| Monday, February 27, 2017
Planning will reduce the number of potential risk exposures that are present in different environments, including practice sessions, meets and swim team related activities such as picnics and parties. A facilities safety inspection or walk-through is a great place to start planning for swim meet safety. Keep in mind that the facility might have its own safety inspection process and that should be included in the swim team planning process.
However, a swimming meet involves a large number of people with different perspectives toward the facility so the swim team should not assume that the facility will recognize some of the potential exposures. An inspection or walk-through will heighten awareness of potential problems such as broken equipment or crowded hallways so that warning signs or barriers can be posted. It is also possible that through daily exposure to a facility, some potential risks become so familiar to the staff that they are not noticed. Therefore, try to include a person in the walk-through who is not a daily facility user, because they will see the facility from a fresh perspective.
There are many ways to enhance your powers of observation and to broaden your own perspective regarding the facility. Look at it as if you are a swimmer, a parent, a coach or an official. Take a ten-year old with you on a walk-through and observe what areas attract their attention. Sit in the bleachers, look at the facility and write down what you see. Stand behind a starting block and observe the facility from a different angle.
Common sense and observation will go far toward developing a meet safety plan. Walk-through and note areas of concern, then focus on specifics. Write an action plan to ensure that such areas will be properly marked with appropriate signs or will be adequately secured. Ask questions such as, "How can we route traffic around this area?" After the initial inspection, write a checklist that can be used before the meet begins. USA Swimming has examples of safety checklists that can be adapted to meet the needs of individual clubs.
SUGGESTED SWIM MEET SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENTS
Please make these and other safety-related announcements during the course of the meet. Thanks for the help.
- "Safety of athletes, officials, coaches and volunteers is of paramount importance to USA Swimming. Please use safe procedures in and out of the pool."
- "USA Swimming reminds all athletes and coaches: Have a successful and safe meet."
- "Please cooperate with safety marshals and officials. They are here for your safety and protection."
- "Please avoid the television camera track and surrounding area (…or whatever area of your facility can be dangerous). Serious injuries due to this equipment are possible."
- Announce the location of the first aid room and trainers.
- Announce warm-up procedures, lane assignments, etc. "Please enter the water feet first. No racing starts or dives during the warm-up period."