Coach Connection Newsletter #38 - 9/22/17

Coach Connection Newsletter #38 - 9/22/17

 | Thursday, October 5, 2017

1. USA Swimming Modernizes Board Structure, Adds Two Member Categories & Passes Disaster Relief Resolutions
3. 2017 USA Swimming Awards
4. Safe Sport Athlete Fellowship
5. Swim Staff Select
6. Safe Sport Online Clinic Series featuring Conflict Resolution: Easy Ways to have Hard Conversations
7. USADA Update
8. Breaststroke - Head Lead Kick
9. Coaching as a Relational Leader
10. The Cost of Winning

USA Swimming Modernizes Board Structure, Adds Two Member Categories & Passes Disaster Relief Resolutions

Re-vamp of Board, “Flex” membership highlight major changes

USA Swimming announced substantive governance restructure changes, created two new membership categories and officially adopted resolutions to help swimmers in disaster-impacted areas.

The Board governance review included a change in its job description, to be more future-focused, and will reduce its size. The current operations-focused board will transition to a governance-focused Board and go from 35 members to 15.

The review of the governance structure was taken on to better position the organization for the future to achieve its “Build, Promote & Achieve” goals and create a more strategic-focused Board of Directors. It was a nearly 18-month process initiated by the Board and the appointment of a Board Governance Task Force chaired by Bill Schalz, and supported by governance consulting firm Charney Associates.

“This is a monumental day for the sport of swimming and our organization,” said Jim Sheehan, USA Swimming Board of Directors Chair. “This is a healthy change for USA Swimming and presents an opportunity for us to become a more forward-thinking organization and function more effectively from Board to staff to support our 400,000 members. I applaud our Board of Directors and House of Delegates for making this key change for the future of the organization.”

Key elements of the plan include:

• The 15 voting members will consist of three athlete members, three coaches and the balance of nine “at large” members elected by the House of Delegates, including two semi-independent directors and the past Board Chair, to ensure diversity of perspective, geography and expertise
• The President/CEO and Secretary/General Counsel will serve as ex-officio, non-voting members
• A revision for the Board Chair’s role to align with the board’s governance duties and functions and eliminate redundancy with the position description of the President/CEO
• The Board will shift its focus to being a governance-focused board vs. its current operations-focused Board
• There will no longer be an Executive Committee; and the Board will elect its own officer positions including Board Chair, Vice Chair and Vice Chair Fiscal Oversight
• A nominating committee will be added as a standing committee to present candidates to the House of Delegates
• The Board will assume authority over budget and bylaws, which was previously held by the House of Delegates
• The House of Delegates will retain authority on rules of the sport, composition of the House of Delegates, size and manner of election of the Board of Directors, and changes to membership fees in existing categories
Additional details can be found here: 
“The changes passed are a testament to the vision of so many in the organization and evidence that the organization is willing to take a bold step to continually improve,” said Schalz. “I am very proud to be part of such a dedicated group and want to thank all the task force members including Julie Bare, Michael Gibbons, Richard Pockat, Trent Staley and staff liaison Pat Hogan for investing their time and expertise in this project. Also, I would like to add a special thanks to our consultant Bill Charney of Charney Associates for his insightful expertise and dedication that went above and beyond.”

The new structure will begin a phased process of implementation with some changes taking effect immediately and going through 2018.

Two New Membership Categories
USA Swimming House of Delegates also approved the addition of two new membership categories, including a junior coach membership and a flexible, or “flex” membership. These are the first membership changes since 2005 which included a single meet membership for open water. Both memberships will be available Sept. 1, 2018.

USA Swimming recorded its highest year-round athlete membership to date in July 2017 with 354,036 members and a 15.2 percent increase in membership over 2016. Though promising, USA Swimming has seen a 9.2% decline in new members compared to the 2013 post-Olympic year. The addition of the new flex member category is effort to evolve with the changing youth sports market and attract more entry-level children and families to the sport.

Both memberships will positively impact the introduction of new members in different ways:

The junior coach member category will focus on current or former swimmers ages 16 and 17 who wish to serve as assistant coaches on-deck and at swim meets. Presently, USA Swimming requires coaches to be a minimum age of 18, so the addition of this category will require supervision by a member coach 18-and-over at all times, as well as extensive pre-employment screening.

The new flexible member category (known as “flex membership”) is designed to serve as a more attractive option to entry-level children and families to bridge into the sport full-time for $20 per year with $10 going to the Local Swimming Committee and $10 to USA Swimming. The flex membership will allow teams to get creative with their programs to grow membership long-term with programs such as learn-to-swim lessons, pre-team programs and summer league programs. Those with the flexible membership will receive benefits such as the ability to participate in two USA Swimming sanctioned events each year, USA Swimming insurance coverage and the $20 flexible membership cost will go towards a year-round membership should the athlete member transition within the same membership year.

“USA Swimming has a great track-record of retaining members, but we would like to be stronger in continuously attracting new members into the sport,” said Pat Hogan, Club Development Managing Director. “Both new member categories will give us a foothold in the 5- to 7-year-old range with the aim of welcoming the next generation of swimmers. It is our hope that the new member categories will create sustainable, long-term revenue for teams and become a great way to introduce kids to the sport.”

The existing membership categories will remain, and both new member categories will be optional for teams to implement.

USA Swimming will offer education opportunities and promotional tools for swim teams to learn more about the new categories and implement within their communities.

For more information on the new member categories and educational opportunities visit here:

Disaster Relief Resolutions
Due to the extraordinary and monumental devastation and destruction of hurricanes in the U.S. this season, USA Swimming recognizes that member athletes have been displaced from not only their homes but their swim clubs as well. USA Swimming believes enabling displaced athletes to be included as part of a team is also part of the recovery process. To support this, the House of Delegates passed the resolution that will grant a temporary exception to the 120-day representation rule to allow swimmers to swim with other teams. Typically, swimmers must wait 120 days in order to switch teams for competitions. This will be effective immediately and expire at the closing of the House of Delegates in September 2018.

2017 Board of Directors Elections

The following members have been elected or re-elected to serve on the Board of Directors:
• Dale Ammon - Western Zone (non-coach), elected to two-year term
• John Bradley - Central Zone (coach), re-elected to two-year term
• Mary Turner - Eastern Zone Director (non-coach), re-elected to two-year term
• John Roy - Southern Zone (coach), re-elected to two-year term

For a complete list of the Board of Directors please visit here:


The intent of the PDF in the link below is to insure the 18 & Under World Rankings are as accurate as possible before the 2017 World 100 List is announced in early October. If an athlete’s name is missing it is because FINA does not yet know if the athlete is a USA swimmer. In this case, email Mitch Dalton

Please include athlete name, date of birth, time, event and confirm athlete is a USA citizen. Once this information is given to Mitch, he will make sure the swimmer is coded as a USA swimmer and update the rankings before creating the World 100 List 2017.

The 100 highest ranked USA swimmers will be named to the 2017 World 100 List.

These 100 athletes will consist of our best 50 men and best 50 women.

Check list here:

2017 USA Swimming Awards

Caeleb Dressel Earns USA Swimming Athlete of the Year Honors

Late executive director Chuck Wielgus honored with USA Swimming Award

Following a breakout performance at the 2017 FINA World Championships, Caeleb Dressel (Green Cove Springs, Fla./Bolles School Sharks/Florida) was named USA Swimming Athlete of the Year on Saturday at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention.

This summer, Dressel joined Michael Phelps as the only swimmers to win seven titles at a single FINA World Championships. He won individual gold in the 50-meter freestyle, 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly to become the first American male since Ryan Lochte in 2011 to claim at least three individual titles at the same world championships. He also set American records in the 50m free, 100m free and 50m fly. On June 29, Dressel became the first swimmer in history to win three world titles in a single day with gold in the 50m free, 100m butterfly and mixed 400m free relay. He also won gold in the 400m medley relay, 400m free relay and mixed 400m medley relay in Budapest.

Also among the awards presented in Dallas was the Phillips 66 Performance of the Year Award, which went to Lilly King (Evansville, Ind./Indiana University) for her world-record and gold-medal performance in the women’s 100m breaststroke at the 2017 FINA World Championships. In a highly anticipated final, King jumped out to a quick lead off the blocks, led by more than half a second at the turn and held off the field over the final 50 meters to touch in a world-record time of 1:04.13.

The 2017 USA Swimming Award was presented to Chuck Wielgus, the late executive director of USA Swimming, who passed away on April 23 of complications from colon cancer. From the start of his tenure in July 1997, Wielgus led USA Swimming to new heights and notable achievements in several key areas. Well-known for his core objectives of “Build, Promote, Achieve,” Wielgus served as executive director of the National Governing Body for nearly 20 years.

In the year before Wielgus arrived, USA Swimming had fewer than 200,000 members and during his tenure membership growth has doubled to more than 400,000 members. Along the same lines, revenues increased by 600 percent, including an expansion of corporate partners to approximately 15 annually. Wielgus’ vision to promote swimming to wider audiences resulted in securing annual year-round network television coverage of championship swimming events, and he was instrumental to growing the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming into a major showcase event in a 17,000-seat entertainment venue. The 2016 Olympic Trials was completely sold out with more than 200,000 tickets for 15 sessions at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. During Wielgus’ tenure, there were 156 podium performances by the U.S. Olympic Swim Team in five Olympic Games, including 33 medals (16 gold) at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Ashley Twitchell (Fayetteville, N.Y./North Carolina Aquatic Club) and Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Team Santa Monica) claimed top open water swimming honors following individual medal performances at the 2017 FINA World Championships. Twitchell was named Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year after winning gold in the women’s 5-kilometer event, while Wilimovsky earned Fran Crippen Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year accolades after taking silver in the 10K. Twitchell won the award for the first time since 2011, while Wilimovsky earned his third straight honor.

The members of the U.S. roster for the World University Games – Taylor Abbott (Cedar Park, Texas/University of Tennessee), Katy Campbell (Federal Way, Wash./Team Santa Monica), David Herron (Mission Viejo, Calif./University of Tennessee) and Becca Mann (Homer Glen, Ill./Trojan Swim Club) – were awarded the Open Water Excellence Award, given to the individuals making the greatest contribution to open water swimming for the year. This quartet opted not to compete on race day due to high water and air temperatures in Taipei.

Aspen Shelton (Willow Park, Texas/Fort Worth Area Swim Team) earned the Trischa L. Zorn Award after winning six gold medals at the 2017 Can Am Para-Swimming Championships.

On the coaching front, Ron Aitken of Sandpipers of Nevada claimed USA Swimming Developmental Coach of the Year honors.

A complete list of 2017 award winners:

Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year: Ashley Twitchell (North Carolina Aquatic Club)
Fran Crippen Memorial Male Swimmer of the Year: Jordan Wilimovsky (Team Santa Monica)
Open Water Excellence Award: Athletes from the World University Games:
Taylor Abbott (University of Tennessee), Katy Campbell (Team Santa Monica), David Herron (University of Tennessee) and Becca Mann (Trojan Swim Club)
Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation Award: Priscilla Davis
Trischa L. Zorn Award: Aspen Shelton (Fort Worth Area Swim Team)
James Raymond “Jimi” Flowers Disability Coach of the Year: Nathan Manley (Paralympic Resident Team)
Outstanding Disability Service Award: Stuart Zook (Mach 3 Flyers)
Make a Splash Hero Award: Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition
Safe Sport Impact Award: John Morse
Diversity Inclusion Award: Miriam Lynch (Nation's Capital Swim Club)
Kenneth J. Pettigrew Award: Dick and Lucy Duncan (Indiana Swimming)
Developmental Coach of the Year: Ron Aitken (Sandpipers of Nevada)
Athletes’ Appreciation Award: Chuck Wielgus
Phillips 66 Performance of the Year Award: Lilly King (Indiana University), 100m Breaststroke, FINA World Championships
USA Swimming Athlete of the Year: Caeleb Dressel (Bolles School Sharks/Florida)
USA Swimming Award: Chuck Wielgus

Safe Sport Athlete Fellowship

Athletes: apply for the safe sport fellowship

The application for the 2018 class of the

Safe Sport Fellowship is open from September 11 - October 2. The Fellowship is an exciting opportunity for athlete members to take on a leadership role within USA Swimming. Fellows will attend three Leadership Institutes throughout their 13-month commitment, as well as implement innovative Safe Sport projects in their home LSC.

It is free to apply and participate, and Fellows will gain valuable leadership training, create new professional contexts, and experience an opportunity to plug into the leadership of USA Swimming in an unprecedented way.

Apply here!

Please direct questions to Maggie Vail, Safe Sport Education Specialist

Swim Staff Select

A Valuable Tool for Every Team

Getting the right personnel in the right roles is a protective factor against abuse in sport. Safe Sport is proud to offer a tool to make this process streamlined and accessible to all member clubs.

SwimStaffSelect is a free, online resource to provide teams with the best hiring and HR tools. Club leaders will have the ability to create job descriptions and applications, interview scripts, and reference check forms, as well as have the capability to electronically store hiring records on a password protected site.

SwimStaffSelect was created in partnership with the Non-Profit Risk Management Center and offers hiring tips and best practices.

Get started at

Safe Sport Online Clinic Series featuring Conflict Resolution: Easy Ways to have Hard Conversations

With Susan Woessner, Jay Thomas, M.J. Truex, August 23, 2017

Slides and recordings are here:

USADA Update

What role does my doctor play in obtaining a Therapeutic Use Exemption?

It's simple. #Supplements can put athletes at risk for testing positive. Are you taking steps to protect yourself?

Wonder who gets tested and why? Take a closer look at how we try & make sport is safe, fair, and authentic.

The law requires manufacturers to notify the FDA when an “adverse event” is reported for #supplements

What does a threshold for Cannabis mean and what is it's clearance time?

35 #supplements have been added to the High Risk List. 350+ products are on the list. Is yours? #CleanSport

New to testing? Understand the steps in the Urine Collection Process.

New to drug-testing? Understand the ins and outs with a crash course in #antidoping 101. #cleansport

Breaststroke - Head Lead Kick

By Glenn Mills, GoSwim Video of the Week, September 20, 2017

Video Link:

Going all the way back to 2007, so much of this drill still applies. Feel the flow as you work through this.

Kicking breaststroke under water is one of the best ways to figure out your kick. It doesn't matter whether you're on your back or stomach, or whether you're in head lead or hand lead... when you're surrounded by water, you will really FEEL what happens as you recover your legs. You'll feel how the recovery disrupts your forward movement.


Coaching as a Relational Leader

By Cory Dobbs, Founder, The Academy for Sport Leadership,, September 11, 2017

If you were to pause and think seriously about the ‘first things’ in your life—the three or four things that matter most—what would they be?”

The Relational Leader

Leadership Personas

The Art of Leadership


The Cost of Winning

By Potential Pictures

A look at the obsession of winning and the effect it is having on youth sports development.

Watch the 13 minute video here:



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