Controversy Swirls Ahead of USAS Convention House of Delegates Meeting

DALLAS, Texas, September 14. THIS week, the heads of all aquatic sports in the U.S. have converged on Dallas, Texas for the 2010 United States Aquatic Sports (USAS) Convention. Two of the top swimming topics to be discussed and voted on are Athlete Protection policies related to sexual abuse claims within the sport as well as the Athlete Partnership Plan.

As previously reported, USA Swimming is still looking into ways to increase the National Team stipend for qualifying professional and post-grad swimmers but faces some obstacles in drawing funding from the USOC unless a contract signed by the athlete is added to the package. At the time of this posting, top officials at USA Swimming are still working on a viable proposal to put in front of the House of Delegates this week.

Meanwhile, many are wondering what impact or proposals former USA Swimming vice president Mike Saltzstein might have in store for the House of Delegates this week regarding potential Athlete Protection policies. Saltzstein has been one of the most quoted critics of USA Swimming's handling of the sexual abuse controversy as well as USA Swimming's protection of swimmers in the past and present.

Just before the beginning of the USAS Convention this week, USA Swimming lawyer Jean Weil told Swimming World that Saltzstein is serving as a legal consultant for Robert Allard, the lawyer representing one of Andy King's victims in her lawsuit against USA Swimming. As previously reported, King was sentenced to 40 years for multiple counts of child molestation that spanned decades.

Allard confirms that Saltzstein "is technically serving as a ‘consultant' and offered to do the same for USA Swimming." He, as well as Saltzstein, stated that Saltzstein has never taken and has also refused to be paid for any consultation regarding this case, and that Saltzstein has only volunteered his time to bring about a better plan to protect swimmers within the sport from sexual predators.

As positioning continues, there is still much work to be done this week in Dallas. A new president for USA Swimming will be chosen and an awards banquet will be held. All matters brought before USA Swimming's House of Delegates will come to a conclusion by the end of Sept. 18 when the body meets for the final time.

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