June 14, 2014 - Swimmer Safety
Dear Pacific Swimming Members,
With the summer underway I want to take a moment to wish everyone the very best throughout the long course season. As the days of training mount, keep your focus on the goals you have for the end of the season and you will achieve the success you desire.
Also as the summer begins, I want to offer a few reminders that relate directly to swimmer safety. Recently there was an incident at the Pacific Swimming Age Group Open meet held at Hartnell Junior College. A man approached one of the swimmers attending the meet and identified himself as “security”, grabbed the young swimmer’s arm and attempted to take this person into a room on campus. The young swimmer was able to fight and escape. The meet was stopped, USA Swimming was notified, as were the local police, and each team was asked to account for their swimmers. Two men were later apprehended, both with criminal records.
As we look for ways to prevent this sort of near catastrophe from happening in the future, we need to recognize that it is the responsibility of the entire swimming community to keep our swimmers safe. Our community of parents, coaches, officials, and marshals must be aware of the location and safety of all our swimmers. Being in an area with outdoor venues, we know that almost anyone can walk onto a pool deck or a meet facility and unfortunately some may have ill intentions. Swimmer safety is a concern at every meet.
I’d like to offer a few reminders as they relate to swimmer safety and hopefully to assist team’s looking to establish policies for their club. Create a team area for your team throughout the meet. By asking that the swimmers stay in a team area, a place for the swimmers to be around their teammates, accountability of the swimmers at the meet is elevated. Please ask your swimmers to stay only in common areas, where there is a high level of traffic flow. Places such as the competition pool, warm-up/warm-down pool, check-in, the snack bar, or the main locker room. All of these places are heavily populated with swimmers, adults, officials, or marshals. If you see swimmers outside the main venue, please direct them to return to their team areas.
Working together, we can certainly enhance our swimmer’s safety and work together to create a safe environment for all.