USA Swimming Releases Asian-American Cultural Inclusion Guide

Photo Courtesy: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

USA Swimming has released the organization’s first-ever Asian-American Cultural Inclusion Resource Guide. The guide was created to provide information about resources and tools available to our members and to help engage new audiences.

This is one of many projects the organization’s Diversity & Inclusion team uses to create a culture of inclusion and opportunity for people of diverse backgrounds, including but not limited to race, age, income, ethnicity, religion, gender expression and sexual orientation. By providing educational tools at all levels for staff, LSCs, coaches and athletes, USA Swimming is creating deeper relationships with and providing meaningful resources to underrepresented communities.

Asian and mixed ethnicities are the fastest growing population within USA Swimming membership. According to the 2010 Census, Asian-Americans make up 5.7 percent of the US population, while the 2015 USA Swimming membership numbers exceeded that rate at 6.2 percent of membership. It’s important for coaches, administrators and athletes to be informed and equipped to make swimmers and coaches from all backgrounds feel comfortable as a USA Swimming team member.

“It’s important to intentionally create environments where swimmers from all backgrounds feel included and important,” saidMariejo “MJ” Truex, USA Swimming Director of Programs and Services. “Through these guides, the goal is to welcome and encourage diverse communities to our sport.”

The guide offers information on programs including the National Diversity Select Camp, a Diversity Coach Mentorship Program, and links to the USA Swimming Diversity and Inclusion Resource webpage which has articles, videos, resource guides and other materials to help LSCs and clubs develop multi-cultural programming at the grassroots level. It will illustrate a diverse array within the demographic, including backgrounds of Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Indian, Chinese and others.

Features are included of Asian-American athletes including Nathan Adrian (three-time Olympian and eight-time Olympic medalist), Natalie Coughlin, (12-time Olympic Medalist and 20-time World Championships medalist) and Margaret Guo (2016 NCAA Woman of the Year) as well as Asian-American coaches like Tony Batis (Head Coach at Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics), Naya Higashijima (Assistant Coach at University of California Los Angeles) and Russell Mark (National Team High Performance Manager at USA Swimming).

In 2010, USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis released research that identified key barriers to urban minority group participation in swimming. The study revealed that fear, swimming ability, physical appearance and access to facilities actively prevent minorities from engaging in the sport.

With the creation of the Cultural Inclusion Resource Guides, the Diversity and Inclusion Team is providing tools that will foster an inclusive environment and improve representation at all levels of the sport. The Asian-American guide is the fourth in a series of ‘Cultural Inclusion’ guides – an African-American and Hispanic/Latino guide in both English and Spanish were released earlier last year, as well as a guide for LGBTQ cultural inclusion; a guide for Native American communities will be released next month.

Press release courtesy of USA Swimming.