USA Swimming Plans to Begin Selling Alcohol at Swim Meets

USA Swimming has begun to develop guidelines for serving alcohol at senior-level swim meets,  according to a draft of meeting minutes from the latest USA Swimming Board of Directors meeting on February 3rd, 2018. They have also opened the door to having alcohol companies as sponsors, again only for senior-level events.

Editor’s note: this meeting happened before Ariana Kukors publicly accused Sean Hutchison of grooming her since she was 12, which reignited questions into USA Swimming’s SafeSport program.

From the minutes:

“Matt Farrell reported that the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Gambling Task Force is working on guidelines for serving alcohol at events, as well as guidelines for alcohol-related sponsors. Mr. Farrell added that the task force will not be making any changes to existing language regarding tobacco and gambling within the Rulebook but may add language regarding marijuana (Attachment 16).”

The motion to approve the task force to continue working on guidelines was approved.

The task force includes Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin, USA Swimming marketing executive Matt Farrell, and USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey.

The recommended guidelines include restrictions for alcohol on the pool deck or in athlete areas, and athlete seating areas. The committee recommended that alcohol only be served at senior, national-level events and “adult-focused areas of the venue at non senior, national-level events or non-competition events with approval from USA Swimming staff.” Examples of senior, national-level events include the Pro Swim Series, Open Water Nationals, Nationals, Winter Nationals, and the U.S. Olympic Trials.

They also recommended guidelines for alcohol sponsorships, which “should not include the pool deck of any non senior-level national event,” nor should it include any logos on suits, caps, and goggles. The recommended guidelines also recommended that certain alcohol-adjacent companies be allowed sponsorships in all aspects of USA Swimming. Specifically, companies ‘primarily known for being a restaurant that serve(s) alcohol,” with Chili’/s and Applebee’s being examples given, or if “alcohol, liquir, bar, pub, distillery, etc., is not directly referenced in the name of the establishment”, (ex. Springfield Beverage) would not have restrictions if the guidelines were approved.

Besides USA Swimming, this would also allow teams to seek sponsorship from the above-mentioned companies, where they could be promoted on team websites, adult-targeted communications, adult-focused venues and activities.

Team names will still not be allowed to include alcohol references, as has been done with other brands, like Tucson Ford Aquatics in Arizona. Alcohol sponsors will also not be allowed at non-senior, national level events in heat sheets. USA Swimming staff would be allowed to approve exceptions for a “unique or extenuating circumstance.”


Leave a Reply

78 Comment threads
134 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
114 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Steve Nolan

“2024 US Olympic Team Trials, brought to you by Armalite.”

Joe Bagodonuts

Did they start a brewery?

ct swim fan

No one needs alcohol at a swim meet. Go out to the neighborhood bar if you can’t wait. Very bad idea.


How’s it bad? It’ll probably be more expensive and nobody will buy it anyways.


Alcohol is not the best advocate for best behavior – especially with people who can’t handle it properly . We know that by now . It feels like one more sponsor is needed – what a poor choice


Totally disagree. Look at things like AVP Pro Breach Volleyball tour, and PGA golf. They serve alcohol, and are also significantly more popular, drawing better general public crowds than all of these swim meets outside maybe Trials. If its handled in a proper way I think this is a good move that can bring much needed revenue into the sport.


As if we didn’t already know that swim meets are boring as (bleep).

JP input too short

Y tho


I mean when your kid isn’t having the best meet…..


Thinly veiled money grab. We’ve all been to church fish frys and church summer festivals where beer runs aplenty (at least at my Catholic Church it does). Usually the prices are ridiculous but people line up to pay anyway. Everyone knows that beer sales are the highest revenue generator at any function. A keg will sell for $40-50 but generate ten times that in revenue. Hey, while we’re at it, why not get tobacco involved too and sell a pack of smokes for $10. Light up a heater, have a beer and watch all 19 heats of 4IM!!!! C’mon USA Swimming, call it for what it is. It’s ALL about money. Maybe huge lawsuits pending????


Full disclosure…..I might be first in line for a beer at a meet. But, hey, it’s for the kids, right?


$40-50? For what 5.16 gallons of Stag? I can’t think of a single wholesale 1/2 barrel keg for anywhere near that price point.


I’m assuming he was talking sixtel prices. A bit low for craft, but definitely in line with or even a bit higher than most Macro beers.

Coach John

so parents don’t have to hide their box of wine

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!