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From the Executive Director: U.S. Masters Swimming's Journey

Change Can and Does Happen... Here's How

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July 10, 2015, is circled and underscored on the USMS calendar; it’s an important date for anyone who has interest in USMS’s dry side operations.

Why? Because July 10 is the deadline for legislation and rules proposals to be submitted for consideration, discussion, and voting at this year’s annual meeting in Kansas City, Mo., to be held Sept. 30–Oct. 4, as part of the 2015 United States Aquatic Sports Convention.

Every fall, the USMS House of Delegates convenes at the USAS Convention to conduct its required responsibilities: elect officers, adopt the USMS budget, and vote on issues within the USMS Rule Book.

The Rule Book contains the legislation and rules of our competitions and the HOD—composed of approximately 250 USMS members—meets each year to discuss additions, changes, and deletions to the Rule Book. All USMS members can suggest legislation or rule changes to their LMSCs, which, in turn, will decide if it will sponsor the suggestion to the HOD.

Some changes can take years to pass. For example, it took five years for the HOD to come to agreement on relay age groups for short course yards. It took two years for the HOD to vote in favor of adding the 18–24 age group.

Last year, 25-yard swims and 100-yard relays were proposed by the Indiana LMSC and voted on by the HOD. It fell two votes short of meeting the required two-thirds vote to be adopted. Those who proposed the rule were encouraged that it had come so close to passing on its first try.

To some, the USMS democratic process, which often includes debate among 250 or so passionate volunteer delegates, can be a frustrating process. But in this structure, lies the opportunity for any USMS member to be heard.

Why do I bring all this up, you ask?

My contact information is published on usms.org and I enjoy hearing from members. Many letters pay compliments to our programs and services and members write to tell me how their Masters Swimming experience has changed their lives. Of course I love reading those emails.

But I’m also grateful and interested to hear from members offering constructive criticism: suggestions for new programs or benefits, or recommended policy changes. Whether I agree or disagree, I appreciate the feedback.

One topic that’s been appearing with more frequency in my inbox is the recommendation that USMS implement drug testing for Masters swimmers who are competing at the highest levels. My response to these members is this:

If you have a piece of legislation or rule that you believe USMS should adopt, please contact your LMSC representatives. They can help you with the process of submitting the suggestion. Just remember to have your submission in by July 10 if you want the House of Delegates to consider it.

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Updated June 5th, 2015 at 04:03 PM by Rob Butcher

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