2014 3rd Quarter Accident Summary

2014 2nd Quarter Accident Summary Charts

Racing Starts March 18, 2009 -- At its meeting held on January 24, 2009, the USA Swimming Board of Directors adopted an amendment to Article 103.2.2 of the USA Swimming Rules.  The amendment was modified on March 16, 2009 to be effective on May 1, 2009. The amendment specifically defines the term "teaching racing starts" and provides that teaching racing starts can take place only under the direct supervision of a USA Swimming Member Coach.

USAS Racing Start Amendment - Certification Checklist
USAS Racing Start Amendment - Memo to Clubs and Coaches
USAS Racing Start Amendment - Notice to Parents
USAS Racing Start Amendment - FAQ

USA Swimming Coaches Safety Curriculum

For the 2009 membership year (which begins September 1, 2008), the following certifications will be acceptable for the Safety Training for Swim Coach requirement:

- OR -

  1. ARC Safety Training for Swim Coaches certification (valid for 3 years)
  2. Email confirmation from the ARC that the individual has passed the Safety Training for Swim Coaches online exam, ALONG WITH one of the following certifications:
    1. ARC Lifeguarding, Lifeguarding/Waterfront, Lifeguarding/Waterpark, Basic Water Rescue, or Shallow Water Attendant
    2. American Lifeguard Association First Time Lifeguard, Professional Lifeguard Challenge, or Lifeguard Recertification
    3. Ellis and Associates International Lifeguard Training or International Lifeguard Training Instructor License
    4. StarGuard
    5. YMCA  Lifeguarding

For Option #2, the expiration date shall be the earliest expiration date on either the ARC email (valid for 3 years) or the lifeguard certification.

USA Swimming has also issued a document outlining the Safety Curriculum requirements and procedures.

USA Swimming Safety FAQ

2007-2008 Coaches Safety Curriculum Revised December 27, 2007

Background Screening
April 4, 2007 -- Coaches should be in the process of initiating background screening.  You should either have a new card from the WI Registrar showing you have successfully completed the process or printed evidence that you have initiated the process which is good for 30 days from the time you initiated the process.  If for some reason, you failed to initiate the process by now, please do so immediately.  You can initiate a background screen online at

April 15 is the deadline for current WI coach members to complete the screening process.  Meet Directors and Meet Referees will have the authority to bar non current coaches from the deck at a WI sanctioned meet and may do so.  Please come with either a new card or evidence you started the process to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation for all involved.

Approximately 40 coaches have successfully completed the background screen but do not have the new light green card because one of the other required certifications has expired.  Please remember that a legal coach must be current in all safety certifications to maintain insurance coverage and coach membership.

USA Swimming Immediate Rule Change
February 19, 2007 Special Notice to Members of the USA Swimming House of Delegates & All USA Swimming Clubs:

Pursuant to USA Swimming Rules 504.8, the USA Swimming Board of Directors has decided to amend Rule 103.2.2 (page 43 of the 2007 Rules & Regulations) which specifically applies to teaching racing starts to provide as follows:

Teaching Racing Starts - Minimum water depth for teaching racing starts in any setting from any height starting block or the deck shall be 6 feet (1.84 meters) measured for a distance of 3 feet 3 1/2 inches (1.0 meter) to 16 feet 5 inches (5.0 meters) from the end wall.

This decision has been made with the advice and consent of the Safety Education Committee, the Rules and Regulations Committee, and legal counsel. The purpose of this action is to further protect novice swimmers from accidental bottom strikes while they are learning to execute racing starts. This change is effective immediately.

Please direct any questions about this announcement to Bruce Stratton, Chairperson of the Rules & Regulations Committee. His email address is:

It Can't Happen Here?
Drowning of High School Player in Salinas Shows It Can
By Bruce Wigo, Executive Director, USA Water Polo

On Wednesday morning, January 16th, the body of Jennifer Macarandan, a 17-year-old Salinas (CA) High School Junior and member of USA Water Polo, was  discovered drowned, under the thermal blanket of the Hartnell College pool,  as swimmers prepared for 5:30 a.m. practice.  She was apparently one of more  than two-dozen other students that took part in a water polo practice there  Tuesday night.

Because most of us are very comfortable in the water, it is easy to forget, even after reading about tragedies like this one, just how dangerous the aquatic environment can be.  It could never happen at your pool, right?  No one ever thinks something like could happen.  I didn't until my son, a two-time Olympian and incredible aquatic athlete nearly drowned in my backyard pool a few years ago.  That incident demonstrated to me that no matter what precautions you may take, no matter how prudent and cautious you  are, fatal or near fatal accidents can happen even under the most watchful  eye and when you least expect them to happen.

We don't know all the facts surrounding the Jennifer Macarandan tragedy and may never find out exactly what caused her death or whether it could have been prevented.

Here is what we do know.  The Tuesday night practice was a sports-activity class that Hartnell College created specifically for high school water polo students.  The head instructor and coach of Salinas High School is Gary Figueroa, a silver medallist on the 1984 USA Olympic Water Polo Team. Tuesday's practice was typically chilly, with a little steam coming off the water.  As was the usual practice, the thermal blanket was left on the part of the pool that the water polo team wasn't using to retain heat.  Coaches and players remember Jennifer being present at the start of practice.

''We're not able to say if she drowned and then floated up underneath the tarp or if she was underneath there swimming around for some reason and got trapped. There's no way of telling that,'' said Lt. Henry Yoneyama, from the  Salinas Police Department.

Investigators said there were no apparent signs of struggle or fighting that  would indicate Jennifer got trapped underneath the tarp alive.  They suspect  that after practice the tarp was pulled back over the entire pool with  Jennifer's body underneath it.

While there does not appear to be any grounds to allege negligence on the part of the coaches or the school, that does not mean the issue will not arise at some future date.  Fortunately, coach Figueroa registered himself, his club and players, including Jennifer, with USA Water Polo in November. Therefore, USA Water Polo's liability policy will stand behind the coach, club and facility and that the Accidental Death Benefits will be paid to Jennifer's family.  While this may appear to be a small consolation, imagine  the potential consequences if Coach Figueroa had not been a diligent  administrator and insisted on registering his team before the start of the  new year.

As a result of this incident:  USA Water Polo Highly Recommends the following:

1.  Coaches should totally remove all tarps and pool coverings from the entire pool during practice.
2.  Coaches should warn all athletes about the potential dangers of swimming  under tarps, bulkheads, etc. and prohibit all athletes from doing so.

New USA Swimming Insurance info

The company that provides insurance for USA Swimming clubs has changed.  Effective immediately, all correspondence, including Report-of-Occurrence forms, should be addressed to:

Risk Management Services, Inc.
New Address: P.O. Box 32712
Phoenix, AZ 85064-2712

Toll-free: 800-777-4930 (Sandy Blumit)
Direct number: 602-667-1822
Fax number: 602-274-9138

Safety Links:

  • Link to Online Report of Occurrence Form
  • Upon submission of the completed Report of Occurrence, you will receive an automated email indicating that USA Swimming has received the form.  You should save this email and also forward it to your LSC Safety Chair,  Shane Ryan,, for reporting purposes.