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 Instagram page that coaches, athletes and parents can follow for information and updates on team---related matters. Coaches and athletes may follow each other on Instagram. Coaches cannot repost an athlete message. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “direct message” each other through Instagram.

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 should 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 Photography Policy

There has been much talk about whether it is safe to have images taken of children participating in sports. While the great majority of images are appropriate and are taken in good faith, it is a fact that images can be misused and children can be put at risk if common‐ sense procedures are not observed.


  1. The publishing of a photograph of swimmer under 18 either on a notice board or in a published article or video recording (including video streaming) of swimming competitions (“publication”) will only be done with parents’ consent.

  2. A parent or guardian has a right of refuse to have children photographed. The exercise of this right of refusal cannot be used as grounds for refusing entry into a swimming competition. Therefore, any photo that may go to press or on a notice board, be it through a member of the club or official photographer, will receive parental consent before publishing/displaying the photo, preferably in writing.

In the case of open meets and other competitions where the host club has an official photographer present, all parents attending will be made aware of this in meet information. If photos are to be published anywhere, the individual parent will be given the opportunity to withhold their consent. Their right to do so will be specifically drawn to their attention.

All photographs must observe generally accepted standards of decency in particular:

  • Action shots should be a celebration of the sporting activity and not a sexualized image in a sporting context.

  • Action shots should not be taken or retained where the photograph reveals a torn or displaced swimsuit.

  • Photographs should not be taken from behind swimming blocks at the start of a race or exhibit a child climbing out of the swimming pool.

  • Photographs should not be taken in locker‐rooms or bathrooms.

To opt out of PWAC's photograph policies for your swimmer, please fill out the Photo Opt-Out form and give it to a board member directly or by email.  


PWAC Locker Rooms Policy

 Use of Locker Room or Changing Area Required!

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).

  1. 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.

  1. Undress

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Monitoring

PWAC will 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:

  1. Conducting a sweep of the locker room or changing area before athletes arrive;

  2. Posting staff directly outside the locker room or changing area during periods of use;

  3. Leaving the doors open when adequate privacy is still possible; and/or

  4. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Misconduct

The Board of Directors have the authority to impose penalties for infractions of the PWAC Athlete, Parent and Coach Codes of Conduct or any behavior(s) they deem not conducive to the best interests of the Club or other swimmers. Consequences are at the sole discretion of the coaches and/or PWAC Board of Directors and may include, but aren’t limited to, verbal warnings, dismissal from practice, contacting parents, temporary suspension from club activities and expulsion. Involved parties will be informed of the processes and range of potential consequences. The U.S. Center for SafeSport, USA Swimming and local law enforcement (if applicable) will be contacted within 24 hours if a coach, parent, or swimmer violates the SafeSport Code for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements, the USA Swimming Code of Conduct, Athlete Protection Policy, or local laws.

  1. Gathering Information: The appropriate individuals will contact the person who filed the grievance, and the person against whom the grievance is being filed, to ask questions about what happened. In addition, other witnesses may be contacted for more information.  All information will be recorded on the PWAC grievance procedure form. 

  2. Assessing Behavior: The behavior of the person(s) against which the grievance was brought, will be assessed using club policies and facility rules, USA Swimming Code of Conduct, USA Swimming Safe Sport policies, as well as applicable local and state laws.

  3. Consequences will be given and disciplinary action will be taken, if appropriate. These consequences and disciplinary actions will be decided using the following general guidelines: 

    1. Nature of the misconduct

    2. Severity of the misconduct

    3. Prior disciplinary actions

    4. Adverse effect of the misconduct

    5. Application of the Code of Conduct

PWAC Team Travel Policy

  1. 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.

  2. Team managers and chaperones must be members of USA Swimming and have successfully passed a USA Swimming-required criminal background check.

  3. 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.

  4. In connection with team travel, additional guidelines will be provided to team members

Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy


In-Program Contact: Any contact (including communications, interactions, or activities) between an Adult Participant and any Minor Athlete(s) related to participation in sport. Examples include, but are not limited to: competition, practices, camps/clinics, training/instructional sessions, pre/post-event meals or outings, team travel, video review, team- or sport-related team building activities, celebrations, award ceremonies, banquets, team- or sport-related fundraising or community services, sports education, competition site visits, conventions and/or summits.

Adult Participants: Any adult 18 years of age or older who is a:

  • USA Swimming member, either athlete or non-athlete;

  • Participating non-member (e.g., meet marshals, meet computer operators, timers, etc.);

  • Authorized, approved or appointed by USA Swimming, Zones, Local Swimming Committees (“LSCs”) or member clubs to have regular contact with (e.g., ongoing interactions during a 12-month period wherein the individual is in a role of active engagement) or authority over Minor Athletes; and/or within the governance or disciplinary jurisdiction of USA Swimming, Zones, LSCs or member clubs.

Click link below to review full policy:


PWAC Parent Code of Conduct

The purpose of this code of conduct for parents is to establish consistent expectations for behavior by parents. As a parent/guardian, you understand the important growth and developmental support that your child’s participation fosters. You also understand that it is essential to provide the coaching staff with respect and the authority to coach the team. PWAC parents agree with the following statements:

  • I will set the right example for our children by demonstrating sportsmanship and always showing respect and common courtesy to the team members, coaches, competitors, officials, parents, and all facilities.

  • I will get involved by volunteering, observing practices, cheering at meets, and talking with my child and their coach about their progress.

  • I will refrain from coaching my child from the stands during practices or meets.

  • I understand that criticizing, name-calling, use of abusive language or gestures directed toward coaches, officials, volunteers, and/or any participating swimmer will not be tolerated.

  • I will respect the integrity of the officials.

  • I will direct my concerns to first to our coaching staff; then, if not satisfied, to the appropriate supervisor/board member.

PWAC Coaching Code of Conduct

The purpose of this code of conduct for coaches is to establish common expectations for all members of the coaching staff of the club. It is used as a guide to promoting a positive team environment and good sportsmanship.

  • At all times, adhere to USA Swimming’s rules and code of conduct.

  • Set a good example of respect and sportsmanship for participants and fans to follow.

  • Act and dress with professionalism and dignity in a manner suitable to his/her profession.

  • Respect officials and their judgment and abide by the rules of the event.

  • Treat opposing coaches, participants, and spectators with respect.

  • Instruct participants in sportsmanship and demand that they display good sportsmanship.

  • Coach in a positive manner and do not use derogatory comments or abusive language.

  • Win with humility and lose with dignity.

  • Treat every athlete fairly, justly, impartially, intelligently, and with sensitivity.

  • Always place the well-being, health, and safety of swimmers above all other considerations, including developing performance.

  • Continue to seek and maintain their own professional development in all areas in relation to coaching and teaching children.

  • Always maintain a professional separation between coach and athlete.

  • Any complaints of a coach violating this code of conduct will be brought to the attention of his/her supervisor and/or the club’s board of directors

Safe Sport Coordinator

Corey Babka (VP/Treasurer)