USA Swimming Releases Safe Sport Status Report

  2 Gold Medal Mel Stewart | September 13th, 2012 | National, News, USA Swimming Convention

SwimSwam received the following press release from USA Swimming:

USA Swimming today released its bi-annual Safe Sport Status Report, providing a summary of the additions, statuses and improvements to the organization’s comprehensive athlete protection programming. The report will be distributed to the over 500 volunteer leaders attending the organization’s annual legislative and educational summit at the U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention in Greensboro, N.C.

“USA Swimming is incredibly proud of its Safe Sport program provided to its membership, and we are committed to continuing to provide the best possible programming,” said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming’s Executive Director. “Our commitment to remaining the leader among Olympic sports organizations requires us to continually evaluate and grow our programming. The Safe Sport Committee, led by USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Director Susan Woessner, has done an exceptional job of auditing our programming, proposing new legislation to strengthen our efforts and executing the existing elements.”

“Keeping aware of the developments in the field of abuse prevention is among our top priorities, and with the commitment of the organization and the athletes, members and outside experts serving on our Safe Sport Committee, USA Swimming’s programming will continue to evolve,” said Susan Woessner Director of Safe Sport for USA Swimming.

The full report is available here, and highlights are excerpted below.

Emphasis on Training/Education:

  • ·         Over 30,000 adult members, volunteers and coaches complete training: Since September 2011, 31,309 non-athlete members have completed mandatory online athlete protection training customized for USA Swimming by Praesidium, Inc., a national leader in sexual abuse prevention education.
  • ·         Parent Education offered to 300,000 families, for free: In July 2012, USA Swimming released free, customized online education courses for parents, created by Praesidium. The courses are available to the parents of USA Swimming’s 300,000 members.
  • ·         Volunteer Leadership offered in-person training: Over 600 national, Zone, and LSC leaders have participated in in-person training opportunities since September 2011


  • ·         New Background Checking system screens more than 35,000 adults: 35,718 non-athlete members have completed a mandatory criminal background check since the augmented background checking program launched in January 2011.


  • ·         Training results in action: Since the release of the online athlete protection training in September 2010, USA Swimming’s Safe Sport staff reports a dramatic increase in communication from members including questions, concerns, and reports in which theydirectly reference that something in the training resonated and made them pick up the phone.
  • ·         Reports result in sanctions: Since the program’s inception in September 2010, USA Swimming has sanctioned 24 members for violations of Safe Sport related measures, 16 of whom have been banned for life.

About USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Program

USA Swimming is committed to providing a safe environment for all its members. The USA Swimming Safe Sport Program is a comprehensive abuse prevention initiative rooted in six core areas: Policies & Guidelines, Screening & Selection, Training & Education, Monitoring & Supervision, Recognizing, Reporting & Responding, and Grassroots Engagement & Feedback. USA Swimming is proud of its proactive approach to abuse prevention and continually strives to be the leader in Safe Sport in the Olympic movement. For more on the program,


  1. 24 sanctions in two years. Is it the tip of the iceberg? I speculate that there are quite a few more coaches out there that aren’t sleeping as well as they did prior to September 2010.

    That’s a good thing.

    • anonymous says:

      In 2004, I reported the abuse of my coach to our head coach (it was a multi-pool network). I was 16 & 17 at the time of the abuse (he was in his 40s, I believe) and had been a strong club swimmer for 7 years, but the last year was a nightmare. Nothing was done. When I later was in school (18 years old, senior year), I told a teacher who told my principal, who contacted the police. The police came to my school and asked me about it… I had to relate every detail. It was like it was yesterday and it still feels that way, now 6 years later. It was horrible. The police then confronted my coach in person (I quit before going to that school, so I no longer was swimming under him) who got VERY nervous. They know he did it, but I had an emotional meltdown that year, and after months of counseling & years of meds, finally was ready to testify… and the statute of limitations had run out. I recently found out he is no longer coaching (cited he needed more time with his family). It’s the first month I’ve been able to truly rest, truly feel hope. It always ate me up inside that he could be hurting other kids (he continued coaching for 8 years after I quit), but when I graduated from school, I no longer had the amazing teachers who believed me. No one took the issues seriously, so I just shrunk into myself. I truly was alone on that team in regards to the adults (though I personally know of two other dear friends who were molested by him, one of whom also filed a report against him & contacted the police – but she caved too, in the end). Life is awfully scary sometimes for a kid. I’m thankful to have survived, but getting back in the water to exercise the only way I ever enjoyed is hard… one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to “relearn”. Please bring these coaches to justice… don’t put the reports away in some room – make people report. People, please report the perverts who touch your kids. Not every coach is a problem, but to me, it felt like I was the problem.

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About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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