By Phillip Whitten
ORLANDO, October 14. USA Swimming, still euphoric from the 33-medal performance of the US Olympic swim team at the Sydney Games last month, approved a proposal today that would provide $370,000 in bonus money for the coaches of American swimmers winning medals at the FINA World Championships to be held in Fukuoka, Japan, next summer. It is the first time the US governing body has ever approved bonus money for coaches.
The bonus program, first proposed by National Team Director Dennis Pursley to USA Swimming's national convention meeting in Orlando, Florida, calls for a $370,000 pool to be divided among up to three coaches for each of the US swimmers winning medals at the World Championships. "This would reward not only the current coach of a successful athlete, but also those coaches who had been instrumental in bringing him or her to this level of achievement," said Julia Gorman, newly elected chairman of the athletes' executive council, which supported the proposal.
Pursley's plan calls for a four-year, $3.7 million bonus program for coaches. Only the first year of the plan was approved at the convention. The remaining three years of the plan will be considered by the organization's board of directors next January.