A proposal has been put forth to create a new Local Swimming Committee (LSC) in southern California. LSCs are the local administrative organizations of USA Swimming’s governance structure. A vote will be held on January 15th, 2020 to decide the future of the organization, and the request has been made to split in September of 2020.
- Read the proposal (in favor of Orange County separation)
- Read the SCS policy statement (opposed to Orange County separation)
According to documents published by the current Southern California Swimming LSC, a group of coaches in the wealthy Orange County area are pushing to make themselves a new LSC. There are currently 59 LSCs. Some of those are divided along state boundaries, and some are divided among smaller boundaries.
Southern California Swimming is easily the largest of the USA Swimming LSCs. In 2018, the latest data available, SCS had 22,680 year-round members. The next largest is the Illinois LSC with 22,271 year-round members.
The split would take 34 clubs, about 22% of clubs, and about 7,100 athletes, 29% of SCS registered athletes, to the new LSC. That would leave the Southern California LSC with around 15,000 year-round athlete members.
A policy statement signed by Terry Stoddard, the general chair of Southern California Swimming, opposed the split, and encouraged its membership to vote no to the proposal to form the Orange County Swimming LSC. Stoddard’s position is that the LSC’s strength is its membership, and that the region remains stronger, more influential, and better equipped as one entity.
Those in favor of the proposal say that the LSC boundaries were drawn in the 1970s, when USA Swimming was split for AAU, and was based on boundaries drawn for other sports. Since then, Orange County has grown and changed drastically.
The supporters also say that they believe an LSC of around 7,000 athletes, which the Orange County LSC would be, can survive, as its the same size as comparable LSCs in North Texas and the Southeastern United States.
Other ‘pros’ put forth by the supporters:
- Reduced sites for age group championships
- More opportunities for All Star competition for athletes in the area
- A more compact geographic unit for Orange County teams, reducing travel time and expenses
The “Orange County Swimming Organizing Committee,” as the proposal is signed, says that they would continue to invite SCS teams to all major senior invitationals like the Grand Challenge and Swim Meet of Champions, and that they would like more flexibility in exploring new meet formats like dual meets, tri meets, invites, and league-based competition.
While names have not been publicly attached to the proposal to split, sources tell SwimSwam that the move is being pushed by Mission Viejo head coach Mark Schubert and USC head coach Dave Salo, who is the general manager of the Irvine Novaquatics club team. Salo, ironically, has influence over the vote of a club on either side of the border: besides being the “Head Coach Emeritus Executive Consultant” of Irvine Novaquatics, he’s also the head coach of the Trojan Swim Club, which is not in Orange County.
In 2018, there were several proposals put forth to the USA Swimming House of Delegates relating to how LSC maps could be drawn or redrawn. Among the proposals that year was changing the requirement to redraw an LSC boundary from a 2/3 majority to a simple majority. That proposal was passed.
Orange County has a population of just over 3 million, and a median household income of more than $85,000, about $10,000 more than the state average. That makes it the 2nd-wealthiest county in the Southern California Swimming LSC based on median household income, behind only the smaller Ventura County.
At present, Southern California Swimming offers among the most generous reimbursement packages for its athletes who travel to compete at national meets, including a $2,500 reimbursement for athletes who compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials.