USMS OW SANCTIONING

124

Comments

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    edited April 2013
    Niek said:

    So they start early when the water isn't that high yet. Besides the length is only 3 km. Problem solved.

    I get that. But nothing like sidestepping the spirit of the rules...
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    timsroot said:

    Let's hope USMS or FINA don't get any bright ideas from the world of cycling:

    You obviously don't remember the issue around the latycar Pan Am championships meet. The story was someone on one of the Fina boards got a burr up their ass about the latycar meet calling themselves the Pan Am championships, this had been done for a few years and at that time FINA didn't have a Pan Am championship meet.

    In the end, the latycar meet's sanction was pulled and any masters swimmer who did the meet would have their masters membership revoked.

    So this has already been done by masters swimming.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Interesting research by Julie on the fallout from some of the recent goings-on at the USMS forum:

    http://lieshurtbutwhocares.blogspot.com/2013/04/social-media-policy.html
  • evmo said:

    Interesting research by Julie on the fallout from some of the recent goings-on at the USMS forum:

    http://lieshurtbutwhocares.blogspot.com/2013/04/social-media-policy.html

    LOL (AWKward!)
    >:)
  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    In regards to social media, most solid business and corporations use there moderators to keep things civilized. If something controversial is going on they generally instruct the moderators to say nothing or only messages that have been pre-approved by the PR, legal and or compliance departments. Generally debating, adding fuel to the fire, getting there buds to respond and posting under a pseudonym is strictly prohibited.
  • lakespray said:

    most solid business and corporations...

    USMS does not operate like a business or corporation. As a result, the organization is on very shaky ground.

    In the real world, the moderator would immediately be removed and forced to resign from the Board of Directors. And let's not forget, the person at the center of this debacle is the 2011 recipient of the Ransom Arthur Award, the organization's highest honor, given annually to the person who has "done the most to further the objectives of Masters swimming."

    These folks clearly do not know the difference between good and bad, or right and wrong. No wonder USMS open water sanctioning is such a big fat ugly mess.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    Well, USMS has cost me lifeguard coverage unless I can find something else. USMS's insurance provider refuses to name the company that was supplying lifeguards as additionally insured, and the lifeguard's insurance company won't cover them for a race.

    I really think it's bullshit that USMS no longer covers their volunteers. It sends a horrible message, and leaves a potentially big liability gap, which they supposedly were trying to cover with the new requirements.

    Last time I try to work within the arbitrary USMS requirements as a race director.
  • edited April 2013
    Niek said:

    Maybe that's why their insurance broker could afford to raise the insurance so high. Nobody capable to object.

    I still feel like the rate hike was partly in response to the devolving culture of USMS.

    Having unethical, inept and arrogant leaders creates liability in a variety of ways. It can't sit well with the insurers, and they're right to want to protect themselves from USMS. Raising the rates could also be a way to drive USMS away. If I was running the insurance company, knowing what I know about USMS, I would not want to continue doing business with USMS.
  • timsroot said:

    I really think it's bullshit that USMS no longer covers their volunteers. It sends a horrible message, and leaves a potentially big liability gap, which they supposedly were trying to cover with the new requirements.

    As I understand the 2013 USMS insurance, all officials and volunteers are covered for liability at USMS sanctioned events. At least that is what it says in the insurance coverage grid in http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/gto_ins_general.pdf Tim, can you let me know who told you that volunteers are not covered for liability? If this is true it’s news to me and I would agree, this leaves a big liability gap.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited April 2013
    timsroot said:


    Last time I try to work within the arbitrary USMS requirements as a race director

    I'm still dealing with the can of worms that opened up just from researching the various new insurance and equipment requirements of USMS. Even with an independent insurance carrier, there have been unforeseen consequences for us.... a royal f-ing pain in the ass for sure.

    I don't have any reason to believe that things will improve much in the future as I was told this past weekend not to expect any sweeping policy changes, but who knows.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    As I understand the 2013 USMS insurance, all officials and volunteers are covered for liability at USMS sanctioned events. At least that is what it says in the insurance coverage grid in http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/gto_ins_general.pdf Tim, can you let me know who told you that volunteers are not covered for liability? If this is true it’s news to me and I would agree, this leaves a big liability gap.

    Rob, I know that you are aware that USMS sanction requires certificates of insurance from volunteer boaters, and a $1,000,000 policy from hired boaters.... so it would appear that sanction requirements and insurance coverage are the two different heads of this monster.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    As I understand the 2013 USMS insurance, all officials and volunteers are covered for liability at USMS sanctioned events. At least that is what it says in the insurance coverage grid in http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/gto_ins_general.pdf Tim, can you let me know who told you that volunteers are not covered for liability? If this is true it’s news to me and I would agree, this leaves a big liability gap.

    Looking through the email chain (which I forwarded to you), apparently it is because I am hiring them instead of having them volunteer. I was told pretty plainly that they couldn't be covered or named as additionally insured.

    Something seems inconsistent, at best, and f'ed up, at worst. I'm thinking it's leaning toward f'ed up.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    timsroot said:


    Looking through the email chain (which I forwarded to you), apparently it is because I am hiring them instead of having them volunteer.

    At the OW safety conference hosted by USMS in March of 2011, one of the recurring themes was "hire professional safety personnel"
    It doesn't seem like USMS took this detail to heart, or maybe the only folks they think are worthy of a paycheck are in Sarasota?

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    At the OW safety conference hosted by USMS in March of 2011, one of the recurring themes was "hire professional safety personnel"
    It doesn't seem like USMS took this detail to heart, or maybe the only folks they think are worthy of a paycheck are in Sarasota?

    Hard to say. I know nationally USMS is remarkably tone deaf. Between the LS bullshit last week, and the ongoing struggles with open water sanctioning, they've made that pretty clear. Another thing adding to my frustration is that my local LMSC leadership doesn't seem to know what all it takes to put on an open water event, even in the sheltered puddle category like I'm trying to pull together. I'm sure other LMSCs are different, but there seems to be a lack of understanding, locally, how different an open water event is from a pool event.
  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    I'm curious in all that is happening with USMS, besides the Kingdom Swim have other event directors on this board contacted the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) and if so have they proven helpful or not?
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    timsroot said:

    As I understand the 2013 USMS insurance, all officials and volunteers are covered for liability at USMS sanctioned events. At least that is what it says in the insurance coverage grid in http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/gto_ins_general.pdf Tim, can you let me know who told you that volunteers are not covered for liability? If this is true it’s news to me and I would agree, this leaves a big liability gap.

    Looking through the email chain (which I forwarded to you), apparently it is because I am hiring them instead of having them volunteer. I was told pretty plainly that they couldn't be covered or named as additionally insured.

    Something seems inconsistent, at best, and f'ed up, at worst. I'm thinking it's leaning toward f'ed up.

    So let me get this straight. USMS has their insurance rates jacked up because (in part) they had 3 big claims, one of which was related to an open water event. To try to limit the amount of the increase in premium they place restrictions and requirements on OW events. Once of those is that the insurance acquired (and paid for) through USMS for an event , will only cover inexperienced volunteers, but not trained professionals.

    However, if you go forward with volunteers instead of professionals and reduce safety for the event, the likelihood of a claim against USMS increases. This could lead to higher rates once again, which will ultimately raise the cost of insurance in the future and potentially lead to USMS pulling out of OW completely. Am I missing something?
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    bobswims said:

    So let me get this straight. USMS has their insurance rates jacked up because (in part) they had 3 big claims, one of which was related to an open water event. To try to limit the amount of the increase in premium they place restrictions and requirements on OW events. Once of those is that the insurance acquired (and paid for) through USMS for an event , will only cover inexperienced volunteers, but not trained professionals.

    However, if you go forward with volunteers instead of professionals and reduce safety for the event, the likelihood of a claim against USMS increases. This could lead to higher rates once again, which will ultimately raise the cost of insurance in the future and potentially lead to USMS pulling out of OW completely. Am I missing something?

    That seems to be about the way I read it.

    The quotes from the email chain:

    USMS Insurance Contact asks while forwarding my question:

    I presume the lifeguard service is being paid since a contract is being drawn up. Shouldn’t they be including USMS as Additional Insured rather than USMS adding them as AI?...

    Underwriter contact responds:

    absolutely...If I hire and pay someone to perform a service for me, they are the ones that should provide me with proof of insurance and A/I status. USMS should receive the cert w/A/I status in favor of them. They should also attempt to be protected in the contract through positive indemnification in the event of any negligence by the lifeguards.

  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    timsroot said:

    Underwriter contact responds:

    absolutely...If I hire and pay someone to perform a service for me, they are the ones that should provide me with proof of insurance and A/I status. USMS should receive the cert w/A/I status in favor of them. They should also attempt to be protected in the contract through positive indemnification in the event of any negligence by the lifeguards.

    What the underwriter is talking about is an indemnification hold harmless agreement. It can be a complicated analysis and depends on the claim and policy language. However, it is a provision that seeks to relieve one insurer and their insured (who would be named as an additionally named insured) from the negligence of others who hold such the primary policy.

    For example. You hire lifeguards through a company. The lifeguard screws up and someone is injured solely as a result of their actions. If you get sued and you are additionally named insured on their policy, then it is the lifeguards insurance company that is on risk for the claim. As a result they must defend you and pay the claim if necessary. This makes your insurer who is off the hook very happy. It can also be good for you.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    @bobswims - That part makes sense, but wouldn't it be acceptable in many situations to have both parties name the other as additionally insured? Or is that usually only a one way arrangement?
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    It is typically only one way. In essence in a master/servent relationship the master does not want to be responsible for his servent's screw ups. Importantly, it is usually the master that has the deep pockets. Keep in mind that an Indemnification/Hold Harmless Agreement has to do with liability, and goes beyond insurance coverage issues to ones personal assets.
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    All this gibberish does for me is make me never want to plan to put on an OW swim. Jeez louise.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Same here. I appreciate my do-it-yerselfers even more now
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    IronMike said:

    All this gibberish does for me is make me never want to plan to put on an OW swim. Jeez louise.

    If it were easy: smart people would do it

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    After a long search we found an insurance company that would underwrite the 2013 Boston Light Swim with proper coverage. Most of the companies that we contacted had event insurance policies that contained a "watercraft exclusion". This exclusion meant that any damage or injury involving a motorized watercraft of any size would not be covered. The 8-mile BLS uses motorized escort boats so event policies with this exclusion would have been useless. We finally found an insurance provider that has an adaquite event policy. It does have a watercraft exclusion, but only for boats over 51 feet.

    Here is the contact information for the provider:

    Kara Stone
    Sports Insurance
    www.sportsinsurance.com
    1-866-889-4763x23
    kara.stone@sportsinsurance.com
  • Thanks gregoc - just reached out to her for our "To the Bridge & Back" event in October.
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    For what it's worth, We ended up getting coverage through our regular carrier which insures us as a non profit organization. It includes coverage for 25 days of running, biking, swimming and kayaking events. It covers volunteers and employees. It includes big swims like Kingdom Swim but also our many smaller swims, like our Swim the Kingdom series with seven lakes over the course of nine days, some of which will have 20 to 30 swimmers (like Willoughby) and others 5 to 10. If a swim is affiliated with a charitable purpose, folks may want to strengthen the link and get coverage through that organization's coverage rather than attempt specific event coverage, i.e., the event is actually put on by the YMCA or a local hospital, etc.
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    Just got reminded of this discussion yesterday when I registered for the 2014 Jim McDonnell Lake Swim. It was a bit more than usual: $60. I think I paid $30 or 35 in 2010. I made a comment on my registration about the cost and the swim director wrote me back, saying:

    ...yeah the cost seems high, unfortunately what's happened is insurance at the national level has increased and passed down to the events. We tried to minimize the impact, but had to raise base price for all to defer some of the costs.

    I feel for them, but don't think it'll affect numbers that much as this swim (two swims actually, plus a Saturday clinic) is very popular in this area. We'll see if the numbers of participants are affected or not.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    Bumping this up due to the update today from USMS. First glance seems the propeller guard thing has an alternative now (swimmer spotter).

    N.B., this is a pdf link:
    http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/USMSRiskManagementandInsuranceMemo.pdf

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • richard_broerrichard_broer The NetherlandsMember
    I followed this a bit from afar. I am (as is Niek) from The Netherlands.
    Perhaps a view from our neck of the woods can help.

    In our country each organizer is responsible to insure itself. The regular insurance is only about damages to goods of others or damage to the water or it's surroundings (think about a ship ramming through one of our smaller dikes... It can leave a whole town onder water...). These are a very unlikely events.

    Events are sanctioned if there is no insurence - we (federation) do not actually check as far as I know. A sensible referee however will ask about it and not be referee if there is no insurance.
    Damages to the swimmers is insured by the federation at low cost. That fee is part of the membership fee. I believe is is about € 10 per annum. {Sidebar.... This insurance can only be used if the swimmers own insurance is insufficient (it almost always is - our national insurance system is copied in what US citizens call Obama-care - therefore excellent for the basic care) for instance in event of death the max would be a few thousand euro. We do not have the tradition to sue anybody when an accident occurs. Accidents occur and are not on purpose. No need to claim with the "offender". }

    A local council will not give permit/licence to organize or make use of the water if the organizer does not promise to have proper insurance.

    Am I correct that a swim will not be sanctioned without insurance via the federation? If I ensure elsewere - no sanctioning = number of participants decimated? No proper judging and timekeeping? No proper safety provided by licenced life savers etc? That is not a good way to treat the members.

    Concerning costs: Swims with very high cost and doomed not to last long on the calendar. Expensive swims (in The Netherlands and Belgium) are any swims over 10 euro (say 15 dollars?). The price becomes a (or the) reason not to swim.

    Are the insurers finishing off/killing the organizations in the USA? I hope not!
    Is USMS finishing off/killing the organizations in the USA? I should hope not!

    I suggest to rethink this to save the sport - if my suspitions are correct.
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    The USMS OW chair is having a "peer-to-peer teleconference" on the 13th of March. Announcement here at the USMS forums: http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?23670-Open-Water-Peer-To-Peer-Teleconference

    I find it interesting that the insurance word hasn't been raised (yet).

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Bump....
    http://www.usms.org/admin/conv/2014/owfuture140918.pdf

    ...anyone around here participating in this?

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    2014 USMS Convention — Jacksonville, FL The Future of USMS Open Water Swimming
    A discussion to be led by Rob Copeland, Vice Chair Open Water Committee Meeting Thursday, September 18, 2014 3:30-4:45 pm. City Terrace 7
    In the past 2 years we have seen a 50%+ drop in the number of USMS sanctioned events, while during this same period other organizations have seen moderate to significant growth in the sport. Are we comfortable with this trend?
    1. Update from the Board of Directors Open Water Task Force 2. Open W ater Safety Education for members, event management, coaches, LMSC’ s, non-members
    a. We have made progress in producing content in this area. Has it been enough? b. What else needs to be done? c. Do we as volunteers have the necessary skills and time to accomplish what we plan?
    3. Event Development for new/veteran event management, coaches, LMSC’s
    a. How do we deliver event development content that is helpful without being perceived as additional rules and overhead?
    b. What services can we provide as a “value add” to event hosts? 4. Open Water Training for novice to expert swimmers and coaches
    a. What can we do to provide swimmers and coaches with the tools to safely become better open water swimmers?
    b. Can we develop a clearinghouse of certified Open Water coaches and clinicians? 5. Open W ater partnerships
    a. There are a number of organizations that serve the open water community, are there some that we should reach out to develop a partnership for co-branded events and other services?
    b. How do we do this while ensuring the USMS brand? 6. Infrastructure and Communication (Web site, OW Guide to Operations, Swimmer, social media, webinars)
    a. We currently have a lot of available material on open water swimming, how do we effectively make this readily accessible by our members?
    b. How do we need to work with staff regarding open water information and publications? 7. Definition of success for USMS open water and set any long term goals for achieving that success
    a. How do we define success for USMS open water activities? b. How do we see the USMS Open Water product in 3-5 years? c. How do we define success for the Open Water Committee? d. How do we define success for us individually as committee members?

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2014

    ...anyone around here participating in this?

    2014 USMS Convention — Jacksonville, FL The Future of USMS Open Water Swimming
    A discussion to be led by Rob Copeland, Vice Chair Open Water Committee Meeting Thursday, September 18, 2014 3:30-4:45 pm. City Terrace 7

    Interesting. Three thoughts, for the moment:

    1. Sept 18 is... today.

    2. Cramming these agenda items, much less "The Future of USMS Open Water Swimming" into a 75-minute session seems... telling about where USMS' priorities lie.

    3. How many people who significantly contribute to OWS in the US were even in the room?
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    I don’t know if there was any attempt to reach out to any of us former USMS event directors. I can say that neither I nor Rondi were invited to participate in the discussion.

    I think USMS should just come to terms with the fact that they are uncomfortable and ill-equipted to handle the range of venues and conditions that exixt in the OW world.

    My advice to them would be to embrace an OW program that includes a limited number of measured courses: The 1 and 2 mile cable course, and the 2.5k loop course that could host events of 2.5k, 5k, and 10k. There should be an effort made to offer this range of events annually in each zone since participation will likely be dependent on local turnout. Rotate championships, and continue to reward frequent participation with a points/ all star system.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    edited September 2014

    2014 USMS Convention — Jacksonville, FL The Future of USMS Open Water Swimming
    A discussion to be led by Rob Copeland, Vice Chair Open Water Committee Meeting
    In the past 2 years we have seen a 50%+ drop in the number of USMS sanctioned events, while during this same period other organizations have seen moderate to significant growth in the sport. Are we comfortable with this trend?

    I don't know if Rob views this forum or not but at one time for me personally there was value in participating in a USMS Sanctioned Open Water Championship. However the way USMS leadership handled the insurance issues of 2013 still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, there races just don't interest me much anymore. There are plenty of really great open water events to go to without the USMS political soap opera. I note in the discussion list, no acknowledgement of why sanctions have dropped 50%, I think most of us who participated in this thread in the past, know why. Second, no discussion note if the insurance issue has improved and if some of the expensive requirements such as prop guards etc., have been relaxed.



  • j9swimj9swim CharlestonSenior Member
    As somewhat of an outsider to this it feels like open water swimmers are 2nd class citizens within USMS. we pay dues but receive little benefit as there is no compelling reason to swim USMS events over other events. they fail to present a value proposition to their open water customers and that's why the drop continues. I would recommend they seriously think about whether this is a business they really want to be in and we should decide if we want to be their customers.
  • lcolettelcolette Charter Member
    Having been to USMS conference many times, I'm not invited anymore.
    It seems that the attitude is more 'how do we not get sued?' rather than 'how do we fix or prevent this problem.'
    For example this was the position for a no vote to defibrillators on pool decks. The reasoning was 'if we had them, we could get sued.' Not that a heart attack might not be fatal.
    Until this method of philosophy guiding issues changes I don't see USMS changing their position on Open Water because it is inherently a little more risky.
  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member
    The only reason I'm a USMS member is because my team requires it for their insurance stuff. It offers me little to no benefits otherwise and I don't even look to see if an event is USMS related because I don't care.
    Oh--there is that one benefit. The magazine that every month makes my husband say "Look honey! Your leaflet has arrived!" (Other than that David Barra issue, of course.)

    The other thing, and I may be in the minority here, is that frankly, I wish the sport wouldn't grow too much, too quuckly. I feel like I am opting out of more swims and races because there are just too many people. It feels like a lot of folks are entering the sport unprepared, thereby creating some unsafe situations. (I saw some of that this past weekend at Alligator Light.) At this point, I like the idea of choosing and doing more of my own swims and creating my own challenges.
    rosemarymint
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    I maintain USMS membership because I've found that most foreign swimming organizations require proof that I am a member of a national organization, I assume for insurance purposes. The magazine is okay, but I usually go through it in a few minutes because there is often very little of interest to OW swimmers.

    It is nice also when I'm back in the states for a business trip, with USMS membership I can do drop in swims at other clubs.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • jkormanikjkormanik Boise, IdahoMember
    I maintain my USMS membership solely for the benefit of the workouts provided. Whether they be "open water" or "distance" workouts, they seem to me to be well structured. The "Masters" or "SwimFit" workouts at my local YMCA are not truly "coached." The person on deck simply acts as a scribe and posts the workout. Thus, I have taken to swimming on my own. Frankly, the workouts are the only reason I have a membership.
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member

    2014 USMS Convention — Jacksonville, FL The Future of USMS Open Water Swimming
    A discussion to be led by Rob Copeland, Vice Chair Open Water Committee Meeting Thursday, September 18, 2014 3:30-4:45 pm. City Terrace 7
    In the past 2 years we have seen a 50%+ drop in the number of USMS sanctioned events, while during this same period other organizations have seen moderate to significant growth in the sport. Are we comfortable with this trend?

    They are discussing everything except the fix, How do we lower the price of open water sanctioning.

    The race directors who dropped usms and used other carriers did so because of price, not anything else on that agenda.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member



    They are discussing everything except the fix, How do we lower the price of open water sanctioning.

    The race directors who dropped usms and used other carriers did so because of price, not anything else on that agenda.

    Not true.... some of the insurance requirements and “safety” equipment needed could not be purchased. Period, At any price.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    I thought this would be a good place to report on our swims in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and our raprochement with USMS, for what it's worth.

    We had two stoppers that caused us to be de-sanctioned and stripped of your hosting of the USMS National 10 Mile Championships in 2013.

    First, we could not comply with the flat prohibition of un-caged propellers on our patrol boats (we use kayaks or caged propellers for escort, but use larger patrol boats to provide safety and support on our long courses.).

    Second, USMS required that each boat owner/pilot show proof of insurance. We have always told our volunteer boats (and all of our volunteers) that OUR insurance covers them and not to worry about that.

    USMS changed its standard to allow un-caged propellers, provided that there is a spotter in the boat, in addition to the pilot. We think that's actually a good rule and an improvement. So we are fine with that. Because we have our own insurance, USMS has agreed to accept our insurance in lieu of individual boat owners/pilots.

    With these two changes, and with NEMS support for discounted sanctioning fees, we will be seeking USMS sanctioning for this year's Kingdom Swim in addition to WOWSA Sanctioning. We have bid for and will be hosting the USMS National 10 mile championship in 2016 on our long course, with "few" buoys.

    Our goal: to be inclusive. We've seen many pool swimmers, "lured" into the open water by events such as ours. We've seen many who "grow" mile be mile in the open water.

    I am pleased that USMS is now taking steps to include what I call, "long course" open water swimming as part of its community. Is there more to be done? Sure. But I, for one, think that USMS is making an effort. Heck, they brought in Elaine Kornbau Howley to write for them. And, they have modified their rules.

    Is there more to be done? Absolutely. But, I will say this. When we started Kingdom Swim and as we have grown our swims in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, we have had three major friends who have helped us spread the word. USMS, Daily News of Open Water Swimming and Marathon Swimmers Forum. Each of these three friends have helped swimmers find us. Each of these three friends have helped us help swimmers reach out and take "the stretch" into the open water. and into some major distances in open water swimming.

    I know we are new kids on this block. But, I thought I should say this, for what it's worth.

    Fil

    evmorosemarymintJBirrrdIronMikeJanet
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    Phil,

    Why would NEMS offset sanctioning fees for your races? Other than just because they like you?

    I ask this seriously, in Maryland we have one or two large swims that consist mostly of athletes who are not members of the LMSC. I know that usms says that "Well this sanctioning charge is to the lmsc - not to the race director." For our lmsc, we run a surplus or deficit of a couple hundred bucks every year. So there is no real option to pay the sanctioning fee for an open water race.

    What is different at NEMS that they will pay their side of the sanctioning fee?
  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    Fil said:

    I thought this would be a good place to report on our swims in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and our raprochement with USMS, for what it's worth.

    We had two stoppers that caused us to be de-sanctioned and stripped of your hosting of the USMS National 10 Mile Championships in 2013.

    First, we could not comply with the flat prohibition of un-caged propellers on our patrol boats (we use kayaks or caged propellers for escort, but use larger patrol boats to provide safety and support on our long courses.).

    Second, USMS required that each boat owner/pilot show proof of insurance. We have always told our volunteer boats (and all of our volunteers) that OUR insurance covers them and not to worry about that.

    USMS changed its standard to allow un-caged propellers, provided that there is a spotter in the boat, in addition to the pilot. We think that's actually a good rule and an improvement. So we are fine with that. Because we have our own insurance, USMS has agreed to accept our insurance in lieu of individual boat owners/pilots.

    With these two changes, and with NEMS support for discounted sanctioning fees, we will be seeking USMS sanctioning for this year's Kingdom Swim in addition to WOWSA Sanctioning. We have bid for and will be hosting the USMS National 10 mile championship in 2016 on our long course, with "few" buoys.

    Our goal: to be inclusive. We've seen many pool swimmers, "lured" into the open water by events such as ours. We've seen many who "grow" mile be mile in the open water.

    I am pleased that USMS is now taking steps to include what I call, "long course" open water swimming as part of its community. Is there more to be done? Sure. But I, for one, think that USMS is making an effort. Heck, they brought in Elaine Kornbau Howley to write for them. And, they have modified their rules.

    FIL I'm glad to hear that USMS has made improvements but I'm still curious why were hearing this from you instead of them. If anyone from USMS is listening maybe an article in Swimmer Magazine that goes something like this; What happened in 2012/2013 that caused these problems? Be transparent! Everyone says there transparent but much easier said then done. Go over what USMS has done to address these issues, the items that FIL has pointed out. A mea culpa may be appropriate as well if you want win race directors back to fold. Officially posting on this board would be another way to renew communications with this community.
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    Maybe Elaine can write an article on this topic for the next USMS Swimmer magazine? She's the one voice of OW advocacy in that publication.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • RonCollinsRonCollins Clearwater, Florida, USAMember
    Nobody's mentioned the money lately, but why would USMS cover so much of the cost of the insurance, when most all of their sanctioned events are on sterilized, closed courses that have mass appeal? For example, there is a swim in Sarasota this Saturday, with 500 swimmers paying $40+ to swim a rectangular course. Unless I see that they are spending over $10,000 on the safety patrol, they can certainly do the right thing, and pay the full $1800 for the insurance.

    Ron Collins Clearwater, Florida DistanceMatters.com

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2014
    lakespray said:

    If anyone from USMS is listening maybe an article in Swimmer Magazine that goes something like this; What happened in 2012/2013 that caused these problems? Be transparent! Everyone says there transparent but much easier said then done. Go over what USMS has done to address these issues, the items that FIL has pointed out. A mea culpa may be appropriate as well if you want win race directors back to fold. Officially posting on this board would be another way to renew communications with this community.

    Re: transparency (or lack thereof):

    The posted minutes from the Open Water Committee meeting at Convention include the following:
    The future of USMS Open Water Swimming: Rob Copeland led a discussion to explore the future of USMS open water swimming. He noted that "in the past 2 years we have seen a 50%+ drop in the number of USMS sanctioned events, while during this same period other organizations have seen moderate to significant growth in the sport. Are we comfortable with this trend?" The committee and the delegates from the audience held a lengthy discussion about our future. Additional comments or questions can be sent to the Open Water Chair at openwater@usms.org. Discussion topics are below:
    ... followed by a copy/paste of the agenda items.

    So if you want to know what USMS thinks is the "future of open water swimming in the US".... ask the committee chair.

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