IRVINE, California, August 7. THE USA Swimming Task Force on Professional Swimming has put together its final version of the Athlete Partnership Plan, as acquired exclusively by Swimming World. The Task Force will present the proposal tomorrow to the Board of Directors for final approval.
The new proposal eliminates a lot of the prior requirements, while focusing an increased stipend on pro and post grad swimmers. These swimmers would be eligible for an increased stipend up to $42,000 a year, doubling from the current amount of $21,000.
Swimming World has been heavily involved in the conversation and development of this plan as part of its Split Time series. In a series of five interviews, Swimming World dissected the original proposal, and the insight gained from this conversation helped inform the direction of the new proposal.
Here is the proposed plan in full:
1) Athlete Contract: Athletes will not be required to sign a contract with USA Swimming to receive any of the proposed benefits.
2) Stipend Amount: The current stipend amount will be doubled (from $1750/mo to $3500/mo) for pro and post-grad athletes. The stipend for NCAA-eligible athletes will remain at $1750/mo and increase pending approval from the NCAA.
3) Eligibility: To receive the increased stipend amount, athletes must:
• Make the USA National Team by being in the top 6 American athletes in an Olympic event from the combined results of that season's designated championship meets;
• Be ranked in the Top 16 in the world in an individual Olympic event or finish in the Top 16 at the Open Water World Championships; and
• Have exhausted or given up their NCAA eligibility.
There is no age minimum in this proposal and athletes can live abroad and train with foreign clubs and still receive the increased stipend.
4) Prize Money: $100,000 in prize money will be offered at the 2011 National Championships and the 2011 Open Water 10K National Championship. Prize money will also be offered at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
5) Services: The following services will be offered as new National Team services: Orientation Camp, Image Management, Financial Planning, and the USOC Speaker's Referral Network. The Legal Fund will not be offered as a National Team service.
6) Performance Requirements: All athletes receiving funding from USA Swimming will be required to submit a seasonal plan on September 30 or within 30 days of accepting the Athlete Partnership stipend. Athletes will not be required to submit updates to the seasonal plan to the USA Swimming Nationals Team division. Athletes will be encouraged to support the Grand Prix meet series and include these events in the calendar section of the seasonal plan.
7) Support the Sport Requirements: Athletes will be required to adhere to all National Team Division and USADA deadlines. Athletes will be asked to identify two opportunities to support the sport within the LSC, community, hometown, or other similar opportunity.
8) Marketing Requirements: There will be no marketing requirements to receive the increased pro and post grad stipend amount. The USA Swimming Business Development division will use any additional funds from the proposed budget to work directly with athletes for marketing and appearance related opportunities.
9) Monitoring: The USA Swimming National Division staff will present an annual report to the Board of Directors reflecting the athletes' performance and commitment to the Performance and Support the Sport Requirements.