USA Swimming Develops Plan to Aid Individuals Affected by Hurricane Katrina

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, September 29. USA Swimming announced Wednesday the largest charitable donation program in the history of the organization to support hurricane relief. The organization committed its projected Swim-A-Thon revenue for the next year by guaranteeing a minimum donation of $130,000.

Swim-A-Thon is a program administered by USA Swimming, a non-profit organization that provides local swimming clubs a fundraising program in which people pledge financial support based on how many laps in the pool a swimmer will complete. It is traditionally used to raise funds for local swimming clubs.

Additionally, USA Swimming designed a unique “match or exceed” program by encouraging its nearly 3,000 clubs in the United States to designate an additional contribution of its Swim-A-Thon proceeds toward Hurricane Katrina relief. The combination of USA Swimming’s commitment coupled with revenue generated by the individual clubs in the “match or exceed” program provides a limitless potential contribution from the USA Swimming family. If USA Swimming revenue from the program exceeds $130,000, then an additional contribution will be made in September 2006 at the conclusion of the program.

“This program will rally swimmers to play an active, local role to help in the wake of this overwhelming tragedy,” said Ron Van Pool, USA Swimming President. “Our financial contribution can help make a difference, but just as importantly, we want to be leaders in encouraging social responsibility, water safety and fitness within our organization. Our members can actively take part in the relief effort by jumping in the pool, which will be a valuable life lesson.”

"I am really looking forward to participating in this fund-raiser to do something to help contribute to the relief fund,” said 2005 world champion swimmer Kate Ziegler (Great Falls, Va./The Fish). “These are real people, and real families, that have been so tragically affected and displaced. I can't even begin to imagine how overwhelmed they must feel."

The USA Swimming funds will be divided equally between the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross Katrina disaster relief funds. The member club may designate any additional funds in the “match or exceed” program to the recipient of its choice.

USA Swimming receives five percent of the gross revenues generated from all clubs to run the program. The donation will encompass Swim-A-Thon programs run between Sept. 1, 2005 and Aug. 31, 2006.

The program came at the recommendation of a special Hurricane Katrina task force set up Sept. 1 by Van Pool, and chaired by USA Swimming Local Administration Vice President Mary Jo Swalley. The task force will continue to evaluate the impact of the storm on the swimming community.

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