By Pam Redding
SAN DIEGO, September 18. THE U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention was held in San Diego last week. Here are the disability swimming-related highlights:
Congratulations to Anneliese and Walt Eggert, winners of the USA Swimming Adapted Committee's award. This honor is presented for furthering disability swimming. Anneliese and Walt are long time committee members, actively LSC Adapted Chairs, and invaluable resources when it comes to the rules of our sport. We are all grateful for their dedication to disability swimming!
Who knew that Travis Mohr would win the Trischa L. Zorn award? Everyone who looked at his incredible and steady accomplishments throughout the year knew that he was the best choice. Since the award is given for excellence in disability swimming, it is only fitting that someone who earned two gold medals at the 2002 World Champs (100m back and breast), and four Pan American records (100m back at Worlds plus 100m free, 100m breast and 200m IM in Edmonton) receive the honor.
It was great that Trischa was at the Convention to make the official presentation to Travis herself. This is the first time that the swimmer was present to receive the award in person!
Two important pieces of legislation came before the House of Delegates. The first one, the use of ID cards to ensure that swimmers with disabilities would be judged according to the IPC exceptions listed on them, passed in an omnibus motion with other proposals. U.S. Paralympics will issue the cards to all American swimmers who have IPC classifications. They will appear in swimmers' mailboxes this fall.
The intent is that it will be easier for the local USA Swimming officials to understand the specific disability accommodations that the swimmer requires since they are listed on the card. Swimmers who do not present the cards to the meet referees, and those who do not yet have an IPC classification, will be judged according to the guidelines set forth in Article 105 of the USA Swimming Rule Book. Other countries use this kind of ID card system with success-we are catching up and hope that it is a change for the better for everyone!
The second piece of legislation was specific to the rules under which the USA Swimming Disability Championships operates. Use of the IPC Swimming rules is required for approval of a meet so that IPC Swimming accepts the swimmers' times for inclusion in the world rankings. After some wordsmithing by Jack Jackson, Mike Saltzstein and Mike Troy, the proposal passed. It states that the Program Operations folks at USA Swimming will seek approval from IPC Swimming for the meet.
There is VERY exciting news to report at the Zone level. The Southern Zone appointed Stan Morris as its Adapted Swimming Coordinator. The Western Zone will begin a two-year pilot program of inclusion of swimmers with disabilities at the Zone meet. Char Tester is the Western Zone Adapted Coordinator and will lead a task force to evaluate the meet.
The Central Zone completed its two-year inclusion pilot this year and enthusiastically voted to make the inclusion of swimmers with disabilities a PERMANENT addition to its Zone meet. The Central Zone appointed Pam Redding as its Adapted Coordinator and Hank Enterline will assist her.
Note that last year, the Eastern Zone voted to pilot the two-year program of inclusion and it begins this spring with a short course meet in Fairfax, VA. There will be four meets in the Eastern Zone pilot program as they offer both short and long course meets! We all owe a debt of gratitude for this inclusion to Julie Bare, Gail Dummer and Dave Thomas — they worked very hard for years to establish the groundwork so this could be possible!
Adapted Committee Meeting
There is a workshop planned for LSC Adapted Chairs in Colorado Springs January 23-25, 2004. We must have 35 participants for the workshop to be viable. The LSC's are responsible only for the transportation of their representative to the workshop. Participants will be housed and fed at the U.S. Olympic Training Center!
The purpose of the workshop is to give an overview of disability swimming and address five specific target groups: swimmers and parents, coaches, officials, meet referees and LSC folks. There will be disability awareness training and presentations by many of the Adapted Committee members. Reservations are limited and close on December 1, 2003. Let your General Chair know that you want to attend this hands-on workshop! If you are a member of the Adapted Committee and plan to attend to present, please investigate allowing another person from your LSC to attend and learn more about this facet of our sport. The more informed people we have, the better for our athletes!
The 2004 USAS Convention
The 2004 U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention will be in Orlando, FL. It is during the Paralympic Games, so if you do not plan to go to Athens, please plan to attend the Convention to speak on behalf of the athletes! And you athletes should rally your LSC to get more involved throughout the year and hopefully become the athlete representative to the Convention next fall! Travis Mohr and Jarrett Perry represented their LSC's this year in San Diego and had lots of fun!