PHOENIX, Arizona, May 16. THE USA Swimming House of Delegates could see some drastic changes to its meeting schedule and delegate appointment soon, with three new proposals on their way to a vote at this September's United States Aquatic Sports Convention.
The proposals were created by members of the USA Swimming Governance Committee, which oversees the practices of the House of Delegates, Board of Directors and the organization's nine committees. One proposed legislation change would reduce the frequency of House of Delegates meetings from once a year to once every other year, in even-numbered years, according to the proposed legislation sent to the Rules and Regulations Committee Tuesday. More efficient and shorter annual meetings were two reasons why the change was proposed, but another major reason was to give delegates the opportunity to be involved in educational opportunities at the convention during the years when House of Delegates meetings are not held.
“The nature of the convention has changed, which is not say it's routine,” said Peter Carney, chair of the Governance Committee. “We can handle all of our business in an every-other-year mode.”
If the House of Delegates moves to a biennial meeting, various USA Swimming committees would be looked to for various rule change approvals, particularly swimming rules handed down by FINA in odd-numbered years. Many rules could be officially ratified at future House of Delegates meetings.
Though many who have attended the annual convention would say the main focus is on the House of Delegates meetings, Carney said that should change.
“Training, education, certification, keeping that sense of family that we have is going to be what this convention is about,” he said. “This kind of family doesn't exist in many Olympic sports anymore. We don't want to lose that sense of family, so we want to keep the annual convention.”
Also up for consideration is a change in the way delegates are appointed. Instead of six delegates automatically selected from each of the 59 Local Swimming Committees, the proposed legislation is reducing the number to four per LSC: the general LSC chairperson, an athlete representative and two at-large members chosen by the LSC. Additional delegates will be allowed in a fashion similar to the number of people each state can send to the U.S. House of Representatives. For every 3,000 active USA Swimming members each LSC has above 2,000, an LSC can send an additional delegate, up to five extra delegates. That means large LSCs will have no more than nine delegates, while smaller LSCs will only have four votes.
Carney said many of the smaller LSCs regularly did not send their allotted six delegates, so the legislation will reduce the burden for those LSCs.
A new paragraph in the section on the House of Delegates will allow the highest-ranking club in the Club Excellence Program from each LSC to appoint one member to the House of Delegates, if that club earned Gold or Silver status. Carney said that would be about such 32 clubs with that added representation opportunities.
“The club level is where our success starts,” Carney said. “We think it adds to the diversity of the (delegate) selection process and allows a group that is probably already represented to have a vote. But some (clubs) didn't have that vote before.”
Another proposal that also deals with scheduling would alter the dates of the convention, from a Wednesday-Saturday calendar to a Sunday-Wednesday calendar. The proposal cites the lack of insight from college coaches at House of Delegates meetings and convention gatherings, as these USA Swimming members often have work-related obligations beyond the pool that keep them away from the convention.
The proposed legislation was first drafted in February, with various “housekeeping” changes since then, Carney said.