This past week, the annual gathering of USA Swimming’s voting class took place in Jacksonville, Florida. A select few representatives made the decision for the rest of us on an even narrower list of USA Swimming decision makers.
The board movement has long been held out by insiders as the most important piece of change to satisfy critics of USA Swimming. When I agitated for some change and transparency within USA Swimming’s ranks this past spring, I was eventually told privately by multiple board members to wait for this moment.
So here we are. I’m reserving judgment on what the new format will mean. The statements from both prospective athlete members and board members don’t speak to the issues that I have advocated for in this space.
I’m willing to grant that perhaps these people don’t feel a need to speak directly to those issues. After all, none of the people voting have taken any kind of publicly critical stance of USA Swimming’s “Safe Sport” program.
However, one of my local NJ representatives has promised to fill me in on what happened and give me some insight on how some of the discussion pushed here has played out in Jacksonville. I’m very grateful for that and looking forward to it.
In the meantime, I don’t suppose I’ll get any answers, but not trying at all will definitely ensure that So here’s an attempt at some vital questions that I believe new USA Swimming Board members must answer:
What specific areas do you see for improvement in USA Swimming’s “Safe Sport” program?
Do you believe that National Board of Reviews, the method for adjudicating Safe Sport complaints, where accusers are not allowed to be represented by counsel and instead USA Swimming represents itself, represent a fair way to treat serious allegations of abuse within swimming?
When presented with the following scenario, what would you do? A complaint is lodged against USA Swimming that exposes potential liability for the organization for its failure to ensure the safety of one or more of its participants. Do you see your role as to protect the organization, or do your prioritize the safety and well-being of those that take part?
Is the board satisfied that Jim Wood has been adequately transparent about his time as USA Swimming President, especially surrounding the post-graduate training center in Fullerton?
Does the board agree with Tim Hinchey’s statements of “Zero Tolerance”, what does it mean to them? Specifically, why is Bob Bowman on the 2020 steering committee?
Congratulations to those new members! I sincerely hope that the new USA Swimming board is half the governance magic pill it has been made out to be.
I want to extend an open invitation to anyone from the new board to come on the podcast and discuss the above (as well as anything else from Jacksonville.