Last week I attended the United States Aquatic Sports Convention in Kansas City, MO. This annual event brings together delegates and staff members from the national governing bodies of 5 aquatic sports including: USA Swimming, U.S. Masters Swimming, USA Diving, USA Water Polo, USA Synchro.
Each delegation is made up of athletes, coaches, and national staff members to conduct business and also recognize the outstanding achievements that have shaped the organization in the last year. The national convention is an opportunity for coaches and athletes of all levels to network and share ideas.
Although there are over one thousand delegates in attendance across all the aquatic sports, most of the time spent at the week-long conference is in meetings within each sports respective House of Delegates and in national committee meetings. This gives everyone an opportunity to voice their concerns and share new insights at both the local (LSC and LMSC) and national level.
The Role of Delegates
As a U.S. Masters Swimming delegate, the conference was an enlightening experience to the operations and leadership structure governing the organization. A delegate serves as an ambassador, contributor, enabler, and facilitator to the mission of the organization. In the case of USMS, this mission is to promote health, wellness, fitness, and competition for adults through swimming. In his opening remarks, USMS Executive Director, Rob Butcher stated:
“Think about how we can create a more inclusive USMS. How can we capture more adults into our family of swimming.”
This is certainly the driving theme with not only U.S. Masters Swimming, but in all the aquatic sports.
Recognizing Outstanding Achievements
This year 7 individuals were inducted to the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame. Penny De Meules (USA), Jack Groselle (USA), Mieko Nagaoka (JPN), Aniella Claverstyne Plowman (AUS), David Radcliff (USA), Nancy Ridout (USA), and Shoko Yonezawa (JPN) join a group of individuals who have committed their lives to the sport that they love.
At the USAS Awards Banquet, coaches and athletes were recognized for their achievement and devotion. The ‘Jazz’ themed evening included video highlights and a bit of role-play Jeopardy for attendees to enjoy. USMS President Nadine Day was awarded the Staff Appreciation Award, and Marty Hendrick of Swim For Lauderdale was awarded Coach of the Year.
USA Swimming Athlete of the year went to Katie Ledecky for her unbelievable performances at the World Championships in Kazan. Rowdy Gaines was recognized with the USA Swimming Award for most outstanding contribution to the sport!
A full list of U.S. Masters Swimming Awards recipients can be found here.
Swimming at the Convention
What’s a swimming convention without organized swim workouts? The convention offered the masters swimming community 3 morning sessions during the conference for coaches and athletes to participate in. Workouts were organized into Sprint, Distance, Stroke, Technique, Open Water, and Fitness groups. Jumping in a bus at 5:30am to head to the pool reminded me of what college training trips were like, only this time I was swimming less than 2k!
I swam in the sprint group during the first two days – and was even lucky enough to swim head-to-head with International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee Jack Groselle. On the final day, I was on deck coaching and was able to experience nearly 100 athletes doing what they love: swim!
It was a fantastic experience, and I’m looking forward to attending future conventions!