By Phillip Whitten
DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 12. UNITED States masters Swimming President Nancy Ridout announced early this afternoon that she is postponing the organization's annual convention, which was set to begin today.
Meanwhile, USA Swimming has not yet decided whether or not to postpone its convention, which was to have begun yesterday. According to USA Swimming spokeswoman Mary Wagner, only about one-third of the delegates had made it to Dearborn as a result of the disruptions caused by yesterday's vicious terrorist attacks on the United States.
The following is the text of USMS President Nancy Ridout's message:
"To all USMS 2001 Convention Delegates,
"The tragic events of September 11th have cast a shadow over the whole country. We are saddened and mourn with all the victims of this incredibly terrible happening.
"On the practical side, people are not able to get flights and it is uncertain when our airports will reopen and the backlog of passengers rebooked. Here on the West Coast, it may be a couple of days before the regulations can be put into effect. In the Northeast, it is the same.
"Because the issues that we are to address are important, because we are scheduled to have an election, and because representation will not be
strong (I have heard from at least 50+ delegates who will not be attending), I am postponing this convention. We will reschedule it as soon as we can
(hopefully before the end of the year) in a place that is centrally located. I will update you with the latest information as soon as new plans are finalized.
"Thank you all for the fine work you have done this past year, for your willingness to spend your time and money to attend this convention to help this organization do the business it needs to do to keep our program strong and healthy, and of course for your patience.
"These are extraordinary times and your thoughtful replies for input into this decision have shown me again, what an incredibly supportive and intelligent group of people make up United States Masters Swimming.
"I will miss being with you this weekend but I think this decision is in the best interests of the organization.
"Please call the hotel to cancel your reservation. All airlines have promised full refunds. We will reschedule our convention and will keep in touch.
"Thank you for being so patient and God bless you.