By Isabelle Robuck//Contributor | Monday, December 10, 2018It was a Wednesday when she got the call from Jacksonville, Fla. Having been a part of the organization for 32 years, Carol Burch, a retired members services director for USA Swimming expected the call from her former boss to be a question of many sorts. What she received instead was far greater than any question could ever be.
Having retired in 2014, Burch was nothing short of flabbergasted when she learned the meaning behind the call – she had won the highly coveted USA Swimming Award.
“I was overwhelmed and shocked,” said Burch. “I was totally surprised because I had been retired for four years, so this was totally unexpected.”
Following names like Rowdy Gaines and Ron Van Pool, Burch knew the value behind the award. Presented to an individual or organization that contributes exceptionally to the sport of swimming through service, financial, or material donations, the USA Swimming Award is among the organization’s highest honors.
Being recognized for the award not only says a lot about Burch’s character, but her love for the organization as well. Many of the past award winners include swim coaches, former swimmers, presidents and many other highly creditable names.
It all began when Burch moved to Colorado Springs in 1982. Burch exchanged resumes with a woman at a networking class who suggested she apply to USA Swimming. Burch knew little about the sport but tested her chances anyway. She became one of four finalists in the run for the local services director position and was later hired for the job. From there, the rest is history.
Her career in USA Swimming blossomed along with the company. Starting with just 10 to 12 employees, USA Swimming expanded over the years. When Burch retired, the organization had close to 100 employees.
Burch’s specialty was working with the volunteers and local swimming committees. She also headed the department responsible for membership.
Burch has wonderful memories of her 32 years traveling all over the country for various workshops with volunteers. According to Burch, USA Swimming’s volunteers are often overlooked. Doing so much for the organization, volunteers function with many different capabilities and responsibilities, working behind the scenes and officiating and running meets.
“The volunteers have done so much for the love of the sport and the love of the kids,” said Burch. “It’s a lot of time and energy that they put into this organization. Some of them have been there as long as I have, and they are unpaid.”
Nonetheless, the USA Swimming Award is a testament to Burch’s hard work and efforts throughout the years. With a designated spot in her living room, the award will continuously remind Burch of the many fun times and great memories with such a wonderful organization.
“It’s special to me because I loved working with the wonderful volunteers,” said Burch. “It means that I loved my job.”