The Wisconsin Swimming LSC has bought an insurance policy to cover remote dryland and coaching activities, currently a hot-button ‘gap’ in USA Swimming’s club insurance.
With the 2019 novel coronavirus and the outbreak of COVID-19 cases causing most states to issue stay-at-home orders or recommended quarantining, many swim clubs are facing financial hardship. Closed pools and training bans have shut down club operations and stalled incomes, often cutting off income streams for club employees, like coaches. Coaches have begun to call for USA Swimming – or its LSCs (Local Swimming Committees) that govern swimming on a more regional level – to step in to help clubs stay financially solvent during the worldwide pandemic.
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The Florida Gold Coast LSC opened a program this week allowing clubs to apply for a one-time grant. While many praised that plan, others have noted that many LSCs don’t have the financial resources to implement a similar plan for their member clubs.
Wisconsin Swimming has taken a different approach. Many clubs have attempted to avoid a total shutdown by offering remote coaching, often based around dryland workouts. But that’s been an issue of its own, as USA Swimming’s insurance policy for clubs doesn’t cover activities that are not directly supervised by a coach.
Wisconsin Swimming decided to purchase an insurance policy to cover that gap, allowing clubs in that LSC to provide remote dryland. The LSC says its new insurance policy will cover “activities that are not conducted in the physical presence… of a member coach, but are authorized and approved by the member coach as part of the swimmer or participants training program.”
The policy went into effect on April 3. Van Donkersgoed, the General Chair of Wisconsin Swimming, told SwimSwam that the policy would cover member clubs through March of 2021, at a cost of $24,000 to Wisconsin Swimming.
By comparison, the Florida Gold Coast plan could cost that LSC up to $85,000 – but Florida Gold Coast has a significant amount of money in reserves – around $885,000.
Wisconsin Swimming says the LSC includes 66 clubs with 455 coaches (84 of them full-time). Those clubs encompass 6,042 swimmers, making the LSC the fifth-largest of USA Swimming’s 59 LSCs, per the Wisconsin Swimming website.
The Wisconsin policy makes clear that remote training must comply with USA Swimming’s MAAPP, meaning another non-athlete adult must be included in electronic communication (like video chat) between a coach and one or more athletes. The insurance policy allows clubs to charge fees for remote dryland or coaching activities, giving clubs a new opportunity for income even during the COVID-19 quarantine period.