Best Practice Guidelines
The following Best Practice Guidelines are strongly recommended for all USA Swimming members.
1. Parents should be encouraged to appropriately support their children’s swimming experience.
2. All swimming practices should be open to observation by parents. Please note that while USA swimming recognizes that practices should be open to observation, we ask, during COVID, parents drop their kids off at practice and leave the practice site. Individual requests to observe practice will be decided on a case by case basis.
3. Coaches should not initiate contact with or accept supervisory responsibility for athletes outside club programs and activities.
4. When only one athlete and one coach travel to a competition, at the competition the coach and athlete should attempt to establish a “buddy” club to associate with during the competition and when away from the venue.
5. Relationships of a peer-to-peer nature with any athletes should be avoided. For example, coaches should avoid sharing their own personal problems with athletes.
6. Coaches and other non-athlete adult members should avoid horseplay and roughhousing with athletes.
7. When a coach touches an athlete as part of instruction, the coach should do so in direct view of others and inform the athlete of what he/she is doing prior to the initial contact. Touching athletes should be minimized outside the boundaries of what is considered normal instruction. Appropriate interaction would include high fives, fist bumps, side-to-side hugs and handshakes.
8. Coaches should avoid having athletes as their favorites. They should also avoid creating a situation that could be perceived as them having favorites.
9. Gift-giving, providing special favors or showing favoritism to individual athletes is strongly discouraged.
PWAC Anti-Bullying Policy
PWAC is committed to providing a safe, caring and friendly environment for all of our coaches and athletes and, consistent with being a USA Swimming club, adopts this anti-bullying policy.
Bullying by or against our coaches and/or swimmers divers of any kind is unacceptable at PWAC and will not be tolerated. If bullying does occur, all swimmers and parents should know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. Anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell a coach or a PWAC board member.
What is Bullying?
Generally, bullying is the severe or repeated use of oral, written, electronic or other technological expression, image, sound, data or intelligence of any nature (regardless of the method of transmission), or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at an athlete that to a reasonably objective person has the effect of:
- causing physical or emotional harm to an athlete or damage to an athlete’s property
- placing the athlete in reasonable fear of harm to himself/herself or of damage to his/her property
- creating a hostile environment for an athlete at any practice, SAL, USA Swimming or PWAC activity
- materially and substantially disrupting the training process or the orderly operation of any SAL, USA Swimming or PWAC activity (which for the purposes of this section shall include, without limitation, practices, workouts and other events of a SAL and/or USA Swimming club)
PWAC Electronic Communication Policy
PWAC recognizes the prevalence of social media in today’s world. Many of our swimmers use these means as their primary method of communication. While PWAC acknowledges the value of these methods of communication, PWAC also realizes that there are associated risks that must be considered when adults use these methods to communicate with minors.
All communications between a coach or other adult and an athlete must be professional in nature and for the purpose of communicating information about team activities. The content and intent of all electronic communications must adhere to the USA Swimming Code of Conduct regarding Athlete Protection.
For example, as with any communication with an athlete, electronic communication should not contain or relate to any of the following:
- drugs or alcohol use;
- sexually oriented conversation; sexually explicit language; sexual activity;
- the adult’s personal life , social activities, relationship or family issues, or personal problems; and
- inappropriate or sexually explicit pictures
- Note: Any communication concerning an athlete’s personal life, social activities, relationship or family issues or personal problems must be transparent, accessible and professional.
Whether one is an athlete, coach, board member or parent, the guiding principle to always use in communication is to ask: “Is this communication something that someone else would find appropriate or acceptable in a face---to---face meeting?” or “Is this something you would be comfortable saying out loud to the intended recipient of your communication in front of the intended recipient’s parents, the coaching staff, PWAC board, or other athletes?”
With respect to electronic communications, a simple test that can be used in most cases is whether the electronic communication with swimmers is Transparent, Accessible and Professional.
Transparent: All electronic communication between coaches and athletes should be transparent. Your communication should not only be clear and direct, but also free of hidden meanings, innuendo and expectations.
Accessible: All electronic communication between coaches and athletes should be considered a matter of record and part of PWAC’s records. Whenever possible, include another coach or parent in the communication so that there is no question regarding accessibility.
Professional: All electronic communication between a coach and an athlete should be conducted professionally as a representative of PWAC. This includes word choices, tone, grammar, and subject matter.
Coaches may have personal Facebook (or other social media site) pages, but they are not permitted to have any athlete member of PWAC join their personal page as a “friend.” A coach should not accept any “friend” request from an athlete. In addition, the coach should remind the athlete that this is not permitted. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “private message” each other through Facebook. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “instant message” each other through Facebook chat or other IM method.
PWAC has an official Facebook page that athletes and their parents can “friend” for information and updates on team---related matters. Coaches are encouraged to set their pages to “private” to prevent athletes from accessing the coach’s personal information.
PWAC has an official Twitter page that coaches, athletes and parents can follow for information and updates on team---related matters. Coaches and athletes may follow each other on Twitter. Coaches cannot retweet an athlete message post. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “direct message” each other through Twitter.
Subject to the general guidelines mentioned above, texting is allowed between coaches and athletes during the hours from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Texting only shall be used for the purpose of communicating information directly related to team activities.
Athletes and coaches may use email to communicate between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. When communicating with an athlete through email, a parent, another coach, or a board member must also be copied.
The parents or guardians of an athlete may request in writing that their child not be contacted by coaches through any form of electronic communication.
PWAC Locker Rooms Policy
- Requirement to Use Locker Room or Changing Area
The designated locker room or changing area must be used when an athlete or Applicable Adult changes, in whole or in part, into or out of a swimsuit when wearing just one suit (e.g., deck changing is prohibited).
- Use of Recording Devices
Use of any device’s (including a cell phone’s) recording capabilities, including voice recording, still cameras and video cameras in locker rooms, changing areas, or similar spaces by a minor athlete or an Applicable Adult is prohibited.
An unrelated Applicable Adult must not expose his or her breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals to a minor athlete under any circumstance. An unrelated Applicable Adult must not request an unrelated minor athlete to expose the minor athlete’s breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals to the unrelated Applicable Adult under any circumstance.
- One-on-One Interactions
Except for athletes on the same team or athletes attending the same competition, at no time are unrelated Applicable Adults permitted to be alone with a minor athlete in a locker room or changing area, except under emergency circumstances. If the organization is using a facility that only has a single locker room or changing area, separate times for use by Applicable Adults must be designated.
PWAC must regularly and randomly monitor the use of locker rooms and changing areas to ensure compliance with this Policy. Locker rooms and changing areas may be monitored by use of the following methods:
- Conducting a sweep of the locker room or changing area before athletes arrive;
- Posting staff directly outside the locker room or changing area during periods of use;
- Leaving the doors open when adequate privacy is still possible; and/or
- Making occasional sweeps of the locker rooms or changing areas with women checking on female locker rooms and men checking on male locker rooms.
Every effort must be made to recognize when a minor athlete goes to the locker room or changing area during practice and competition, and, if the minor athlete does not return in a timely fashion, to check on the minor athlete’s whereabouts.
- Legal Guardians in Locker Rooms or Changing Areas
Legal guardians are discouraged from entering locker rooms and changing areas. If a legal guardian does enter a locker room or changing area, it must only be a same-sex legal guardian and the legal guardian should notify a coach or administrator in advance.
PWAC Team Travel Policy
Regardless of gender, a coach shall not share a hotel room or other sleeping arrangement with an athlete unless the coach is the parent, guardian, sibling, or spouse of that particular athlete.
Team managers and chaperones must be members of USA Swimming and have successfully passed a USA Swimming-required criminal background check.
When only one athlete and one coach travel to a competition, the athlete must have his/her parent’s (or legal guardian’s) written permission in advance to travel alone with the coach.
In connection with team travel, additional guidelines will be provided to team members