USA Swimming Announces Formation Of Two New Diversity Committees

by Ben Dornan 13

September 15th, 2020 News

USA Swimming has announced the formation of two new committees focused on providing strategic guidance to USA Swimming staff and other sport leaders with regard to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The first group, the Black Leadership in Aquatics Coalition (Team BLAC), is comprised of a group of past and present US national team swimmers and has a mission of being “the aquatics leaders of the Black voice and to impact the sport of swimming through exposure, resources, and mentorship.”

The second group, called the DEI Council will consist of members of the US swimming community and will serve to “bring together a group of diverse individuals to consult, deliberate and provide strategic DEI feedback to USA Swimming.”

  • You can find the full press release from USA Swimming here.

Team BLAC’s 14-strong membership includes will consist of current and retired US swimming national team athletes including Olympic gold medalists Anthony Ervin, Simone Manuel, and Cullen Jones.

USA Swimming Black Leadership in Aquatics Coalition members

Core Group Members

Current Members

Chairperson of Team BLAC, Maritza Correia McClendon made history in 2004 when she became the first Puerto Rican of African descent to represent the USA at the Olympics in the sport of swimming. Additionally, she was the first black American break a world record in swimming when she broke the 4×100 medley relay record along with Courtney Shealy, Kirsty Kowal, and Keegan Walkley swimming for Georgia at the 2000 NCAA Swimming Championships. Joining McClendon on Team BLAC as history-makers are Simone Manuel and Anthony Ervin. Manuel was the first African American woman to win an individual Olympic gold when she broke the Olympic and American records in the 100 free final in Rio 2016 and Ervin was the first US swimmer of African descent to win gold in an individual Olympic swimming event. when he won the 50 freestyle in Sydney 2000.

Of the committee, McClendon said “we are glad USA Swimming is taking the initiative to lean on, and hear from, its Black athletes as they tackle the need for actionable change to address why Black people continue to be underrepresented in the sport of swimming. While there has been a positive impact on the drowning statistics plaguing the Black communities, there has been a very slow change in the percentage of Black members in USA Swimming.”

Mariejo Truex, Senior Director of Education & Programs at USA Swimming will take of the role of Staff Lead for the DEI Council and will be joined by a team 34.

USA Swimming Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council Members

USA Swimming Board Of Directors Representatives

  • Kenneth Chung
  • Cecil Gordon

Executive Leadership Team

  • Tim Hinchey
  • Mike Unger
  • Lucinda McRoberts
  • Shana Ferguson
  • Isabelle McLemore
  • Lindsay Mintenko
  • Joel Shinofield
  • Eric Skufca

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Staff

  • Dr. Shaun Anderson
  • Ashanee Player

Council Members

  • Schuyler Bailar
  • Candace Cooper
  • Kimi Davidson
  • Matt Finnigan
  • Rob Greene
  • Jeremy Gregory
  • Greg Harkins
  • Amber Sample Kurtz
  • Sandra Lockhart
  • Tom Luchsinger
  • Maritza Correia McClendon
  • Emily Melina
  • Sahar Mumtaz
  • Camaxtle Olivo
  • Jim Peterfish
  • Erin Popovich
  • Keiko Price
  • Gabrielle Rose
  • Hannah Saiz
  • Chris Sheppard
  • Noah Wilson
  • Michael Wyant

Commenting on the initiative from the DEI Council was USA Swimming Managing Director of Sport Development Joel Shinofield.

Shinofield explained that “USA Swimming’s internal DEI team has been operating for more than a decade, focused on serving, supporting and highlighting under-represented swimming communities across the country,” “We value having experienced and impassioned voices to help guide our efforts and very much look forward to working with all these individuals to further our initiatives.”

One example of USA Swimming’s ongoing diversity programs is its annual National Diversity Select Camp for which 48 junior athletes are selected and invited to train at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center. Alumni of the program represented on Team BLAC include Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel, and 2019 World Championship bronze medalist Jack Levant. Earlier this year, Team BLAC chairperson Maritza Correia McClendon was announced as an attendee and mentor for the 2020 version of the camp.

With a renewed focus on diversity and racial equality amid a summer of nationwide, and worldwide, protests, USA Swimming is one of several organizations both within the world of sports and outside of it to launch such diversity committees. Within the NCAA for example, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Committee for Racial and Social Justice, and the Big Ten Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition.

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SwimFan
3 days ago

What about representation to the Native American swimmers? Whoo on the committee is “original American”?

ThirteenthWind
Reply to  SwimFan
3 days ago

Hannah Saiz is Alaskan Eskimo.

Guerra
3 days ago

What is this committee’s view on the cold blooded shootings of two Los Angeles policemen that were protecting their community? Is this committee going to donate to the fund to find and arrest the killer? What are this committee’s views on burning down buildings in the name of reparations? Black on black crime? Disrespect of police and the disregard for following their instructions? Treatment towards women (Jacob Blake)? Overuse of the “victim card”? I’m all for fairness and equality, but I’m also interested in the answers to these questions before throwing in my support.

Admin
Reply to  Guerra
3 days ago

You must have misread the article. This is not the “solve all of America’s crime problems” committee. While I’m sure as individuals, the members are interested in such things, I do believe that as a committee, that their primary focus is diversity as it relates to swimming.

Foreign Embassy
Reply to  Guerra
3 days ago

Read their mission statement: “ has a mission…to impact the sport of swimming through exposure, resources, and mentorship.”

Also, they don’t need your support. They were formed simply to advise USA swimming. Business form committees to improve their business.

Finally, it’s almost ironic how you said “overuse of the “victim card” followed by “I’m all for fairness and equality…”.

It seems you’re upset or scared about something, but you’re looking to a committee full of Olympic swimmers to solve it…

eagleswim
Reply to  Guerra
2 days ago

imagine being so fragile that the mere mention of equality and representation sends you into a tizzy like this

Breezeway
Reply to  eagleswim
2 days ago

👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

BKP
3 days ago

National Diversity Select Camp – In the name of racial equality and inclusion, let’s segregate 48 minority athletes to participate in a training camp…

Wow – have we gone full circle on the wokeness scale? We are so progressive that we have regressed…or something like that.

Erik
Reply to  BKP
2 days ago

What?