Letter from Managing Director of Sport Development Joel Shinofield for March Coaches Connection

Letter from Managing Director of Sport Development Joel Shinofield for March Coaches Connection

By Joel Shinofield//Managing Director of Sport Development  | Monday, March 23, 2020

Earlier this week, we faced the difficult decision to cancel north of 185 meets over the next several weeks.  Many will focus on the higher-profile meets as the most significant losses, but to someone in our sport, every single one of those meets has significance.  Whether it’s a senior chasing an Olympic Trial Cut at a Speedo Sectional meet, the 12-year-old at the last chance “B” meet trying to make state, or the brand new swimmer getting ready for their first meet with “eat my bubbles” written on their arm.  Every meet matters to someone, especially for the coach who whistles just as loudly for the swimmer breaking :30, as they do for the one breaking :20.

Just as every meet is important, every interaction you have with your athletes has meaning, and we know many of you feel cut off from what you do best: inspire, teach, motivate, challenge, and mentor your athletes.  We know many of you are carrying the heavy burden of uncertainty about your career, your program, and your wellbeing.  Many of us at USA Swimming are coaches, current and former, and all of us, whether a coach or not, care deeply about you and the positive impact you have on young people. 

Our team is working to develop and share resources with Coaches, Clubs, and LSCs.  You’ll find links in this newsletter to state and federal legislation providing relief for small businesses, information on insurance coverage, extensions for coach requirements, resources for your wellbeing, and more.  We will be working directly with our standing committees, ad-hoc groups of coaches, and LSCs to develop plans to address the challenges faced by coaches across the country.  We will send out updates regularly.

I assure you the actions we are taking are being implemented with utmost thought and deliberation for the health and safety of all of our members, mindful of our role in society and, therefore, public health. Nothing about this is normal, and it is difficult to fathom how much has changed in a few short days.  It seems each hour brings news of changes in restrictions, predictive modeling of infection, and speculation. Still, each day also brings stories of coaches working together to help one another and of athletes sharing with the world how the lessons you’ve taught are helping them thrive in a difficult time. The most entrepreneurial, problem-solving, and dedicated people I know are coaches, and together we’ll figure out the best way forward.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  My email is jshinofield@usaswimming.org, and my cell is 719-216-3045.  Our Sport Development team is available to you, and our staff roster is listed below. 


Joel Shinofield

Managing Director of Sport Development



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