USA Swimming’s work to help athletes extends beyond free Safe Sport educational opportunities, valuable resources and response efforts for our members. We believe no one should experience abuse, especially in the sport of swimming. Any member who has experienced abuse in connection with their participation in USA Swimming may qualify for the organization’s SwimAssist program. This includes those who may have experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
What is SwimAssist?
SwimAssist is USA Swimming’s survivors assistance fund. Established in 2014, the goal of the SwimAssist program is to support survivors by alleviating the financial burden of seeking counseling, therapy or other healing treatments. SwimAssist is available to any current or former USA Swimming member who has suffered abuse perpetrated by an individual who at the time of the harm was a member of USA Swimming.
How does SwimAssist Work?
The only requirement of the survivor is to identify the perpetrator of the abuse and the year(s) the harm occurred. The receipt of support is not dependent on the survivor’s participation in the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s or USA Swimming’s disciplinary process. USA Swimming will abide by all mandatory reporting laws and guidelines; however, it is up to the survivor whether to pursue further action.
How to request SwimAssist?
To request SwimAssist, a survivor, or their designee, can reach out to USA Swimming in several ways:
1) Submit an application to USA Swimming by submitting the application form: https://www.usaswimming.org/docs/default-source/safe-sportdocuments/safe-sport/swimassistprogram.pdf
2) Email firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Call USA Swimming at 719-866-4578 and ask for USA Swimming Safe Sport staff; or
4) If an individual is working with the U.S. Center for SafeSport, let the Center know of their interest in SwimAssist and the Center will connect you with USA Swimming.
No matter how the individual reaches out, USA Swimming staff is available to help them get started.
What kinds of treatments does SwimAssist cover?
Selecting a therapist, counseling provider and/or treatment plan is a very personal process, and USA Swimming believes a survivor should have complete power over that decision. The survivor and their family are able to select a provider who they feel is best. USA Swimming can assist in identifying local resources, but will not have any input or final say in what treatment provider a survivor chooses. Fees for services will be paid by USA Swimming directly to the provider.
SwimAssist is set up to accommodate the many ways a survivor may need to heal. There are three levels of SwimAssist:
1) Initial counseling;
2) Ongoing counseling; and
3) Alternative assistance.
USA Swimming will work with the survivor, their selected treatment provider and the SwimAssist Panel to remove barriers of healing. To allow the survivor to focus on healing, USA Swimming will also complete the necessary paperwork that each level of assistance might require.
Are there additional resources?
There are additional support services for survivors outside of USA Swimming. They include:
USA Swimming appreciates the individuals who have come forward to share their experiences and hope that those who have received SwimAssist have found it helpful to their healing process. If you feel SwimAssist would benefit you, now or in the future, please reach out.
For additional information, please visit www.usaswimming.org/protect