USMS OW SANCTIONING

135

Comments

  • lcolettelcolette Charter Member
    At this point and after last night's meeting and today's readings 'an organization that works together to serve everyone's needs, is geared to safety/swimmer success/growth of the sport/non-political and fun! just sounds like a good solution.
  • Niek said:

    OOH! How about the American Long Distance Swimming Association? ALDSA? To keep the same number of letters as our British and Irish friends?

    Big job to get Canada, Central America and South America also included.
    I think USLDSA would be better and more fitting.
    Why limit it to America? Think big. How about the International Open-water Swimming Association IOSA pronounced "eye oh saa" and yes keep it open ended not exclusive to marathon swimming.

  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    edited February 2013
    lakespray said:

    Think big. How about the International Open-water Swimming Association IOSA pronounced "eye oh saa" and yes keep it open ended not exclusive to marathon swimming.

    IOWSA. Pronounced "yowza!"
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    I like how my criticism about the thinking that USA stands for America stands for USA turns into IOWSA.

    The proposed database with all (marathon) crossings fits with this idea.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    edited February 2013
    After being out of competitive sports for 2 decades (other than trying to catch a wave at Rincon on a busy day) I did triathlons for 2 years. I found during that time that there a number of different types of events. I competed in a couple of small town ones that supported the local swim team, a much bigger one put on by a local triathlon enthusiastic business man and was part of a sports festival; events put on by local triathlon clubs, and some very big ones (2,000+people) that were sanctioned by USAT. There are also the branded "Ironman" events.

    In other words, triathlons have grown not by relying on the support of a national organization. However, it looked to me that USAT was trying to expand the number of sanctioned events. I filled out numerous questionnaires asking if I took in consideration that the event was sanctioned by USAT, etc. For a RD to pursue USAT sanctioned there had to be some "value" added to the event. Clearly the "Ironman" has a great job in achieving that, and their race fees reflect it. On the other hand if they didn't deliver on the value promise, they would never be able to constantly sell out so many of their events,

    I think to a lesser extent OW has done the same. I think that USMS has decided to put limits on how active they want to be in the sport. It will be up to other organizers to fill the gaps, volunteer or professional. I also think there is a potential for sponsorship money. In the 1980's I swam the Bud Lite series in Southern California (independent of the La Jolla & Seal Beach swims). Each Saturday during the summer the event was held in a different town from Santa Barbara to San Clemente. I know USMS would frown on the use of an alcohol related sponsor, but being non-USMS would not have those restrictions on who the sponsors could be. I think I saw one of those old geezer magic pill commercials on TV showing an open water swimmer. Maybe they could throw in a couple of pills in the swag bag.

    I don't think that there is any one answer, and maybe USMS's reduction in its involvement might actually be good for the sport in the long run.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited February 2013
    On a separate thread a few weeks ago, a couple people mentioned the Divers Alert Network as an option for personal insurance on a SwimTrek trip.

    I'm wondering, is there a possible solution to the problem of insuring solo marathon swims with something like the Divers Alert Network?

    The main sticking point with insuring solo swims is the interaction of the boat and the swimmer (e.g., swimmer getting injured by the prop). Diving is another sport where there is a close interaction between boats and people in the water... so perhaps their insurers have figured out how to assess this sort of liability?
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    Divers and boats are close yes but those boats usually don't move and the props are still.

    A better angle might be the pilots in the Channel. How and with whom are they insured. I haven't heard of a need for extra special insurance for the swimmer. Can't that/those insurance company/companies set up an insurance for channel crossings worldwide?
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • A lot of the Channel boats are inboards, I assume, so they would be exempt from the new rules. And if they are a commercial operation such as a dive boat or a fishing boat, they can probably qualify for the $1 million insurance.
    Ron Collins
    Clearwater, Florida
    DistanceMatters.com
  • I think, though, that sometimes propellers do move when divers are in the water. There is a method of diving called drift diving, in which the dive boat's engine is engaged, and it tracks along with the divers, who may be cruising along in a current. I'd think that if even sometimes the propellers are turning while divers are in the water, then the dive boats have figured out that this is a situation that needs to be covered by insurance. It seems worthwhile to see if the marathon swim community can be informed by the diving community, as regards insurance to reduce liability.
  • IMHO, these new requirements from USMS could result in fewer boats in the water and therefore fewer eyes on swimmers. That seems less safe to me. Prop guards and insurance don't keep swimmers safe. People do.
  • Hey you open water swimmers! If you have a choice between doing business with USMS and not doing business with them, guess which one I would suggest? :-h
  • Hey you open water swimmers! If you have a choice between doing business with USMS and not doing business with them, guess which one I would suggest?

    @BillVolckening, there isn't a choice when it comes to many OW swim events. The new USMS OW rules make it impossable to continue doing business with USMS (sadly).
  • BirminghamBirmingham Member
    edited March 2013
    I have only ever entered the Kingdom Swim. This is the #1 reason I keep up my USMS membership. The other benefits of membership I can get elsewhere for free, I would not miss them. If Kingdom Swim did not have USMS sanctioning I would gladly use the money I saved not renewing my USMS membership to make up for the inevitable increase in cost of the swim.
  • lcolettelcolette Charter Member
    Birmingham,
    This year they are covering the costs for USMS championships, so the 10 mile is covered.
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    lcolette said:

    Birmingham,
    This year they are covering the costs for USMS championships, so the 10 mile is covered.

    I don’t know if that is the whole story.... the situation is way more complicated than that, our conflicts are really not about cost, I don’t know about Kingdom?
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    DB is right. Not the full story. I'm sure @Fil will "fill" us in when he is ready.
  • lcolettelcolette Charter Member
    I wasn't very clear:
    PacMasters meeting - USMS said they would carry the $1800 per event for Nationals.

    There was no comment on the insane liability coverage for boats and volunteers on boats.
    They are still expecting prop covers for non inboards unless they are Coastguard/Lifeguard(paid by county or gov't agency)/Sheriff/Park Service, etc..

    But I'm sure more has come up since that conversation that I don't know about and will bow to DB.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    lcolette said:


    ... insane liability coverage for boats and volunteers on boats.
    They are still expecting prop covers for non inboards unless they are Coastguard/Lifeguard(paid by county or gov't agency)/Sheriff/Park Service, etc..

    And there you have it.
  • evmo said:

    I'm sure @Fil will "fill" us in when he is ready.

    People like @Fil work tirelessly to make these events as safe as possible. It is a shame to see them hamstrung like this.
    I expect that asking people for proof of insurance will be a big turn off for potential volunteers. Those folks spend hours bobbing around in their ski boats to support their local Rec. Center and keep the swimmers safe. I think that if I was a potential powerboat spotter I would want some assurance from the event that if an accident were to occur I would be protected from a claim beyond my existing coverage.
    I am a scout leader. If I follow the trip protocols-notify the council, two deep leadership etc. and have an accident with my car or a boat I know the BSA would cover any claim beyond my coverage limits. I think volunteers deserve that protection. Maybe I'm missing the point, but I don't think so.
  • lcolette said:

    Birmingham,
    This year they are covering the costs for USMS championships, so the 10 mile is covered.

    That is great. Unfortunately, that is the one swim @Fil and IROC are putting on that could
    afford it. The rest of the swims NEKOWSA has planned cannot.
    While $1800 is not chump change, I believe the insurance requirements for the individual boaters will be what drives the nail.
  • FilFil The Clubhous, Derby, VermontMember
    It's Official. Kingdom Swim's sanction has been pulled by USMS and our contract to hold the USMS 10 Mile National Championship has been rescinded. Instead, we have agreed with WOWSA to hold the 10 Mile World Championships on Lake Memphremagog for the next five years. Here's the e-mail I sent out to our Kingdom Swimmers, explaining things:

    Bad News – Good News

    Kingdom Swimmers: Here’s the bad news: USMS has pulled our sanction and we will not be hosting the USMS 10 Mile Championship this year. The good news is that the World Open Water Swimming Association has invited us to host its 10 Mile World Championships, not just in 2013 but for the next five years.

    Here’s the story. Last Fall, USMS signed a contract with us to host the 10 mile National Championship and sanctioned our swim. A few months ago, USMS significantly changed its requirements for open water swims. In particular, it is now requiring that all volunteer boats out on the lake supporting any USMS swim must have caged propellers. In addition, it is insisting that every volunteer boat provide proof of insurance as the primary coverage. And finally, it is requiring a $1,000 insurance surcharge for the other swims occurring during Kingdom Swim and $1,800 for each day of our other NEKOWSA swims (which now total 12 days, including Kingdom Swim).

    We informed USMS that we could handle the $1,000 insurance surcharge for Kingdom Swim but we could not afford the $1,800 surcharge for each of our other days of swimming. More significantly, we were not going to ask our fleet of patrol boats to bolt a cage around their propellers and to show us proof of insurance as a condition of their volunteering. We agree that prop protectors are the way to go with short course, closed loop swims with hundreds of swimmers. However, for our longer 3, 6, and 10 mile courses, we need many boats that can cover the full length of the courses, intercept speed boats that are heading into the course (oblivious to the presence of swimmers), adjust their positions as swimmers move through, and be prepared to quickly evacuate not only individual swimmers in distress but also the entire population of swimmers and yackers in the event of a sudden thunderstorm. It has taken years for us to build a solid fleet of volunteer boats and pilots willing to dedicate a day of their time out on the lake. And, we have capped the numbers of swimmers allowed to register for our swim in order to assure that we have adequate boat support for any eventuality.

    We cannot ask these boats to bolt on a prop protector. Nor would we want the performance of their boats to be compromised in the event that they need to move fast to intercept another boat or to ferry swimmers off the lake.

    Nor are we willing to require that volunteer motor boats post their insurance as the front line of coverage. We tell volunteers (motor boats and kayakers) that our insurance covers them for their activity as our volunteers. And that’s just the way it should be. If we required them to post their coverage, their own rates would most assuredly increase and we would not be able to field the kind of support that now is available to us (not just on Memphremagog but also on our other swims)

    Both of these new requirements, if implemented in our particular long course swims, would decimate our boat support and would actually increase the risk to our swimmers in numerous ways.

    We asked USMS to grandfather our swim because of our contract and sanction. It felt it had no choice but to refuse the request and pulled our sanction and pulled our national championship.

    And so, it is with some deep sadness that we part ways with USMS. Many folks at USMS have been huge supporters of our efforts to start Kingdom Swim and open the lakes of the Northeast Kingdom to open water swimming. USMS has been our friend from the git go. It has enthusiastically helped us organize and promote our swims. But, its current sanction requirements and insurance surcharges just do not fit Kingdom Swim or our many other smaller swims.

    The good news in all of this is that the World Open Water Swimming Association has stepped up. It has helped us find insurance that is affordable and workable. Its sanctioning requirements are true to our brand of open water swimming. And we have reached agreement with them to be the host of the WOWSA, 10 Mile World Championships for the next five years. We are thrilled to be taking this step. And we welcome WOWSA to The Kingdom. We are going to have “some kind of fun” as we continue to open the lakes of the Northeast Kingdom to world class open water swimming.

    We hope you’ll stick around for the World Championship. But if this news causes you to want to pull your registration, please let me know. We will try to figure out a way to get you your money back.

    The Vikings Have It

    In other news – The Vikings have it. The votes are in. We’ve counted them twice. (Pinky demanded a recount). It's official. Vikings win over Flamingos and Gators - 20 to 11. Super Heroes and Alice in Wonderland were big losers. Pinky is distraught, but she'll GET OVER IT. (Nice late inning rally. Pinky was working the phones signing on more “likes,” but the sleeping Vikings’ lead was just insurmountable.) Elaine Kornbau Howley is ecstatic. Her FB profile pic is already Viking headgear. As for Janet Kylander Manning -- this was homeland blood sport.

    GET YOUR COSTUMES ON. GOING TO BE ONE HECK OF A PARADE.

    Now back to the wood pile for me.

    Flipperless Fil – On the road to Boston Light ‘18
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Bravo Fil
  • jcmalickjcmalick Charter Member
    edited March 2013
    Wow thanks Phil! Makes everyone wonder about the path of USMS and if I'll really need to renew my membership in 2014 if it's not needed for the open water swimming world (I still have never been to a Master's workout or found where the Colonials 1776 that I belong to actually flock)! Quite honestly I could do without Swimmer Magazine and put the money towards the post that I would pay for Simon Griffith's H20pen Magazine...sure they may cater to triathletes and condone wetsuits, but at least they condone open water swimming as a whole and publish the message to get out there and be passionate about the waters around us! Solidifies my thought process that C3 or any future event of Shore Swim will not have the brand name association (ie. USMS Sanctioned) and there is a powerful message for WOWSA to separate itself and provide for a collaboration amongst our community and perhaps our own insurance policy, regulations, and bilaws!
  • @Fil: I'm delighted you were able to save the NEKOWSA 2013 schedule of swims.
    I wish I could join you...
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    @jcmalick seconded re the USMS Swimmer Magazine, which I just received. A 4.4 mile wetsuit swim in Lake Michigan on the cover.....
  • Given the current situation with USMS and OW events, I am one of the last people to come to their defense, but at least Swimmer mag. is publishing articles about OW. It used to be all about pool swimming.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Laura Jones and Elaine Howley do excellent work for Swimmer mag writing about open water stuff. Too bad they will have less interesting topics to write about now that USMS will essentially be a bunch of short loop-course lake swims and cable swims.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Like Swimmer mag despite the wetsuits (the goggle review was nice). But absolutely love H2Open Water mag. Worth the post charge.
  • evmo said:

    Laura Jones and Elaine Howley do excellent work for Swimmer mag writing about open water stuff. Too bad they will have less interesting topics to write about now that USMS will essentially be a bunch of short loop-course lake swims and cable swims.

    If they keep the $1k sanction fee, they'll have even fewer of those to write about.
  • Is this a new direction for WOWSA? Have they sponsored World Championships before? Glad to hear Kingdom Swim found a partner.
  • I talked to the new USMS sanctions guy, and let him know that the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim cannot be in compliance of all of their new rules. There's no way for our support boaters to get the insurance.

    So...

    We are applying for a WOWSA partnership today, like our friends in VT.

    We are also going to host solo Tampa Bay Marathon Swims that ARE in compliance of all of the USMS rules. Cost: about $3000
    Ron Collins
    Clearwater, Florida
    DistanceMatters.com
  • gregoc- SWIMMER Magazine had open water content from the very beginning, as in the first issue. When I was editor, SWIMMER did the first-ever open water technique pictorial, and we had some excellent open water and long distance swimming content. However, I can't take responsibility for all the crap they've been doing since the mid-2009.
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaMember
    If only we could "insure" absolutely all of our actions and the actions of others that cause us harm -- no one wants catastrophe ---

    Open water swims won't cease to exist for the adventurous. For those that require "insurance" then their choices will obviously be limited in the future - maybe even to the point of paralysis. They will have to stick to the blue line on the bottom of the pool. For me, I'm going to keep swimming in the open water. I keep my health and life insurance current as a way to protect myself and my family. For those that swam the Arizona S.C.A.R. Swim last year and this year - it's an adventure that has not associated with USMS nor is it insured. Perhaps this is naive on my part and exposes me to "lawsuits" but I'm focused on the front-end safety of the event.

    I don't rely or expect some other organization to give me the green light or make an event legitimate. I just want to swim and be in the open water with those that have a similar love of open water swimming. I still belong to USMS and understand their concerns - I just don't feel like I need their blessing before getting in the water.

    Kent Nicholas
    S.C.A.R. Swim Organizer (volunteer)
  • troubletrouble Member
    edited March 2013
    I'm truly confused by this entire conversation. Everyone is talking like USMS has changed somehow and has made a big mistake by stopping their sanctioning of events. From my perspective, it seems like USMS had been turning a blind eye to the realities of many of the events they had been sanctioning. Recent unfortunate events have forced them to adhere to the exact parameters of their existing insurance policies. Race directors of longer open water events should have always had separate insurance because USMS never truly insured their events in the first place.

    In 2010 when I was swimming commissioner at the South End Rowing Club, I got in touch with USMS to find out what insurance they actually provided and how the South End, a USMS team, was covered. The USMS office put me in touch with the insurance underwriters because they weren't able to answer many of my questions.

    It became clear to me through my conversations with the insurance agent USMS worked with at that time that USMS insurance wasn't adequate insurance for the open water swims we put on for members of our club. It was a fine supplemental insurance, it could help to keep our primary insurance rates low. But it didn't insure against most of the major things that open water swimmers in San Francisco face - boats, for example. The USMS insurance specifically stated that it didn't offer any protection to swimmers struck by boats or to boaters operating vessels for swim support.

    The information I was given was that USMS insurance basically covers injuries between USMS swimmers who are both insured. It could also serve as insurance if someone had an injury/illness that took place while swimming such as a torn rotator cuff or a heart attack. The rates were based on the idea that the insurance would be secondary insurance for most people, with people's personal health insurance being their primary insurance.

    The documentation that I saw clearly stated that accidents and injuries related to water craft of any type were not covered in any way. They also stated that for races, the race director needed to be in a position to oversee the entire course the entire time. To my knowledge nothing had changed since 2010. They also required specific buoys along the race courses - buoys we couldn't exactly plunk down in the shipping channel.

    Based on this information, the South End always purchased event-specific insurance for our public events. We used the USMS insurance as a supplemental insurance for our member-only Club Swims, Nutcracker swims, and piloted Sunriser swims with the understanding that these could not be treated as USMS sanctioned open water events and would be considered "coached workouts". Club members going out for a swim on their own in Aquatic Park were not covered in any way as there were no USMS members/coaches overseeing them as they swam.

    My personal opinion is that every race director or organization needs to asses the risks of their particular swim and to purchase adequate insurance to protect themselves and the event's participants. I'm shocked to hear that so many people were relying on USMS insurance as the sole insurance for their open water events. I'm even more shocked that USMS didn't seem to look into this further until a huge accident occurred. It is unbelievable to me that they had put their stamp of approval on events when those events didn't meet the criteria set forth by their insurers.

    At this point, it seems like USMS is drawing a line in the sand about what they can reasonably provide for the rates that their members (mostly pool swimmers) pay. Rather than being upset with USMS for forsaking us, we should count our blessings that we skated through for so long with such low insurance rates and with so few accidents. Because I don't think we were ever really protected by USMS on these longer swims.
  • lcolettelcolette Charter Member
    I guess as a fellow South Ender, I should also let you know that no longer can any internal swim be considered 'coached workouts' unless a registered USMS coach is on deck. I would consider that physically in a zodiac for the Nutcracker's because the insurance doesn't cover workouts without a USMS coach on deck anymore. It used to grandfather in other types of coaches such as USAS but no more.....

  • lcolette said:

    I guess as a fellow South Ender, I should also let you know that no longer can any internal swim be considered 'coached workouts' unless a registered USMS coach is on deck. I would consider that physically in a zodiac for the Nutcracker's because the insurance doesn't cover workouts without a USMS coach on deck anymore. It used to grandfather in other types of coaches such as USAS but no more.....

    Actually, based on a conference call I sat on when this was in the process of being rolled out, I think a situation like that may still actually be covered, unless the zodiac has an outboard motor on it.
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    trouble said:

    From my perspective, it seems like USMS had been turning a blind eye to the realities of many of the events they had been sanctioning.

    Probably true.... and likewise for club practices, but a goal for USMS has always been to grow the membership. If you consider what percentage of the USMS population competes (either pool or OW), the only conclusion is that most are members because of the insurance. In many pools, I can show up with a few friends, pay the day fee and swim a workout, but a "club" will have to provide a certificate of insurance to use the same facility. USMS has been the beneficiary of such policies.

    I would like to see USMS provide its members with supplemental insurance for swimming activities regardless of whether it is a sanctioned event or practice... kind of like DAN, or the NRA.
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • @timsroot The swims do have zodiacs with outboard motors, but the outboard motors have the cage-like prop guards, so comply with the new USMS rules. So maybe they still qualify? (The SERC board made us put us put cages on our outboard motors two years ago in response to the Maui Channel accident. I'm not a huge fan of the outboard motors because they compromise speed, as has been mentioned on this thread. I'm not the only SERC pilot who feels that way.)

    @lcolette Did they specifically change it so that other USMS members can't be on-deck coaches? If so, that seems like a bigger deal than the propguard change! They had specifically stated in the past that we didn't need all of the pilots to be registered USMS coaches, we just needed one registered USMS swimmer in one committee boat, which we always had and still do. So I'm not sure if we're still covered, assuming a USMS member is in one of the support boats overseeing the swim? We should definitely ask them if the rules for "coached workouts" have changed because that's a huge impact. I imagine they'd lose the club as a masters team if not as there's no other reason for the club to pay for membership aside from the supplemental insurance.

    One other thing that bugs me about USMS's decision - they have a registered USMS club, SERC, that runs more open water events in a year than many other organization in the country in one of the busiest shipping channels in the country. A USMS club whose only place to swim is the SF bay. We have a great deal of experience with planning and executing safe swims for our members and the public. And yet to my knowledge they didn't contact any current or recent swim commissioners from SERC to get feedback before making these changes. Perhaps they asked someone from the Dolphin Club, which runs far fewer swims but is similar to SERC?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    trouble said:

    One other thing that bugs me about USMS's decision - they have a registered USMS club, SERC, that runs more open water events in a year than many other organization in the country in one of the busiest shipping channels in the country. A USMS club whose only place to swim is the SF bay. We have a great deal of experience with planning and executing safe swims for our members and the public. And yet to my knowledge they didn't contact any current or recent swim commissioners from SERC to get feedback before making these changes.

    Sadly, many in the USMS leadership have probably never heard of the South End Rowing Club.
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    trouble said:

    In 2010 when I was swimming commissioner at the South End Rowing Club, I got in touch with USMS to find out what insurance they actually provided and how the South End, a USMS team, was covered. The USMS office put me in touch with the insurance underwriters because they weren't able to answer many of my questions.

    It became clear to me through my conversations with the insurance agent USMS worked with at that time that USMS insurance wasn't adequate insurance for the open water swims we put on for members of our club. It was a fine supplemental insurance, it could help to keep our primary insurance rates low. But it didn't insure against most of the major things that open water swimmers in San Francisco face - boats, for example. The USMS insurance specifically stated that it didn't offer any protection to swimmers struck by boats or to boaters operating vessels for swim support.

    Does anyone have an entire copy of the policy? I'd love to read it (seriously).

    Never trust what an insurance agent tells you about a policy, or what an underwriter believes it means. The only time they get called as a witness is by the plaintiff in an insurance case where the agent or underwriter stated there was coverage for something NOT covered under the policy language.

    I assume USMS has had their attorney review the policy provisions and gave their legal opinion to the committee before they made their recommendations.

  • @bobswims The document I was looking at back in late 2009/early 2010 is still accessible online. http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/lmsc_hb_ins.pdf

    And the updated 2013 documents are here: http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/gto_ins_general.pdf

    I'm not an attorney and I'm not an insurance agent.... but notice the last line under Exclusions (pages 2-3 of both docs):

    "• Operation, ownership, maintenance, loading or unloading or use of aircraft or watercraft."

    That's the line that caught my eye and made me ask questions back in 2010 and the same line is still in the documents in 2013.

    @lcollette I don't see any changes to the wording about what a practice is.. The 2013 document still seems to say that for USMS "practices" you can have a "member-coach". I don't see anything requiring a "certified" USMS coach. From page 11:
    "11. Under “Insured Activities”, Practices, it states the activity must be under the direct supervision of a [b]USMS member or USA Swimming certified coach who is also a USMS member. How do you define “direct supervision”?[/b]
    “Direct Supervision” is defined as “line of sight”. The participants must be in the supervisor’s direct line of sight. This means the supervisor cannot be practicing with the group, in the office doing paper work, etc."
  • lcolettelcolette Charter Member
    I know that it was specifically brought up in the Pacific meeting that the coach has to be USMS not USAS, USAT, etc... registered USMS member may be fine but a number of coaches on deck are USAS or USAT...
  • edited March 2013

    most are members because of the insurance.

    Probably 70% of the people who belong to USMS wouldn't sign up if it wasn't a requirement to participate in group swimming practices.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2013
    I wanted to bump this thread because in retrospect, I derailed it with my references to the silliness at the USMS forum. For now I will simply link to the thread - and a new one started by @david_barra, without commentary. I also deleted the unproductive posts (starting with mine), to make this thread easier to follow.

    Original "stupid people and lawyers" thread
    New "OW sanctions beyond 2013" thread

    Before I derailed this thread, we were having an interesting/important discussion of the status of OW "coached workouts" under the new USMS guidelines. The South End, for example, runs almost all of its OW activities under this umbrella.

    Can anyone provide more clarification on this?
  • Got this in my email around lunchtime:

    Open Water Insurance Surcharge Rebate Program

    March 15, 2013
    To all LMSC chairs, vice chairs, sanctions chairs, and open water chairs:

    The U.S. Masters Swimming Open Water Committee is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has approved and funded an Open Water Insurance Surcharge Rebate Program. Rebates of up to $1,000 are available to LMSCs to help offset the newly instituted open water sanction insurance surcharge.

    Insurance costs associated with sanctioned open water events in 2013 have gone from $0 in prior years to $1,800 per event in 2013. Earlier this year the BOD approved a plan to fund $800 of each sanctioned, non-solo open water event's insurance cost and pass the remaining expense [$1,800 for solo (individual or relay) events and $1,000 for all others] to the LMSC sanctioning the event. The LMSCs can pass some or all of this remaining expense to the event hosts.

    The Open Water Committee and the BOD realize that event hosts, LMSCs, and USMS did not anticipate or budget for this expense. Some LMSCs simply do not have the capacity to fully absorb the insurance surcharge passed along to them, and some event hosts do not have the capacity to easily accommodate increased sanction fees from the LMSCs.

    Therefore, the Open Water Committee requested additional funding to help LMSCs that don't have the financial resources to promote the development of and participation in open water swimming.

    Open Water Insurance Surcharge Rebate Program Highlights
    Rebates will be awarded to LMSCs for specific events, as identified in the application.
    Rebates will be awarded primarily on a basis of financial need. However other considerations, such as distribution of monies geographically, will be considered.
    Rebates will not be awarded for sanctioned solo (individual or relay) swims.
    Rebate preference will be given to events hosted by USMS clubs and their workout groups.
    Rebate awards to LMSCs will not exceed the USMS insurance surcharge amount, less any LMSC-imposed sanction fee.
    A five-member review and approval panel has been formed. The members of the panel were selected from the Open Water, Finance, and Long Distance committees, and from the BOD. The Open Water Compliance Coordinator will also sit on the panel.
    The rebate review and approval panel may fully or partially award rebates, defer action, reject applications, or return applications to the submitter for additional information.

    When filling out the rebate application, please be prepared to answer the following questions:
    Event information: Name, sanctioning LMSC, event dates, sanction number (if already sanctioned)
    Amount of rebate being requested
    Rebate request contact information: Requester name, email, and phone; recipient name, email, and phone
    Briefly describe why you are applying for this rebate
    If 2013 entry fees are the same as 2012 entry fees, explain why they were not raised. What other additional revenue sources have been explored?
    Event host financial forecast: revenue, expense and contributions to organizations other than event host
    LMSC financial summary: Revenue, expense, and anticipated 2013 open water insurance surcharge expense
  • evmo, thanks for bumping the thread. It's important for this community to continue asking questions, and not get derailed by the embarrassing buffoonery of a USMS mucky-muck.

    Here's a thought:

    I wonder if USMS is withdrawing from the Swimming Saves Lives (SSL) foundation to pay for this rebate program, like they did with Omaha Long Course Nationals last summer. It sounds like they've got @ $50K to throw at the problem if each LMSC gets $1000. That makes it more of a PR stunt than a solution.

    Although using money from the SSL to help open water would be a much more worthy use of the money (IMO) than Omaha Nationals, the foundation doesn't seem like it was set up to support competitive events. If you read the description (http://www.usms.org/giving/) it makes the foundation seem like it's set up to benefit people who can't afford swim lessons.

    It raises soooo many questions. That's why I encourage the open water swimming community to stay on it, give USMS all the scrutiny it deserves, and don't allow this ethically-challenged organization to continue sanctioning your open water events.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited March 2013
    I've look at the USMS openwater calendar
    There were 157 on the 2012 calendar and 118 of those were sanctioned.
    At the moment there are only 36 on the 2013 calendar and 18 of those are sanctioned.
    Q1/ How was the decision reached to only foot the bill for 75 events?
    Q2/ Is the calendar slower filling this year?
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • Niek said:

    Q1/ How was the decision reached to only foot the bill for 75 events?
    Q2/ Is the calendar slower filling this year?

    No idea on your first question.

    For your second question, I suspect it is. There is more to the process this year, and even with the vague rebate program that national has communicated, I don't think that all of the LMSCs know how they are going to deal with the extra $1000/sanction bill.
    If they plan on passing on the costs to the races, I'm guessing that the races can't afford to bear this cost.

    Please keep in mind that I'm guessing, and have next to no basis for my statement
  • How can anyone know what USMS is doing when USMS doesn't know what it's doing?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    USMS may or may not know what they are doing. We have no way to know, because they don't make much effort to communicate the facts and reasoning behind their decisions. Indeed, they seem to actively avoid such pro-active communication.

    Best case scenario, they know what they are doing but are terrible at PR. To me, that seems overly optimistic.
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