USA Swimming Approves New Flex Membership Structure For 2021

In its first Board of Directors meeting of 2020, held on January 31, USA Swimming approved a new structure for its Flex Membership, effective for the 2021 Membership Year.

Introduced in 2018, the Flex Membership offered a reduced fee in exchange for lowered benefits, looking to attract athletes who were not year-round swimmers. The fee has been a flat $20 since the launch, but the new structure will see an increase for swimmers 11 & over.

In a BOD meeting on August 26, USA Swimming Chief Operating Officer Mike Unger outlined some of the issues with the membership, including the fact that “38-42%” of the organization’s total athlete membership doesn’t swim more than two meets. If all of those members were to convert to the Flex Membership, the organization would lose over $6 million.

Joel Shinoefield, USA Swimming’s Managing Director of Sport Development, provided membership projection assumptions at the latest meeting for both the current and proposed Flex Membership models. In terms of membership revenue, Shinoefield noted a “$6 million difference between the two models” based on a conservative 0% growth rate in athlete memberships.

The new model increases the fee for swimmers aged 11-12 to $35, with $25 going to USA Swimming and $10 to the LSC (previously it was a 10-10 split), and an increase to $45 (35-10) for those aged 13-18. All maintain the two-meet limit, while the 13-18 age group also has a 150-day maximum.

The approved Flex Membership structure, set to be implemented for the 2021 membership year, is as follows, per the BOD minutes:

  • Ages 10 and Under: $20.00 ($10 USA-S, $10 LSC): “Two meets, multiple Flex registrations. This price matches the minimal dues clubs often charge for their entry-level/novice/pre-competitive programs and allows clubs to register these new athletes as USA Swimming members, rather than seek lower cost/lower-value options in the marketplace.”
  • Ages 11-12: $35.00 ($25 USA-S, $10 LSC): Two meets, multiple Flex registrations, no downgrades from Premium. This is an entry point for athletes who have possibly competed in summer league or other rec programs and are likely competing in other sports, which charge a similar membership fee.”
  • Ages 13-18: $45.00 ($35 USA-S, $10 LSC): “Two meets, 150-day limit, multiple Flex registrations, no downgrades from Premium. This is an entry point for athletes coming from other sports, summer league, or middle school/high school swimming experiences. Also allows entire high school teams or summer league teams to join for a season.”

The minutes also show that USA Swimming was exploring how the novel coronavirus could impact training for the Olympics back in late January. Everything has changed since this meeting with the virus forcing the postponement of the Olympics until 2021.

The next BOD meeting is slated for April 24.

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Senior Coach
4 years ago

So great my new swimmers didn’t get a chance to use the reduced fees this year and automatically they’re going to be jacked up after 1 year great!

Coach AZ
4 years ago

I hope they raised the price of flex in order to offset a lower full registration cost. That would be extremely helpful to most clubs and members without getting the Olympic bump.

Mark Parshall
4 years ago

Increase the amount? With the LSC’s offering stimulus programs for their clubs, USA Swimming decides to go the opposite direction. More money to USA Swimming, same to the LSC’s?! The LSC’s are the ones that have to track it, they should have received part of the increase. At this price point, what I would prefer, is to just do away with it.

Reply to  Mark Parshall
4 years ago

I am curious to learn how impactful the flex program has been (other than the $6 million deficit to the USA Swimming budget). I am not sure if the flex numbers are from previous USA Swimming members switching to flex or if they are actually new members to club swimming.

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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