I attended the Make a Splash workshop yesterday morning. My club has it's own Learn to Swim program, and I have been working on the criteria to become a Make a Splash partner program. After the workshop I am inspired to get it done! In Alaska, we have a drowning rate that is over 3x the national average. A lot of the drownings occur in the rural villages. There were a couple of presentations by current Make a Splash partner programs...they got my creative juices going. I really believe that there is a way for my club, through the Make a Splash program, to make an impact. I will let you know how it goes.
One of the meetings I tried to sit through was the Safety Education Committee meeting. I arrived as they were discussing the Meet Marshal duties and guidelines. The committee was reviewing a card for the Meet Marshals to carry and check at meets click here to see the card. I have to say, it was not a stimulating meeting and I had to leave due to the struggle I have with those kinds of meetings.
I headed down to the Olympic International Operations Committee (OIOC) meeting. For me, it was a much more interesting meeting. Some information I got from the meeting included:
- Steering has changed summer Nationals (including the US Open) to be a meet with only long course qualifying time standards. Nationals will have a normal A and B final with a C final that is only for 18 & Under. Jr Nationals will continue to have SCY and LCM standards. These times are going to be faster. Both meets are currently too large; expect time standard to get faster.
- Frank Busch, our new National Team Director, spoke about some incentive programs that would include Jr Nat winning teams, and individual event winners/coaches, getting to go to the OTC. He spoke about coaches of National Jr Team members getting to spend a week with some of our legendary coaches (Reese, Marsh, etc). I will be interested to see the formalization of these ideas.
- There will be an Olympic Trials "test event" in Omaha, at the trial pool, prior to Olympic Trials. The meet will be June 8th-10th. It will not be a Grand Prix event, but the standards will be along those lines.
I went to the presentation, by the Athlete Protection Committee and Praesidium. I just checked, and the Athlete Protection Training is online and available to take. I plan on taking the compulsory training later today. I will let you know what I think of it afterward.
If you are not in the Western Zone, you will probably want to skip this part, but there are some changes coming by 2013. The Western Zone Championship will become a 14 and under meet with slightly relaxed time standards to help yield a similar number of participants that currently exist. The 15 and over swimmers will be shift over to the, still very young, Western Zone Senior Championship. I have not been to the Senior meet, but I plan on taking athletes next summer. My hope is that it becomes a 19 and under championship...I don't want it to turn into another Sectional Meet.
At the Coaches Meeting this morning, we had a couple of redundant reports from the OIOC, but there were a couple of topics that seemed to take up most of the conversation after the reports.
- Coaches Education - should it be mandatory? It seemed as though it was about a 50/50 split on whether or not it should be. I am against mandating continuing education at the USA Swimming level. If I want to require my staff to continue education, I will require/provide it, but until USA Swimming starts writing my paycheck they should not be requiring that sort of thing. On the other hand, I am in favor of encouraging education by offering some sort of recognition program. Use the carrot, not the stick.
- Coaches Protection Program? - Praesidium has been throwing around the numbers stating that only 5% of abuse accusations are false. It was brought up, that USA Swimming provides legal council for athletes, but not coaches. Opinion at the meeting was that it should be fair and that USA Swimming should provide legal council for coaches as well. The fact is that once the accusation has been made, the damage is done. If exonerated, the price of council should not be an issue for a coach. I believe a committee has been formed to address this issue.
I will continue to post information about the USA Swimming Convention and any meetings I attend.