Athlete Protection

Ho’omalu I na keiki.

(protect the athlete)


Coaching & the Athlete Protection Program


USA Swimming’s House of Delegates passed legislation at the 2010

Convention committed to fostering a safe and positive environment

for all of its members.  The Athlete Protection Policies and Rules foster a safe and healthy environment, responsible reporting, and education for athletes, parents, coaches, and volunteers. The following categories contribute to USA Swimming’s efforts to provide a safe and positive environment for athletes and all members of USA Swimming. Hawaiian Swimming has adopted the rules, policies and guidelines into its Rules and Regulations , Article III.


Direct Link to USA Swimming's Athlete Protection Program

9/18/2014: The Safe Sport Committee voted to make the Athlete Protection Training good for two years instead of one year. As a result, we have pushed all the 12/31/14 APT expiration dates to 12/31/15. 


Effective on September 1, the APT expiration date will be based on the year that the training was taken. For example, if you complete the training anytime between January 1 and December 31, 2015, the APT expiration date will be December 31, 2017 (if completed in January, you essentially get three years). The programming for this change will not be completed by September 1. Anyone completing the APT after September 1 and until the change is made in SWIMS, will have an APT expiration date of 12/31/15. After the change is made in SWIMS, these expiration dates will be updated to12/31/16.



Athlete Protection Policies & Rules

USA Swimming strives to provide a positive and safe experience for athletes

by applying specific mandatory policies that are enforced by the National Board of Review. To help understand both the mandatory rules and best practices guidelines USA Swimming published an Athlete Protection Policies & Best Practice Guidelines.



Athlete Protection Reporting & Support 

USA Swimming strongly encourages the reporting of sexual misconduct by

any member and appreciates your willingness to report inappropriate behavior.  Providing specific information regarding abuse or suspected abuse helps USA Swimming to investigate the complaint, and, when appropriate, levy consequences, including revocation of membership.


Mandatory Reporting Rule


.1 It is every member’s responsibility to promptly report any incident regarding sexual misconduct by a member as described in Article 304.3.5  to USA Swimming’s Athlete Protection Officer.  Reporting must occur when an individual has firsthand knowledge of misconduct or where specific and credible information has been received from a victim or knowledgeable third party.  Various state laws may also require reporting to law enforcement or to a designated child protection agency.

.2 No member shall retaliate against any individual who has made a good faith report under 306.1.

.3 False reporting of sexual misconduct made in bad faith is prohibited.

.4 Neither civil nor criminal statutes of limitation apply to reports of cases of sexual abuse.

Note: Out of respect for the importance of this issue and to encourage honest and effective reporting, knowingly false or vindictive reporting will not be tolerated. USA Swimming will report any incident of sexual misconduct involving a minor to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.  USA Swimming provides an Online reporting process for a complaint:

<< http://www.usaswimming.orgDesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=1959&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en >>



USA Swimming encourages all athletes and their parents to learn about the

issue of athlete protection and healthy boundaries. Additionally, Starting

August 31, 2011, all non-athlete members of USA Swimming will be required to complete a specific educational program as a condition of membership.


Educational Resources:

Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

Internet Safety and Best Practices for Posting Pictures Online    

Child Welfare League of America: On Child Abuse    

Dept. of Health and Human Services:    

National Children's Advocacy Center - Safety Tips for Kids    

National Children's Advocacy Center - Safety Tips for Parents    

Prevent Child Abuse America - Recognizing Signs Article



In 2006, USA Swimming was among the first National Governing Bodies to implement a program requiring criminal background checks for coaches. At the 2010 Convention, the House of Delegates updated this requirement to include all non-athlete members. USA Swimming has contracted Acxiom Information Security Services to provide a new background check program for these members. Acxiom is an industry leader with 40 years experience.


The purpose of this background check is to determine an individual’s eligibility for membership in USA Swimming. Criminal background checking is not intended to serve as a pre-employment screening program. The background checking process is a criminal record search and is not a substitute for a club conducting appropriate pre-employment inquiries of applicants. Clubs should carefully check references and prior employers.



Below are the deadlines for specific member groups to complete the new background check requirement.

All non-athlete members who have not previously completed the USA Swimming background check must successfully complete the new background check in order to maintain valid membership.
All non-athlete members who have previously completed the USA Swimming background check before September 1, 2010, are required to complete the new check prior to April 30, 2011.

 Any non-athlete members who completed the USA Swimming background check after September 1, 2010 must complete the new background check prior to December 31, 2011.



Question:  If a coach does not follow the rules established under the Athlete Protection Policy such as Article 305.5 and a complaint is filed that the coach shared accommodations in the same hotel bedroom with an athlete will the LSC need to address this complaint?

Answer:  No. A violation of this nature goes directly to a National Board of Review.(Cathy Durance, USA Swimming Member Services Coordinator)


Question:  If a coach is brought to the authorities above and found to have violated the rule will the coach automatically not be approved to have a coach’s certification under USA Swimming?

Answer: The coach would be suspended from USA Swimming. .(Cathy Durance, USA Swimming Member Services Coordinator)

Questions About the Athlete Protection Program?

Contact: Susan Woesenner, Athlete Protection Officer, USA Swimming

Email: [email protected] or call Phone (719) 866-3589