Beyond the Lane Lines: Plastic Podiums, Swim Club Embezzlement

Get your news fix on happenings outside the pool with the latest ‘Beyond the Lane Lines.’  With each edition, we collect personal stories, little known facts and general items of interest from athletes around the world in their non-aquatic habitats, helping us get to know them for more than just an event ranking or time on a board. Read on and learn something new this week.

#1 – Jan Cameron Posthumously Honored

Late Australian Coach and Olympian Jan Cameron has been posthumously awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) earlier this month for her service to swimming. Cameron carried more than 40 years of coaching, the former New Zealand National Coach and High Performance Manager passed away suddenly on April 30th at the age of 70.

Swimming Australia President John Bertrand AO said Cameron thoroughly deserved this esteemed honor. “Jan made an enormous contribution to the swimming community as an athlete, coach, mentor and administrator, and we’re thrilled she has received a Member of the Order of Australia – it’s truly deserved,” Bertrand said.

“Throughout her illustrious career, Jan instilled wisdom upon others, exuded passion for our sport and inspired everyone she met, especially our para athletes who she worked so closely with as our Para Sport National Mentor Coach. I have no doubt her legacy will live on as they build towards Tokyo 2020.

“Her friends and family, including her son Scott and husband Kevin, should be very proud – she truly was a treasure of our swimming community and has been missed since her sudden passing last year.”

#2 – Tokyo 2020 Podiums to be Made from Recycled Plastic

For the first time in Olympic and Paralympic history, all of the medal podiums to be used at the 2020 Summer Games will be composed entirely of recycled materials.

As part of the Tokyo 2020 Podium Project, which officially kicked off on June 13th in host-country Japan, consumer packaged goods powerhouse Procter & Gamble announced that members of the community can donate used plastic items to be recycled into the podiums. Shampoo bottles, dish detergent botels, etc, can be brought to AEON Group Stores in Japan where they will be added to P&G’s plastic waste recovered from the oceans to create the podiums.

“Sustainability is at the heart of this effort and P&G is proud to work with Tokyo 2020 and the IOC to demonstrate how consumers can participate in reducing plastic waste,” said Marc Pritchard, P&G Chief Brand Officer. “The Tokyo 2020 Podium Project is an example of how the Olympic Games can be a catalyst to inspire actions that have a positive impact on the environment and society.”

The overall goal is to collect 1.5 million pieces of plastic packaging consisting of polyethylene and polypropylene plastic from consumers to produce recycled plastic resin.

#3 – Northampton Natatorium Named for Late Coach

Located in Pennsylvania, Northampton Middle School’s natatorium has been officially renamed the ‘Gwen L. Whildin Natatorium’ in memory of a beloved local coach. Whildin, who died in January of this year at age 66, retired in 2012 after having served 32 years as a health and physical education teacher at Northampton High but continued coaching through 2016.

She was the Head Swim Coach at Northampton for 23 years and guided the boys swim team to a PIAA State Championship in 1993. She also coached 8 Mountain Valley Conference Championships teams, compiling an overall record of 379-228-5 in both the boys and girls programs.

As a testament to her character, a 2001 graduate of Northhampton High School and one of Whildin’s former athletes, Scott Miller, created an online petition that gathered more than 3,090 signatures in support of the district naming the natatorium after Whildin.

#4 – Update on Waugh Chapel Swim Club Embezzlement

We reported in a February 2019 edition of Beyond the Lane Lines that the Odenton, Maryland-based Waugh Chapel Swim Club’s ‘dive team representative’ for the past 9 seasons, Kimberly Rae Champagne, was indicted on 2 theft charges involving alleged schemes amounting to more than a $10,000 haul from the club. Champagne denies the charges.

Per The Capital Gazette, police confirmed last year they were investigating the club after an internal report found $66,000 in missing cash and false charges.’ The club’s former treasurer, Ron Shapard, was fired in December and Champagne resigned around the same time. Also, no tax returns had been filed in several years, according to the report.

A copy of the audit released to swim club members details questionable purchases by Champagne and Shapard dating back to 2011 — including movie rentals and thousands of dollars in transactions for groceries and other personal items. Some of the Amazon orders were sent to Champagne’s home address, officials said.

In an update, Champagne has since now pleaded guilty to one count of theft this week. A sentencing hearing is now scheduled for September 3rd.

#5 – American Academy of Pediatrics Updates Swim Lesson Recommendations

Published earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Guidelines on Water Safety have been updated to include a new age recommendation for swim lessons. The revision is aimed at refocusing the attention of parents and physicians on one of the leading causes of death among children.

“Research has found that swim lessons are beneficial for children starting around age 1, and may lower drowning rates”, said Linda Quan, MD, FAAP, a co-author of the policy statement.

“Drowning is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4,” said Sarah Denny, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement. Drowning remains the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 5-19 years.

“Many of these deaths occur when children are not expected to be swimming or when they have unanticipated access to water. Toddlers are naturally curious; that’s why we must implement other strategies, such as pool fencing and door locks.”

The AAP has also published new information for families on its website for parents, HealthyChildren.org, including water safety advice based on children’s developmental stages, and recommendations on choosing a good learn-to-swim program.

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