For most swim parents, their top concern for their young swimmer is not his split times or need for a new racing swimsuit, but his safety.
USA Swimming recently released an independent review of its Safe Sport abuse prevention program. The report assessed USA Swimming's efforts to protect the health and safety of all of its participants compared against other youth sports programs. USA Swimming also appointed an eight-person task force to review the findings and make recommendations for the improvement of the program.
"This review demonstrates USA Swimming's ongoing commitment to raise awareness and reduce the risk of abuse in sport," said USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wiegus in a press release. "Our Safe Sport program continues to evolve and an independent review of our program allows us to learn from the past, see what we're doing well and make improvements for the future. We accept the feedback in this report head on and we are confident that it will only help our program become even stronger."
The review praised the Safe Sport Program for its general policies, educational programs and investigative process, but also had the following recommendations for the organization:
- Develop safety guides for younger athletes and require parents to review it with them
- Make Safe Sport accessible to children or parents with a disability
- Regularly reevaluate training and education processes
- Require parents and athletes under the age of 18 to take Safe Sport training.
USA Swimming's Safe Sport program includes the following tools to ensure the safety of young swimmers:
- Code of conduct
- Process for reporting questionable coaching practices
- Extensive screening and selection process for coaches
- Training and education for members and coaches.