COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, April 11. JOHN Cruzat will join USA Swimming in the newly created position of Diversity Specialist, effective April 17. Cruzat’s sole focus with USA Swimming is to find ways to attract a broader range of young athletes to the sport. USA Swimming is one the few national governing bodies to create a position devoted to diversity.
“Creating this position is the right thing for us to do to help ensure the long-term viability of our organization in meeting the challenges of the changing demographics of the American population,” said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming Executive Director. “I see in John the sort of change-agent that USA Swimming needs to help us be successful in the challenge we are giving ourselves.”
“This is an amazing opportunity to pioneer an initiative that will impact the future of USA Swimming,” Cruzat said. “Our goal is to change the way competitive swimming in the United States is perceived all over the world.”
Cruzat will be primarily responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of a plan to increase multicultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity at all levels within both the sport swimming and USA Swimming as an organization. He will also work with other staff members to cultivate relationships and alliances with key national and federal partners.
“In John, we found someone who not only has a love for swimming, but has also personally experienced some of the challenges created by the lack of diversity in our sport,” said Pat Hogan, USA Swimming Club Development Director. “We believe his lifetime of experiences and professional competencies position him very well to accomplish the goals we’ve established for USA Swimming in terms of diversifying the sport.”
Cruzat initially heard about the position after being assigned the task of providing diversity training for USA Swimming as a benefit of the organization’s corporate partnership with the Urban League of the Pikes Peak Region. Cruzat had been the Vice President of Programs for the Urban League since October of 2002, in charge of overseeing and conducting the operational activities of the organization.
Prior to that, Cruzat served in the United States Army for more than 20 years, earning a Bronze Star for his actions in combat during Operation Desert Storm.
Cruzat has been a swimmer his entire life, learning from his father, who was an avid swimmer and made it a requirement that his children be proficient in the water. During his military career, he swam in pools and bodies of water around the world.
“Swimming has always been a great way for me to not only stay healthy, but to continue the wonderful legacy my father began with my own children,” Cruzat said.