ATLANTA, Georgia, September 29. OVER the weekend, Rich Foster earned reelection as the President of United States Aquatic Sports at its 29th annual meeting held in Atlanta, Ga.
USAS is the umbrella organization encompassing USA Swimming, USA Diving, United States Synchronized Swimming, USA Water Polo and United States Masters Swimming.
During the annual meetings, many of the member organizations elected people to leadership positions:
USA Diving: Bob Rydze, Chair of the Board, elected for a four year term
USA Swimming: Jim Wood, reelected to this position for a two year term
United States Synchronized Swimming: Duke Zielinski elected for a two year term
The following National Governing Bodies did not conduct elections this year and the officers remain unchanged:
USA Water Polo: Mike Graff, Chair of USA Water Polo Board of Directors
United States Masters Swimming: Rob Copeland, President
At the annual meeting of the United States Aquatic Sports Board of Trustees the following additional officers were elected:
Vice President: Steve Mc Farland, a representative from USA Diving
Vice President: Ron Van Pool, a representative of USA Swimming
Secretary: Laurette Longmire, a representative of United States Synchronized Swimming
Treasurer: Mel Goldstein, a representative of United States Masters Swimming.
Foster also introduced two individuals who were attending the USAS Convention as the guests of United States Masters Swimming. Javier Careaga, serves as the President of the Mexican Swimming Federation and is also a member of the FINA Technical Swimming Committee. John Perez is the President of the Puerto Rico Masters Swimming Federation and also serves as the webmaster for the UNION AMERICANA de NATACION (UANA).
The USAS President reminded the delegates that FINA celebrated their 100th Anniversary in July. USAS marked the occasion with a FINA 100 Year Celebration on the July 4th in Omaha, Nebraska hosted by USA Swimming. The following are the remarks that President Foster made during the luncheon which was attended by FINA Treasurer Julio Maglione:
When Chuck Wielgus asked me to say a few words about how important FINA has been to the U.S. aquatic sports in the last ten to fifteen years, I contacted each of the disciplines and asked for their feedback. Their response was incredible. Here a few of the highlights.
Addition of Olympic Events
As you all know, there has been incredible pressure to reduce the number of athletes participating in the Olympic Games. The burden of hosting the Games is tremendous. Many sports have seen their numbers drop, but not the aquatic sports. FINA has been one of the most proactive International Federations and has actually added aquatic events to the program.
In 1996, it added the 4 by 200 freestyle relay for Women
In 2000, it added women's water polo to the Olympic program.
In 2000, it added 3 and 10 meter synchronized diving events for both men and women
In 2008, it added open water swimming to the program in Beijing.
Adding World Class Events
But it's not just the Olympics where FINA has been proactive. Every one of our disciplines has benefited from FINA's efforts to establish world class events.
In swimming, FINA established the World Cup.
In diving, FINA has established the Grand Prix, World Series and World Cup
In water polo, FINA organized the World League for men and women.
In synchronized swimming, FINA created the World Trophy
In Masters, FINA created the Masters World Championships.
These world class events are important because the give our athletes a high level of competition and they provide regular world-wide media attention.
Promoting the interests of Athletes, Coaches and Officials
No International Federation can be truly successful without significant dialogue with athletes, coaches and officials.
In 1996, FINA created the Athletes' Commission. In 2000, it created the Coaches' Commission. The interaction created by these commissions keeps FINA on top of issues affecting athletes and coaches.
Proper training and evaluation of officials is also extremely important. In all of the aquatic disciplines, FINA has created and operated important judges and referees schools. This is significant because these schools give our disciplines fairness and excellence. It sends a message to the sporting world and the media that the aquatic sports are governed fairly and competently.
Many sports have been plagued by doping issues. Not so with FINA. It has developed and implemented the most aggressive anti-doping programs of any sport. This is important because this gives the aquatic sports credibility with fans and the media.
As I mentioned earlier, there is tremendous pressure to reduce the number of athletes in the Summer Olympics. The IOC was recently considering dropping Synchronized Swimming. FINA did tremendous research and lobbying to establish to the IOC that Synchronized Swimming deserved to be on the Olympic program. FINA's efforts and success for one sport makes the rest feel secure.
I am very proud that USA Swimming has organized this special luncheon and celebration to honor FINA's 100th Anniversary. I must add that it is wonderful that FINA's Honorary Secretary, Julio Maglione, has flown all the way from Uruguay to attend this celebration. It is no coincidence that all of the things I have mentioned came about after Julio was selected to his position in 1992. During this time he has been actively involved in management of FINA and has been an important person in helping to develop FINA's strategies and to implement its decisions. Julio, I thank you for your personal efforts and on behalf of United States Aquatic Sports, thank FINA for everything it has done for the aquatic sports and congratulate FINA on this special occasion.