Meet Marshals Won’t Be Required To Be Non-Athlete Members of USA Swimming

A recent expansion of USA Swimming bylaws requires several new categories of those involved with the organization to become non-athlete members, but meet marshals will no longer be a part of that list.

In order to comply with U.S. Center for SafeSport requirements, the USA Swimming Board of Directors recently approved expanding Corporate Bylaw 2.6.6, which set forth those who must be non-athlete members of the organization.

Meet marshals were initially among the categories of individuals required, but USA Swimming says that, after receiving feedback from members, it requested a specific review from the Center regarding the role of a meet marshal and whether it “meets the threshold of a volunteer who interacts directly and frequently with athletes or has authority over athletes as a regular part of their duties.”

Upon review, the U.S. Center for SafeSport confirmed to USA Swimming that the role of a meet marshal does not “rise to the level of contact with or authority over athletes significant enough to require non-athlete membership of these volunteers.”

USA Swimming’s Operational Risk Committee has since worked to standardize the role of a meet marshal and developed Meet Marshal Standards, along with putting in place a standard meet marshal training program that will be released in 2022.

The following categories will still be required to become non-athlete members of USA Swimming as of January 1, 2022:

  • Adult employees of USA Swimming, Local Swimming Committees (LSCs) and member clubs;
  • Adults serving on the board of directors of USA Swimming, LSCs and member clubs;
  • Individuals in a position of oversight over the operations of a member club;
  • Adults with an ownership interest in a member club;
  • Referees, starters, administrative officials, chief judges, as well as stroke and turn judges; and
  • Other volunteers who interact directly and frequently with or have authority over athletes (as defined in the SafeSport Code for the Olympic and Paralympic Movement) as a regular part of their duties.

In addition to registering as a non-athlete member of USA Swimming, these individuals must complete Athlete Protection Training (APT) and a USA Swimming background screen.

For more information, click here.

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1 year ago

You have to pay USAS $63 a year just to be a meet marshall. What a joke. When are you going to start paying officials?

1 year ago

It’s always struck me as odd that USA Swimming shakes down the VOLUNTEERS that are necessary for running meets for $$$ so that it can pay large salaries to its executives (who really do nothing for most kids competing in the sport).

Reply to  JustMyThoughts
1 year ago

It is worth noting that if you decompose the budget, there are direct and indirect expenses related to volunteer administration that have monetary costs, although perhaps not enough to justify the size of the non-athlete membership fee (e.g. web application maintenance, tests, rulebook development and free rulebook, training, insurance, registrar overhead, etc.). Some LSC’s and clubs cover some non-athlete membership fees in some non-athlete categories, but not all do, and USA Swimming could absorb more of that fee instead of apportioning it on the volunteers, although it would probably contemplate retaxing the clubs to offset the revenue loss if it did that, rather than directly apportioning costs.

1 year ago

Not a bad idea. We of course want to keep athletes safe first and foremost, but as someone who has run more than a fair share of meets, this position with the rules as they were, was often hard to fill. For the most part, meet marshals are just parents of kids who want to help out at their kiddos swim meet and make the meet run well and safely. Sometimes it’s larger job if it’s a big swim meet and requires quite a few people to offer to help.
We started to run into trouble with parents not volunteering because all of a sudden they have to take some courses, register for something they might not quite understand… Read more »

Reply to  justanopinion
1 year ago

Except that USA Swimming will require a formal training to do the position with a submitted certificate to the LSC registrar per the linked standards document. Ideally it would be something on paper that could be done on the spot, but it sounds like something that will be done on a website and then have to be emailed.

Part of the problem is that the meet marshall originally existed as safety mitigation for insurance purposes, and now has athlete protection related responsibilities tacked on. I’m also somewhat wary given that parts of the job are invariably out of sight (locker room checks) that USA Swimming should be footing the bill for background checks (assuming that background checks actually work). It… Read more »

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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