Chuck Wielgus - Executive director
Charles “Chuck” Wielgus has served as the Executive Director of USA Swimming since 1997, and as CEO of the USA Swimming Foundation since its inception in 2004. He is the longest-tenured
current chief executive of an Olympic national governing body
During his 19-year tenure, Wielgus has led USA Swimming through an extended period of growth in what has become an increasingly competitive marketplace. Membership has surpassed 400,000, while organizational revenues and net worth have more than doubled.
Key achievements also include: creation of Splash Magazine; development of strong corporate and television partnerships; creation of new properties such as the Duel in the Pool, the Golden Goggle Awards and Arena Pro Swim Series; and re-positioned the
U.S. Olympic Trials – Swimming from a 4,700-seat natatorium to a 17,000-seat
major entertainment venue and into a major showcase event. Wielgus also spearheaded the creation of the USA Swimming Foundation, which through its Make a Splash initiative has the goal of teaching every child in America to swim.
Under his leadership, the U.S. Olympic Swim Team has won an average of more than 31 medals in each of the last five Olympic Games, including 33 medals at the Rio Games. The medal count has equated to about 33% of the total Team USA count. Additionally, financial support to USA Swimming National Team athletes and coaches has also increased significantly under his leadership.
Wielgus was executive producer of a feature-length documentary, The Last Gold, which premiered in 2016 at the L.A. Film Festival and told the story of the women's 1976 U.S. Olympic Swim Team that went against an East German team which was later confirmed to have used performance enhancing drugs in a state-run system.
Prior to his work at USA Swimming, the Larchmont, N.Y., native was the executive director of the Senior PGA TOUR Tournament Directors Association (currently known as the Champion’s Tour), based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., where he also served on planning committees for the World Golf Village and International Golf Hall of Fame. From 1989-96 he was the executive director of the U.S. Canoe and Kayak Team, the national governing body for that Olympic sport.
From 1983-89, Wielgus was the executive director of the Hilton Head Island (SC) Recreation Association, where he led the effort that produced the master plan for the resort island’s public recreation facilities and sports programs. From 1974-83, he was a coach and recreation director in Woodstock, Vt., where he coached basketball, lacrosse and swimming, and served two terms as the president of the Vermont Recreation and Parks Association.
Wielgus received a M.Ed. from Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., in 1974, and a B.A. in History from Providence College in 1972. He also attended Virginia Military Institute (1968-70). He was recognized as a Sports Ethics Fellow in 1996 by the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I., and has received awards from the American Swimming Coaches Association, College Swimming Coaches Association, International Swimming Hall of Fame, El Pomar Foundation and was the 2011 recipient of the National Great Comebacks Award for his cancer survival and contributions. He was also awarded the first-ever Association of Chief Executives of Sport (ACES) Chief Executive Leadership Award in 2015.
Most recently, Wielgus was awarded a 2016 National Honorary Doctorate from the United States Sports Academy. Prior recipients of the Honorary Doctorate include Prince Albert of Monaco, Bud Selig, Billie Jean King, Richard Pound, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Donna de Varona, Pat Summit and Condoleezza Rice.
Wielgus has co-authored three books, all with Sports Illustrated Senior Writer, Alexander Wolff; and received a credit for the 1994 award-winning movie Hoop Dreams. He resides in Colorado Springs, Colo., with his wife Nancy Grace Wielgus. He has four children.