GREENSBORO, North Carolina, September 15. ONE of the most hotly contested proposals put forth to the House of Delegates (HOD) at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention has been voted down by the HOD today.
Proposal R-16, which would have eliminated all sexual and romantic relationships between adult athletes and coaches, was voted down after a lengthy discussion about the pros and cons of the rule.
The rule specifically would have prohibited “(c) Any sexual or romantic relationship between an adult athlete and any other member (excluding a pre-existing relationship between spouses or life partners) who has a coaching responsibility or other position of authority over such athlete, even if it is a consensual relationship between adults.” Thus, making any USA Swimming member at jeopardy of violating the Code of Conduct by having such a relationship.
Olympian Margaret Hoelzer, a fierce advocate for sexually abused children after stating that she was allegedly abused as a child herself, was one of those standing in support of the measure. She explained that she had been on a team in the past where a coach and an athlete had a consensual adult relationship and that it led to favoritism and animosity within the team.
Meanwhile, Proposal R-3 banning athlete deck changing at USA Swimming events has been passed with a bit of a tweak. Instead of a blanket ban across all USA Swimming sanctioned events, meet hosts must declare up front in their meet announcement whether deck changing will be “strongly discouraged” or “prohibited.”
Swimming World will update this article as more news becomes available regarding this vote, and others on the table.