Original APP Executive Summary With the Contractual Commitments

We’ve had lots of questions about what exactly is in the Athlete Partnership Plan, so we tracked it down and posted it here. This is the original plan never submitted for USOC approval that included the much debated contractual commitments (which it turns out might not have been as bad as we thought).

Some interesting notes from the plan. I was surprised that half of the National Team members had deals from suit companies and make over $10,000 a year. While that’s obviously not massive dollars, it shows that there is a glimmer of hope on the financial side of things for swimmers.

Also of note was that the third biggest piece of support the swimmers wanted within USA-Swimming was in job placement. This tells us that the swimmers don’t mind working, they just need help finding jobs that can work around their training and performance schedules. They’re also heavily interested in internship opportunities, which could be a great chance for them to integrate themselves within the USA-Swimming organization.

This plan doesn’t come down entirely to the stipend, either, though that has been the most publicized perk.

They were also planning on putting up an additional $290,000 in prize money into each swimming season, and assisting the swimmers in getting speaking opportunities. These are ways for swimmers to earn more money directly in proportion to their performances and commitments to the USA National Team. In addition to the increased $50,000 stipend, this puts the swimmers on par (and in most cases well above) the general population’s pay scale for their ages.

I think that the final plan will look more like this one than the one submitted to the USOC. Tyler Clary yesterday indicated that the biggest gap, it turns out, is only nailing down the specific language as to what sort of contractual agreements are required of them, as this current plan is obviously a little vague.

Read through the plan, and let us know what you think about it. The full plan is 45+ pages, so we didn’t post it here, but this is the executive summary.

USA Swimming Athlete Partnership Plan

Executive Summary

In September 2009, a Professional Swimming Task Force was set up by USA Swimming President Jim Wood.

Members of the Task Force are: Trent Staley (Co-Chair), Michael Lawrence (Co-Chair), Tim Bauer, George Block, Bob Bowman, Bryan Jones,  John Leonard, Tim Liebhold,  Diana Munz, Tyler Storie,  Bruce Stratton.  Staff Liaisons: Matt Farrell; Lindsay Mintenko; Mark Schubert; Susan Woessner

The task force was given the charter to evaluate the state of professional swimming and form recommendations on how to best address the changing needs of the athlete whose goal is to win international medals. This executive summary of the task force recommendations is a follow-up to the Jan. 21 “Concept Overview.”

To achieve the ultimate goal of winning Olympic gold medals and increasing American international success, the USA Swimming Professional Athlete Task Force’s recommendations are:

Increase funding opportunities

Deliver valuable services

Create new revenue opportunities

Where We Are Today

Below is a recommendation from the Professional Swimming Task Force on how to address the changing landscape of professional swimming. It is important to take stock of where we are today, as the world of professionals in swimming changed fast:

92% of the USA Swimming medals in Beijing came from post-grad athletes vs. just 42% in Sydney

62% of swimmers* do not have a job

54% of swimmers* do not have a swimsuit contract

54% of swimmers* do not have agents

50% of swimmers* earn less than $10,000 annually from corporate sponsors

42% of swimmers* list monthly stipend of $1750 ($21,000/yr) as main source of income

35% of swimmers* list family as their main source of income

* = National Team members aged 19+.

What the Athletes Told Us

In a recent online survey of National Team members we asked the athletes about their needs and thoughts on what can help them. Of the 26 total respondents, below are statistics that athletes rank as 7 or higher (1-10 where 10 = most important) scale of importance:

93% – opportunities to meet potential sponsors (44% rank as a 10)

82% – sponsorship acquisition (38% rank as a 10)

69% – job search help

64% – internship opportunities

62% – personal public relations and image enhancement

59% – media training and public speaking training

57% – career planning

Plus … 69% say they want to participate in philanthropic programs!

The Approach

With the ultimate goal of winning Olympic and international gold medals, USA Swimming is proposing an overhaul of athlete services and financial support aligned with the objective above.  The profile of the elite-level athlete has markedly changed in the last decade and USA Swimming needs to change with it. The Athlete Partnership Plan outlines over a dozen upgrades and additions to increase support for the National Team athlete.


The proposal that follows will be discussed at the May 1 meeting of the USA Swimming Board of Directors. From that meeting, the Task Force will take feedback into consideration for a full plan and proposal for the August Executive Committee meeting and September Board of Directors.

Implementation will occur in three phases and start in September 2010 based on budget and final Board approval.

Phase 1: Proposed September 2010

Phase 2: Proposed January 2011

Phase 3:  Proposed 2013


The Task Force asks that the Board of Directors support this proposal through August 2016 and recommends that the Athlete Partnership Plan be evaluated according to the following schedule:

Annual Reviews presented at the January Board of Directors meeting

In-depth Evaluation in Fall 2012

In-depth Evaluation in Fall 2014

In-depth Evaluation in Fall 2016

Objective #1: Increase Funding Opportunities

Below is a brief summary of today’s approach and proposed changes:

Objective: Increase Funding Opportunities
Today Proposed Plan
$21,000/athlete/year in monthly support $50,000/athlete/year in monthly support*

Increase of 138%

40 athletes receive monthly support Up to 56 athletes will receive monthly support*

Increase of 40%

$312 average travel reimbursement per national event per athlete $414 average reimbursement per national event per athlete

Increase of approx. 25% per reimbursement

$94,100 athlete investment plan grant funds available $100,000 in athlete investment plan grant funds available
$20,000 in prize money for Grand Prix Series $75,000 in prize money for Grand Prix Series

Increase of 275%

$0 in prize money for Nationals (Long Course, Short Course, and Open Water) $150,000 for Nationals (LC)

$75,000 Nationals (SC)

$10,000 for Open Water

* Benefits for athletes participating in Athlete Partnership Agreement (APA). Existing National Team benefits will continue to be delivered to National Team athletes who do not participate in the APA.

Objective #2: Deliver Valuable Services

Below is a brief summary of today’s approach and proposed changes:

Objective: Deliver Valuable Services
Today Proposed Plan
The National Team Division delivers approximately 25 programs and services to athletes (see Appendix). Professional Swimming Orientation Camp – A camp in the Fall to kick off the Athlete Partnership Plan and introduce the services listed below.*
Speaker’s Network – partner with the USOC to promote speaking opportunities for athletes.
Financial Consulting Services – individual financial counseling and referrals.
Legal Fund – help athletes with contracts related to sponsorships and marketing related to their swimming career.*
Image Management – training on public speaking, media and management of image.*
Sponsor Networking Opportunities – social functions at events to allow interaction with potential sponsors.
National Team Athlete Web Portal – online resource for NT communication, grant and funding opportunities, alumni networking, etc.

* Benefits for athletes participating in Athlete Partnership Agreement (APA). Existing National Team benefits will continue to be delivered to National Team athletes who do not participate in the APA.

Objective #3: Create New Revenue Opportunities

Below is a brief summary of today’s approach and proposed changes:

Objective: Create New Revenue Opportunities
Today Proposed Plan
Equipment and Apparel Advertising – No advertising on swim suits except trademark and name of suit company; no guidelines in place for caps or warm-ups Propose rulebook changes to allow the following:

2 sponsor logo locations on suits (20 sq cm each)

2 sponsor logo locations on caps (20 sq cm each)

2 sponsor logo locations on goggles (6 sq cm each)

2 sponsor logo locations on warm-ups

Body art or temporary tattoos that are advertisements or logos will not be permitted

Currently, athlete integration into corporate opportunities is done on “ad hoc” basis Through this plan, the Business Development Division of USA Swimming will create the following opportunities* for athletes:

A more concerted effort to incorporate athletes into sponsor deals.

A greater focus on companies that can provide benefits to athletes (eg. career planning, online universities, food, etc.).

Incentive bonus for athletes if they bring a successful corporate partnership to USA Swimming (note: this benefit open to all NT athletes).

A concerted effort to create sponsor “perks” for athletes (ex. hotel discounts, cell phone service discounts, etc.).

Merchandise opportunities TBD

* Benefits for athletes participating in Athlete Partnership Agreement (APA). Existing National Team benefits will continue to be delivered to National Team athletes who do not participate in the APA.

Athlete Partnership Agreement

Today, USA Swimming creates many valuable programs and services that support the training of athletes (Appendix) and will continue to do so. To date, these program benefits have been delivered to the athlete with little-or-no expectations in return outside the pool. With the enhanced program support on the objectives above, USA Swimming will also be seeking partnership with the athlete in the following ways:

Performance … Each participating athlete will be required to create and submit a “Seasonal Plan” in collaboration with his/her personal coach. The Seasonal Plan will include performance and training goals to set expectations for the season. The athlete will submit quarterly progress reports including an updated planning calendar.

Competition … Each participating athlete will compete in the following events on an annual basis:

Pool Athletes

ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships

AT&T Short Course National Championships

Minimum of three Grand Prix Series meets

Open Water Athletes

Open Water 10K National Championships

Minimum of three FINA 10K Open Water World Cup Competitions

Administrative … Each participating athlete will:

Maintain current USA Swimming membership

Comply with FINA, IOC, WADA, USADA Doping Control Program requirements, deadlines, and whereabouts updates

Comply with deadlines from NT staff on forms, information requests, etc.

Attend Professional Swimming Orientation Camp in first year eligible

Marketing … Each participating athlete will partner with USA Swimming to promote the sport in the following ways:

Grant USA Swimming name and image to promote USA Swimming programs and events (ex. Make a Splash, Splash Bash, IMX, coaches’ training videos, educational materials, etc.) and the sport of swimming

Up to two (2) appearances per year on behalf of USA Swimming or the USA Swimming Foundation (ex. autograph signings at events, donor “meet and greets,” sponsor meetings, fundraisers, etc.)

Autograph 25 items for USA Swimming for thank you gifts, charity auctions, etc.

Incorporate messages about growing the sport in media appearances

Promote USA Swimming on the same level as athlete’s corporate partners

Be available to speak to the media at National and International competitions

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This is the executive summary. The actual full plan is 45+ pages.


My name is Brant Feldman and I represent a high profile member of the US Water Polo Team. Could you possibly, reach out to me. I am dealing with their contract right now and would love to understand more of the 45 page document is mentioned. Do you have that.

Thanks for your time in advance,

brant feldman
managing partner
american group management

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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