10 Most Impactful People in Aquatic Sports in 2014


Our sport is blessed with great people. Some are public figures, others work behind the scenes. As appropriate for this time of year, I want to recognize 10 people who are making an impact in our sport. Thanks to the following people for their contributions and inspiration.


  1. Matt Farrell. The chief marketing officer for USA Swimming successfully launched a national campaign to increase athlete membership with industry Farrell was able to bring industry rivals together to help finance swimming’s first marketing campaign with the belief that everyone in the industry wins with membership growth and retention. Swim Today!
  2. Tom Ugast. The chief executive officer for Nation’s Capital Swimming in northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland took over the devastated Curl-Burke Swim Club af- ter its former owner was sentenced to Ugast successfully rebranded the club, reshuffled the coaching deck and reignited passion that ultimately produced national champions, Olympians and world record holders such as Katie Ledecky.
  3. Alexander Sienkiewicz. The chief marketing officer for SwimOutlet.com has redefined Internet retail marketing through technology, search engine optimization, branding and advertising. The traditional swim shop business has changed forever.
  4. David Arluck. The chief executive officer for Arluck Promotions has firmly established himself as the leader in athlete-centered swim clinics through his founding of the Fitter and Faster Swim Tour. Through consistent marketing, sponsorship and advertising, Arluck and his staff have created a revenue stream for the athletes he represents while promoting the sport nationwide. Brilliant!
  5. Susan Woessner. USA Swimming’s Safe Sport director has worked tirelessly to not only educate the swimming community about sexual abuse, but also to track down, ban and initiate police proceedings to incarcerate those responsible for that abuse.
  6. Robert Allard. As the leading lawyer representing sexual abuse victims, Allard continues to call for leadership change within USA Swimming without recognizing that the organization has initiated significant reforms. Allard’s wide cast of blame paints the entire sport as perverted, forcing the swimming community to defend its moral fiber instead of those who are true Back off, Bob!
  7. Tom Fristoe. The chief executive officer for TeamUnify.com continues to be the 1 platform for a swim club to manage its business. Fristoe was the first to successfully combine all the tools a club needs to manage membership, raise money, run swim lessons, collect dues and distribute information. Good technology wins every time!
  8. Craig Lord. As a journalist for The London Times and owner of SwimVortex.com, Lord has been the leading watchdog on international issues in aquatics. His recent resignation as a member of FINA’s Press Commission, due in part to Vladamir Putin being awarded FINA’s highest honor, showed both conviction and character—two traits that must be applauded.
  9. John Leonard. The executive director for the American Swim Coaches Association continues to work tirelessly behind the scenes, calling for better and cheaper methods for drug testing. Leonard has been the voice for swim coaches worldwide for more than 30 years and has more experience on matters concerning the coaching community than any other person in the sport.
  10. Dr. Brent Rushall. As professor emeritus at San Diego State University, Rushall polarized the coaching community on his Ultra Short Race Pace Training (USRPT) theories. His short yardage training theories continue to challenge traditional training methods, creating an experimental generation of young athletes.


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