Bruce Stratton Speaks On Open Water Swimming

Bruce Stratton Speaks On Open Water Swimming

New USA Swimming president Bruce Stratton gave a report on the important things currently going on at USA Swimming.

First off the blocks in his report was the issue of open water swimming:

The first and certainly most important update includes developments with open water swimming. The loss of champion athlete Fran Crippen at a FINA race near Dubai was an incredibly sad tragedy for our Swimming Family. Fran was an unbelievable young man who touched and influenced the lives of everyone who knew him. Following this tragedy, USA Swimming immediately engaged the services of a highly-reputable international firm to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death. At the same time, we appointed a separate independent Open Water Review Commission to review the results of the independent investigation.

The purpose of the Commission is to:

(a) provide the Crippen family with as much information as possible regarding the death of Fran and;
(b) develop recommendations for presentation to USA Swimming and FINA for the improvement of safety protocols, procedures, and precautions for future domestic and international open water competitions.

FINA also appointed a separate Commission to investigate.

We knew that the report from our independent investigator would be completed in mid-February and the follow-up report from our Commission will be available at the end of March. It has been very difficult waiting for these reports because we all want to know the answers and take action now. However, it is extremely important to make sure we have a complete and accurate report of all the facts and the related recommendations. We understand FINA may be releasing its report in the next few weeks and we are on track to meet our expected timetable.

In an additional effort, our National Team staff and volunteers have created a safety checklist for athletes who attend international open water competitions. Since there are hundreds of open water races around the world each year where our athletes can compete as individuals, we wanted to equip them with the proper tools to select races. This checklist has been provided to our athletes and is being used to evaluate upcoming international competitions.

At its meeting on January 29, our Board of Directors established a new Open Water Development Committee. The mission of this committee is to plan for the needs of Open Water Swimming and to generate, evaluate and communicate ideas to assist USA Swimming in planning and developing Open Water Swimming programs. However, its first and foremost responsibility will be to review and consider the reports of the USA Swimming Open Water Review Commission and of the FINA Commission and develop plans for the implementation of the recommendations in those reports.

The appointed members of this new important committee are as follows:

Rick Walker, Chair:
Chuck Kunsman, Safety Education Committee representative
John Kinney, Officials Committee representative
Dr. Jim Miller, Sports Science/Med. Committee representative
Dave Johnson, Age Group Dev. Committee representative
Dave Ferris, Senior Development Committee representative
John Dussliere, Open Water Steering Committee representative
Denny Ryther, member at large
Maddy Crippen, athlete member
Alex Meyer, athlete member
Steven Munatones, member of FINA Open Water Technical Swimming Committee (ex-officio)
Lynn Hazelwood, USMS Open Water Committee Chair (ex-officio)
Sandra Lopez, Staff Liaison

In addition to the establishment of the permanent Open Water Committee, we will hire a full-time staff member whose responsibilities will include planning and facilitating all open water activities and programs within USA Swimming. The search is underway for someone to fill this position and we hope to have someone on board in the very near future

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones