By Phillip Whitten
DALLAS, September 14. BOTH USA-SWIMMING (USA-S) and United States Masters Swimming (USMS) passed dues increases as business wound down today, the penultimate day of the 23rd United States Aquatic Sports convention, being held at the DFW Hyatt Regency in Dallas.
The $15 dues increase requested by USA-S Executive Director Chuck Wielgus was approved by a solid margin, despite the fact that neither the professional staff nor the elected leadership could, or would, explain what the money would be used for, except for 25 percent — about $1 million — that has been earmarked for increasing the presence of swimming on television. When Wielgus first floated the dues increase proposal, all of the funds were to have been earmarked for that purpose.
Annual dues are now $40 per person, plus an additional fee that goes to the athlete's Local Swim Committee (LSC). The amount varies by LSC.
In addition to the $15 increase next year, delegates also approved a $1 per year increase for each of the subsequent 10 years.
Down the hall, Masters delegates approved a $5 per year dues increase, raising annual dues to USMS to $20. There is also an additional fee paid to each athlete's Local Masters Swim Committee (LMSC).
Despite the fact that the increase was the first in 12 years, the proposal, which enjoyed the unanimous support of the USMS Executive Committee, aroused considerable opposition.
The dues increase reduces the projected 2003 budget deficit for USMS to about $100,000.