By James Sheehan, Tim Hinchey III | Monday, April 16, 2018
Following our last correspondence, USA Swimming leadership, including its Board of Directors and senior staff, has spent significant time examining its past, reviewing its current Safe Sport abuse-prevention efforts and outlining priorities and initiatives moving forward.
Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our members, and that is paramount in everything we do. USA Swimming strives to better educate and prevent abuse within the sport and to provide the best possible experience for its members, in the safest possible environment.
In early March, the USA Swimming Board of Directors created a Safe Sport Working Group comprised of Board members and USA Swimming employees. The six women and five men working group, which includes Olympians, coaches, and officials, was tasked with coordinating the review and enhancement of the organization’s Safe Sport program, established in 2010.
The Working Group presented its initial progress update and ideas at a special Board of Directors meeting this past weekend. The Board had an in-depth discussion of the Working Group’s report, which included the status of our current programs and services, policies, organizational culture and communications to identify areas in need of further development.
Based on the Working Group’s presentation and subsequent review, the Board endorsed the following priorities:
- To evaluate existing policies and procedures regarding the handling of Safe Sport violations to ensure that we are meeting and exceeding the needs of our membership
- To seek out and obtain feedback and engagement from survivors of abuse
- To evaluate USA Swimming’s current Mission and Vision Statements, to ensure that our position on safe sport is a key component of our mission and who we are
- To finalize and implement a “Training the Trainers” program, to build a diverse group of facilitators who are equipped to deliver Safe Sport education and enhance in-person Safe Sport training to the sport’s grassroots, i.e., the clubs, parents, coaches and athletes
- To increase awareness of SwimAssist funding and revisit its effectiveness
- To enhance existing education, on-boarding training and reference checks across all levels of the organization from individual members, to clubs, to LSCs, to staff, to the Board of Directors
Since 2010, we have made great efforts in education, awareness and oversight with USA Swimming’s Safe Sport program. Safe Sport Champions are raising awareness of abuse prevention and doing education at the zone, LSC, and club levels. Every year we have strengthened our commitment with the goal of making safe sport a cultural reality and will continue to do so.
Athletes, members, clubs, and everyone affiliated with USA Swimming deserves to know and trust that we will put our children and athletes first.
We encourage you to review the following in-depth timeline of detailed Safe Sport initiatives undertaken since 2010: https://www.usaswimming.org/docs/default-source/safe-sportdocuments/talking-about-safe-sport-documents/safe-sport-in-depth-timeline.pdf?sfvrsn=4.
We welcome your continued questions and feedback at email@example.com.
USA Swimming Board of Directors Chair
Tim Hinchey III
USA Swimming President & CEO
Additional Safe Sport resources:
USA Swimming Safe Sport: www.usaswimming.org/protect
USA Swimming Safe Sport Toolkit: www.usaswimming.org/toolkitUSA Swimming Safe Sport Reporting: www.usaswimming.org/report