
- Expand investments in website and new technologies.
- Expand social media communications and marketing initiatives to
better reach a wider audience.
- Produce and place media advertisements promoting the sport at
local and national levels.
Achieve Sustained International
- Increase investment in the Athlete Partnership Program.
- Establish programs to help retiring National Team athletes
transition into the workplace.Invest in new programs that provide
opportunities for high performance training for talented
junior-level Hispanics and African-Americans athletes.
- Expand the coach mentoring program … establish
- Enhance coach mentoring at the LSC level.
- Collaborate with academic or other qualified entities on
investing in scientific research that can directly help swimming.
- Keep up with rising insurance premiums.
- Add resources to expedite complaint investigations and speed-up
adjudication processes for the Safe Sport program.
As you read through this list of prospective programming ideas,
I hope you became as excited as I am about how USA Swimming can
continue to increase its impact in the future. The USA
Swimming Board of Directors has overwhelmingly endorsed the
proposal for a $2/year dues increase for athlete and non-athlete
members to begin effective with the 2015 membership year, and we
now ask the House of Delegates to join us in approving this
proposal at the U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention in September.
I feel that it is important to share information about the
proposed dues increase well in advance of the September convention
so that people would have the opportunity to consider and comment
on the proposal. I welcome your input and can be reached
USA Swimming President