The Vermont-based Green Mountain Aquatics (GMA) club is on the brink of collapse due to financial mismanagement.
Longtime administrator Laura Matuszak resigned Aug. 30 after Saint Michael’s College terminated GMA’s contract for failure to pay pool rental fees. The former American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) New England age group coach of the year (2006) apologized to the community, claiming “it was not clear to me that these payment delays would result in a termination of our team contract.”
One source told SwimSwam that “there were many factors that led to an impasse with Saint Michael’s and the college not renewing GMA’s contract in addition to financial delinquency, including athletes and parents misusing facilities under the direction and guidance of the on-deck coaching staff, which Matuszak is not part of.”
Matuszak also worked as an assistant coach for Division II Saint Michael’s, where she was expected to return for her 24th season before her bio was recently removed from the team website this fall. Saint Michael’s head coach Eileen Hall declined to say exactly when or why Matuszak left her post. According to Matuszak’s bio, she founded Green Mountain Sports Performance, LLC, which runs the GMA swim team, swim school, and sports psychology consulting.
A GoFundMe was created by GMA parents last week in an attempt to rebuild a new swim team for kids in Northern and Central Vermont. The fundraiser reached its goal of $8,500 to cover unpaid pool rental fees from last season, but it said that Saint Michael’s “is now backpedaling and wants to ‘hit the pause button’ on a new contract as they feel this experience has been disruptive to the start of their school year. They aren’t sure when they will authorize a new contract and are not making promises. Their administrator indicated that it might not be until May of 2024.”
“It was devastating and shocking for the athletes and their families,” reads the GoFundMe description. “High school students were working hard to use swimming as a way to get into college. Older competitors were gearing up to be captains. And dozens of kids—through no fault of their own—were all of sudden told that they no longer had a team, or a pool, to call home.
“This swim team means so much more than just the competitions,” the parent-led fundraiser added. “Swimmers perform community service; they offer swim lessons to young kids; staff pools and beaches around our area as lifeguards, and develop teamwork and leadership skills. There isn’t any other option for children in Northern and Central Vermont that can’t afford to travel for competition; our swimmers need a club at Saint Mike’s!”
Matuszak’s resignation letter is available in full below:
Dear GMA swimmers, parents and coaches,
It is with great sadness and deep regret that I am writing to inform you that GMA will no longer have access to Saint Michael’s College Pool for our programs. Due to my failure to generate enough team revenue to cover our yearly expenses, GMA has consistently fallen past due on our pool rental fees. It was not clear to me that these payment delays would result in a termination of our team contract. I am sorry that I did not perceive a need to ask for additional financial support to secure the team’s future at Saint Michael’s College. I am devastated to see the years of hard work, dedication and commitment that our GMA athletes, coaches and families invested in the pool at Saint Michael’s College come to an end. Words cannot express the sorrow and regret for my failures and their impact on you and the community we care about.
It is clear that it is best for the health of GMA for me to resign my position as the GMA Team Administrator. I know that our Board of Directors, our GMA Booster Club and our GMA coaches have the skills to build a new GMA to meet your need for competitive swimming in Vermont.
I am forever indebted to the GMA Coaches who work tirelessly for our GMA swimmers and families. Every year, our coaches go above and beyond to provide the very best program for our athletes. They do so with great expertise and skill and they do so with limited resources. I am forever humbled by our incredible families who share our values of commitment and sportsmanship. You have taught me the most important lessons in life of love, compassion and care. I will do all I can in return to help with a smooth transition for our swimmers, families and coaches.
With deep regret and sincerest apologies,