USAS Convention The administrative staff attended the USAS Convention in Orlando, Florida, October 10-15. Meetings attended included Financial & Investment forums, Insurance, Club Fundraising, Registration workshops, and training, Technical Planning, Age Group Planning, Club Development, and Waterworks (formerly communications).
Finance and Investment: A $1M reward program was established for any USA athlete that sets a World record and wins an Olympic Gold Medal in the distance events (800 women & 1500 men). The cost of which is substantial, the budget impact was discussed.
The deductibility of volunteers' expenses and reporting requirements were discussed. The importance of accurate receipts was stressed.
The reimbursement structure by LSC's was discussed at length. The reimbursement programs for meets such as Philips 66 was also discussed. There was much comparison between various LSC's, travel reimbursement policies. Many revealed their Travel reimbursement programs were based on dollar amount limits by type of meet as supported by receipts.
Insurance: USA Swimming presented the current Peak Insurance plan and policy description. USA Swimming Athletes competing either in events sanctioned by USA Swimming directly or through the LSC where non-USA swimming athletes are competing must now sign a waiver of release of liability. This form must be signed by each participating athlete and kept on file by the event manager.
USA also provided limited information to the membership regarding their "Learn-to-Swim" insurance program for non-competing athletes participating in a member club's learn-to-swim program.
Incident Reports - Any club hosting or managing an event where an incident occurs must file the required incident report with USA Swimming. If that report is not on file and a claim is made by injured party the claim is automatically rejected and no further action will be taken.
Extensive discussion occurred regarding Coaches bringing their non-competing/participating children on deck during USA Swimming events or club practices. In some cases, coaches have gone to the extent of registering their newborn child as an athlete to avoid insurance conflicts.
There was additional discussion of the member's medical plan, officer's liability plan, international accident insurance plan, and other minor programs and plans provided by Peak Insurance.
Club Fundraising: The "Swim-A-Thon" concept is copy written. Any member club wishing to promote any event that includes swimming "up and down the pool" to raise funds, MUST contact USA Swimming and comply with the "Swim-A-Thon" program regulations.
USA Swimming specifically directed LSC's NOT to sanction any such event that resembles a "Swim-A-Thon" in any way. According to USA Swimming, doing so could result in litigation against the club and possibly the sanctioning LSC.
Discussion of the club/LSC reimbursement structure is being taken under advisement. Specifically the proportion of dollars raised to swimmer ratio.
The Club Fundraising Handbook is currently available on the USA Swimming Web Page. Extensive discussion of the NCAA College Scholarship project handbook, the goal being to show athletes entering college how scholarship funding can assist them staying in the sport throughout college. This handbook could potentially be sold by clubs to members as a fund raising project, more information will be available in the spring of 2001.
USA Swimming logo use is strongly encouraged by both the Club Fundraising committee as well as the Club Development and Marketing groups. Proper paperwork on file with USA is mandatory for the logo's use, however the club has the opportunity to receive rebates from USA on identified purchases.
Registration/Membership Workshops and Training Classes: The Registration Workshop was not as productive as hoped but we were able to see a live online demonstration of the new USA Swimming National Meet Online Entry Program. The proposed implementation schedule by Mike Unger is as follows; program implemented over the next 10 months with 8-10 test clubs for the US Open (December 2000), USA will then open it up to all member clubs use for Phillip 66 Spring and hopes that by Phillips 66 Summer they will be at better than 80% usage by all member clubs.
The program is tied to the National Registration Database (Athlete and Non-Athlete) and the OVC Database. The program will verify both coach and athlete membership status including out of certification status for coaches. At this time the program does not notify the home LSC of unregistered coaches/athletes or coaches that are out of certification but at the request/suggestion of this LSC they are looking into it and hope to have that upgrade included when the program debuts for general use. The program will also verify entry times and notify the entering coach or member if any hard copy OVCs will be required. Currently there are approximately 3000 errors in the OVC database, generally attributed to name anomalies. This is a big task and they are working diligently to clean up that database.
Mike assured us that (in the beginning) all entries in national level meets using the new online entry program will be entered by hand, in most cases by him personally to make sure there are no glitches with the system and no athlete is left out of a meet.
Upon completion of the implementation process USA hopes to make this program available to the LSCs to use on a local meet level
Mike Saltzstein addressed the group in response to multiple requests for various reports from the LSC Win Registration Program. We reviewed the various ways custom reports can be created using access and excel. It was noted that no new reports were to be generated at the HQ level due to the fact this program is scheduled to be completely rewritten. USA is hopeful to have the new program available for registration year 2002, registration year 2003 is probably a more realistic goal given all the other projects on the plate of the MIS department (most specifically the USA web page, which will be addressed later in this report).
We were scheduled to break into small group discussions but because of the time involved in the preview of the online meet entry program, our time was limited. There was extensive open discussion regarding deadline requirements of individual LSCs versus the deadlines of USA Swimming. USA stated that the LSC has full authority to establish their own guidelines and requirements providing they are more restrictive than those of USA Swimming's. Several Registrars shared their guidelines with the group; it became very apparent that this LSC is extremely lenient in our requirements. Examples of which include but are not limited to: clubs failing to provide proper and accurate meet reports (including Meet Recon) are refused future sanctions; clubs failing to complete necessary paperwork in a timely fashion have had their athletes deleted; clubs attempting to enter unregistered athletes in a meet are fined for the entry attempt itself as well as a fine for each event in which the athlete was entered.
Meet Recon and Club Import One hour closed training sessions were held for each of these programs. The requirements of coming to the meeting with a computer loaded with the LSC Win Database, Club Import, Meet Recon and a registration batch and a meet to run were not met by most (with the exception of this LSC).
The participants in these meetings generally had little or no experience with these programs. However, the experience that this LSC brought to these sessions allowed us to be supportive of the training session leader.
We did however experience some issues including a lack of downward information regarding bugs and program idiosyncrasies that in some cases cost this LSC, including two uninvolved Board members hours of unnecessary work. This situation has been pointed out to staff and committee members at USA Swimming and there are hopes to increase flow of this type of information.
Coaches Safety Curriculum A detailed handout of the requirements of the three safety certifications was passed out in several meetings. USA takes the position that is the coaches responsibility to maintain and renew their certifications and that the LSC registrar is not a policeman. For a complete list of the accepted courses for CPR, First Aid, and STSC please contact the office. In addition to the published list, a 1-year CPR and FA certification is now approved from National Pool and Water Park Lifeguard Training. Red Cross will continue to offer the STSC certification course despite rampant rumors of their termination of this service.
Technical Planning Committee: This committee was dissolved at the HOD meeting this year. It's previous functions were to eliminate redundancies of committees by providing committee chairs and members a forum to discuss their various plans and programs. This will now be done at the committee chair's forum held in the spring.
Age Group Planning: An opportunity to sit in for a few minutes in one of the AG Planning meetings presented a unique situation. This particular meeting dealt with athlete retention across age groups and a variety of sports. USA Swimming's national retention numbers in the 13-14 y/o athlete are that of about all other sports (approximately a 30% loss). Discussion continued with full agreement that this knowledge is valuable to the club as well as the LSC in the development of the sport. Many in attendance were aware that some of this information was available from USA Swimming on a national level and some even had an inkling that is could be produced on an LSC level. In general, the attendees were unaware that information could be produced on a club level at any given point in the season. This LSC was able to provide direct insight to the attendees as to how much or how little the LSC Win Database Registration program can provide. I further explained that unfortunately this year that information and set of statistics was somewhat compromised by the Club Import program however in subsequent years it would be far more accurate. The report generally produced in December and provided to each club, generates a list of the athletes that did not return to that program or any other USA Swimming club in that LSC. Properly used these reports can assist clubs in reviewing their programs and making necessary adjustments for the next season. The Club Development Liaison both on a LSC level and from USA Swimming is available to guide the club toward literature, research, and programs that will assist them in their development.
Club Development and Club Membership: The proposed Club Membership legislation for the year 2000 legislative packet was pulled. The committee expects to propose legislation in 2002 or 2003 with input form attendees at the convention workshop. The meeting broke into zones and the sentiment of our Zone (eastern) was predominately that this was too much involvement from USA Swimming in the startup and operation of clubs. Views ranged from let just about anybody that meets the minimum criteria start a club to the LSC becoming directly involved in a club's operations or issues in order to prevent a coach leaving and starting a new club. The overall sentiment was free enterprise and entrepreneurial endeavors should be encouraged and that sometimes you have to fail (more than once) to succeed. The question was raised "Who is the LSC or USA Swimming to say which club will or will not be successful based solely on their financial statement or ability to pay a large startup fee?".
Sue Anderson (Club Membership Committee) presented throughout the week the new Club Development Tool Kit. These rather substantial boxes contain various pieces of literature, forms, and tapes for use by the clubs. A one-page checklist of the actions a club needs to take to become a club or what to do if they are new club is in progress with input from the membership in attendance. The "Tool Kit" is available to every member club upon completion of the Club Development application, which are available from both USA Swimming and the PVS Administrative Office. PVS was one of the lucky LSC's to have the privilege to bring a tool kit home from convention, and we expect to have several more available to expedite the delivery process to the clubs.
The "Swimposium" program was explained and conversations have begun to conduct one locally in the Metropolitan DC area as well as an administration/registration program at the spring zone meeting in May to be held in Maine. These Swimposiums are a good forum for exchange of information both from USA to the club and visa versa. USA and the Club Development committee acknowledge they cannot produce programs that are beneficial to their membership if they don't know what the membership needs.
The LSC's Club Development Liaisons were identified and round table discussions continued as to what each LSC thought that position's responsibilities were. USA indicated that throughout the country when an LSC had a permanent office it was the office staff that functioned and in fact were designated the Club Development Liaison.
Water Works: The newly named Warterworks Committee is formerly the Communications Committee but with a decidedly different take on things. Communications had predominately dealt with communication to the public, club membership, and with in USA. Committee members readily acknowledged the issues concerning the USA Web Page. They repeatedly assured the membership they are working diligently to correct the problems. Unfortunately, when told a patch would be posted to the download page it never showed up and as of this writing is still not there. Obviously, they are a long way from where they need to be
The noticeable increase of talent being used in multi media advertising is a direct result of this committee's efforts to enhance Swimming's visibility. The additional sponsors and the amount of ad hits was part of a long-range plan pointing toward the Olympic year. New sponsors are under negotiation at this time and will further enhance USA Swimming talent exposure in the future.
The Waterworks Committee works on a think tank principle with no idea being a bad idea. All ideas submitted in response to an inquiry are saved and cataloged for future reference. The committee communicates almost exclusively via email, developing ideas and concepts both independently and as a group. Irene Millman is now on the Waterworks committee.
Electronic Registration As of 2 am 10/20/00 the Administrative Office has processed 3965 Athletes from 20 clubs (sites not counted) in over 100 batches. This process includes uploading the emailed batch, verifying each athlete, running various reports, printing cards, and producing an invoice to be mailed with the cards. Although we are far ahead of registration last year and this process has cut the workload and increased accuracy tremendously, it is still a lot of work.
A notice to club registrars will go out the first week of November reminding clubs the registration deadline for returning athletes is November 30th.
In general the quality of the batches that have been received to date has been very good, only a few problems have occurred, and we have been able to address those with relative ease. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the club and site registrars that have submitted batches and have worked so diligently with us to complete this process. Performances above and beyond the call of duty are to numerous to mention. Although many hours on the phone in some cases walking registrars through the program were needed to get us to this point we firmly believe based on October Open Meet Recon (to be discussed later) this is a positive move for the clubs and the LSC.
To date 15 clubs have re registered for 2001 and 14 clubs have submitted their Club Information packages. We have received approximately 90 Non-athlete applications, with an even mix of coaches and officials.
Non-Athletes will be processed weekly through late fall and then twice monthly. To reduce the incidence of loss or postal mishandling Non-athlete cards will be mailed to affiliated clubs for distribution. Please look for the PVS envelope with a bright pink sticker indicting 2001 membership card enclosed. Unattached Non-athletes will be mailed directly to them with the same pink sticker.
A reminder to coaches and clubs copies of all three certifications must be stapled to the coach application each year. Please note the expiration dates of the certifications in the box on the front of the Non-athlete application. Coaches are responsible for submitting copies of new certifications as old ones expire.
Aquatics Guide Estimated cost per unit is within budget and the guide will be spiral or comb bound with a two-color cover. The table of contents will be available separately before or at the BoD meeting along with the proposed pre order form. The guide is expected to be 4.25" X 11" and with the proposed binding will lay flat when open.
Estimated delivery date is Late December or early January with the understanding that clubs failing to provide timely information will not be updated. An editorial deadline will be set by the administrative division and published to those clubs having not yet submitted their club information packages. Input from various divisions and excerpts from reproducible USA publications will be included. Committee, program, and division chairs will be contacted in early November for submissions. Each division chair should take time review the current (1998) Aquatics Guide to determine if the previously published information is accurate and report any changes to Irene ASAP.
Meet Recon Meet Recon was run on Harvest Moon, Fall Double Tri and all three sites of the October Open, with little or no incidence. Those clubs with exceptions handled them quickly and all issues were resolved before the first splash.
Exact numbers for the October and November meets will be provided at the November BoD meeting along with any issues arising from running post meet Meet Recon.
The Administrative Office is pleased with the progress this LSC has made and firmly believes the low number of exceptions on these meets is directly related to Club Import and the clubs better understanding of the importance of not entering unregistered athletes. Their diligence is greatly appreciated.
The Administrative Vice Chair would like to remind the membership if there are administrative operations issues to please address their comments to him directly.