Michael Murray: “Each LSC Has A Responsibility” To Ensure Future Of Its Clubs

Victor Swim Club program director and co-head coach Michael Murray believes it’s time for USA Swimming and its Local Swim Committees to step forward and begin to help out clubs in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday we reported how Rhi Jeffrey, the coach of Atlantis Aquatics, was looking for the national governing body to provide financial support for small clubs like hers during this time of need.

Murray, who returned to Victor last August after spending two years at Islanders Aquatics, finds his club in a “solid financial situation” at the moment, but still believes there needs to be external help.

“The most viable opportunity for USA Swimming to financially provide assistance to the clubs, in my opinion, would be for each LSC (Local Swimming Committee) to develop their own stimulus packages for local clubs,” Murray told SwimSwam in an email. “I believe that each LSC has a responsibility to help ensure the future of the teams in its association.”

Victor Swim Club is a member of the Niagara LSC, who have approximately 65-75 clubs and around 4,500 swimmers. Per Niagara’s most recent Board of Director’s meeting in late January, it has $792.3K in available funds.

“Most, not all, but most LSC’s have a surplus of money that could really inject a financial future for the smaller teams within the LSC,” Murray said. “If USA Swimming encouraged each LSC to provide a ‘Developmental-Financial Stimulus Plan,’ for the economic viability of their clubs, I think it would go a long way in terms of assistance, fostering better/stronger relationships between the teams and working together to further our sport.”

Murray still commends the organization for what they’ve done since the crisis hit.

“I think that USA Swimming has been doing everything it possibly can from a programmatic standpoint to assist clubs during this time; I have seen their entire sports development staff become extremely engaged in terms of helping coaches with content, land training, mental health, etc.”

For his club specifically, Murray and his staff continue to work on plans for whatever comes.

“Victor has an extremely loyal parent and athlete base; at this point in time during the COVID-19 crisis the administrative team and I are planning out several contingency plans and different modalities as viable options moving forward,” he said.

“Our club immediately lost $10,000 to potentially $15,000 in revenue because we have been unable to run our annual spring lesson program. This severely impacted where we expected our position in the fiscal evolution of the year and we’re continually strategizing how to appropriately manage these unexpected losses.”

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Michael made some great points in this article. Small AND large clubs will be hit hard by all of this. Most clubs will have to furlough their staff. Unfortunately we should not expect much help from our sport governing bodies. USA Swimming and LSCs like North Carolina Swimming think ZOOM conferences and reminders not to violate insurance by doing remote dryland are all clubs need. That will likely be the most we get.

Steve Schaffer

Actually not only should you expect more from your LSC, you should demand it if necessary. Florida Gold Coast LSC leadership has set an example for all other LSCs to follow. Do the research, get other clubs involved, and take it to your LSC board. If that does not initially succeed ask for help. These organizations CAN do the right thing.

Irish Ringer

I agree if there’s a surplus available then they should free up as much as they can. If you look at the Niagara LCS example with a $792,300 surplus, if you liquidate that and distribute it out to 65 clubs that’s around $12,200 per club. Question is, would that be enough and what are the repercussions of running the surplus dry?

Mike Switalski

And what happens when the LSC runs into financial difficulties because you just liquidated all your assets and handed it out to the clubs? Boards of LSC’s like clubs have a fiduciary responsibility to sustain viability of its organization above all else. If clubs do not have the financial ability to weather this storm, they should examine their business model and plan for the next crisis accordingly. The first people that should come to a club’s rescue is its board by making sure they have a strong financial reserve just like the LSC’s do for their operation. Otherwise you are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Dylan's mom

Coach Mike Murray has been a charismatic leader since day 1 of the quarantine in keeping Victor Swim Clubs swimmers, parents, and coaches motivated, positive and ACTIVE!! His daily emails and FB presence are a testament to his leadership and organizational skills. Mike’s consistent message of positivity and hope has resonated with every member and honestly, the best part of my day right now.
Thank you Coach Mike and staff – you’re setting the benchmark high!

Tim Bauer

i agree with Mike but i think there should be process that the LSC goes thru to extend aide. A club must be able to show why they need aide and what the aide is going for to help the club.

Mike Murray

Agreed, Coach Tim! Each club should also be responsible for disclosing specific needs.

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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