By Mike Watkins//Contributor | Thursday, February 14, 2019
As a physician, Cecil Gordon holds all life in high regard.
So, as the new chair of the USA Swimming Foundation Board of Directors, finding new ways to save lives and build champions top his list of goals.
“We have to maintain our position as the top NBG (National Governing Body) and the No. 1 swim team in the world, but we also need to continue our work to do as much as we can to save lives and prevent drownings,” said Gordon, an obstetrician and longtime official who’s been a member of the Foundation Board for more than two years.
Gordon, who has officiated at the National, World and Olympic levels, got involved with the sport of swimming through his two children, who both swam.
As a supportive parent attending daylong meets, he decided to get involved, first as a volunteer timer and then moving to other duties on deck.
Now, many years later, Gordon continues to give back to the sport he believes gave him and his family more than he ever imagined.
Elected to Chair by the Foundation board members last fall when longtime chair Bill Maxson stepped down, Gordon said he is looking forward to working with the rest of the board to help the Foundation grow. His goals include increasing fundraising efforts and raising awareness of the Foundation’s mission.
“I don’t think many people know or realize there is a Foundation board separate from the USA Swimming board,” Gordon said. “And those who are aware may not realize we raise money to support the organization and the athletes.
“A big part of what I want to address is making sure our membership knows about the mission of the Foundation and begins to understand how they can support the Foundation to help the sport they know and love.”
Gordon’s chairmanship is truly a changing of the guard.
Bill Maxson, who joined the Foundation board in its infancy, has shaped the direction and purpose of the Foundation over the past eight years of incredible growth.
Maxson was involved in the hiring of USA Swimming Foundation Executive Director, Debbie Hesse, and has led the organization through the past two Olympic Games (2012 and 2016). Under Maxson’s leadership, the USA Swimming Foundation has become a viable fundraising organization, provided lessons to more than 1 million children each year through its Make a Splash Local Partners program and raised more than $780,000 for the U.S. National Team in 2018.
The Foundation’s success is an incredible legacy of Maxson’s dedication.
“As a (Foundation) board, we’ve come a long way over the past decade, where we started out peddling hard just to keep the lights on with a big minus on the balance sheet,” Maxson said. “Now, we’re in a much better position to continue to create change, build champions and save lives – our true purpose. I know Cecil is the right person to continue to lead that charge.”
Gordon is up for the challenge.
“I am thankful for our past and current board members, because they are so inspirational and knowledgeable about the sport and bring so much experience from so many different levels and areas,” Gordon said. “It just makes our Foundation board so much more well-equipped to act, and I know they will make my job so much easier. I’m excited for USA Swimming and the Foundation.”