Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2010 USA Swimming Demographics: Open letter to USA Swimming.


Was just going over your 2010 USA Swimmer Membership Demographics and I noticed that those who chose to answer the ethnicity question or what race they are totaled only 53.2% of your clientele. Out of that 53.2% a whopping 75.5% of those members were white. Second place was Asian coming in at 9.2%, Mixed race coming in at third at 7.5%, The Hispanic race coming in fourth with coming with 5.2%, and finally African American, Pacific Islander, Native American, and “other” rounding out the last 2.6%.

The average USA Swimmer is a white female, She is 12-to-13-years-old, and is more likely to resign for another year than her male counterpart. When compared to new members, 50,627 were female versus 37,712 males – there is almost a 13,000 member deficit.

Your retention rate is 69.4%, you had 286,900 members in 2010. (I believe you had 300,000-plus in 2008?)

Hence, My recommendation to the USA Swimming Board of Directors: when numbers dip, so should the bonuses. If the medal count dips, so should the salaries. If there is a gender gap, throw some money in that genders direction. You're a non-profit, spend some money and please don't profit on the backs of 12-to-13-year-old girls.

I also want to note that this is not a letter to begrudge the lack of out reach to ethnic or less affluent communities; I know you have tried with several programs but to little avail. Ultimately, you are suppose to be professionals at this and you should have seen this cultural debacle coming for decades. I do encourage you to come to Los Angeles and see how successful L.A. has been in teaching Hispanics how to swim. You will note that L.A. allows kids to swim for free in highly supervised lifeguard areas all year round and offers other incentives for inexpensive “learn to swim programs as well” – It truly is a template for how your “learn to swim programs” should be conducted.

Your mission statement is to build the sport and field an Olympic team but you have left that up to Michael Phelps, the NCAA and the “creatives” at NBC to make our athletes look sexy and tell a story every four years. Well, Michael Phelps is less than a year away from retirement, the NCAA is shedding swim programs like a dog shedding fleas in a flea-bath, and our potential Men's USA Olympic team for 2012 is not looking that strong on paper as it has in previous years.

Your CEO is paid nearly a million-dollars-a-year yet your numbers are flat, or more accurately dipping. As Michael Phelps use to say, "...This is a wake-up call, ...have work to do, ...Not where we want to be!"

USA Swimming Membership Demographics PDF: [Link]

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

While the seasonal members dipped last year, the number of year around members has increased slightly last year. All the numbers were in the report you linked to. It appears you did not notice them.

Tony Austin said...

Pages please?

Also... have you seen the numbers this year?

If you want I can compare the numbers for the last 4 years?

Anonymous said...

Listing ethnicity on a member registration is optional - so USA Swimming did not 'choose' to only include demographic information on 53%.

Also, your numbers mean little without context comparison to the demographics of the USA. 75% of USA Swimming is white? Guess what, 72% of USA population is white (census 2010 data).

Tony Austin said...

Oh please, you pick one number you like and then you avoid all the rest.

Sir, that officially qualifies you as a dumb-ass for trying to bamboozle my readers into thinking everything is right with the USA Swimming ethnic make-up; an argument even USA Swimming would disagree with.

You have determined with your nonsensical slam that since 72.4% of the US Population is white then a 75.5% white population within the USA Swimming ranks is both symmetrical and somehow reasonable. With that premise, why is it that you left out the census data for other ethnic groups such as African Americans, Hispanics, Asian and others? How symmetrical are those numbers when compared to the USA Swimming “white” population figures?

Yes, 72.4% is white but here is the USA census data you purposely left out:

Those who declared themselves as African or Black: 12.3%

Those that declared themselves as Latino or Hispanic: 16.3%

Those that declared their race as Asian: 4.8%

But here are the non-white statistics for USA Swimming:

Those who declared themselves as African or Black make up a practically invisible: 1.1%

Those who declared themselves as Hispanics or Latino make up 2.8%

Self declared Asians: 2.4%

So, why is it that the African American, Pacific Islander, Native American, and “other” races within USA Swimming round out the last 2.6% of their membership demographics when the national average for African Americans or self-declared Black Americans alone is 6-times that number above?

The answer is that the numbers are grossly asymmetrical and that you piss me off for wasting my readers time.

I also want to include that the definition of "white" has politically evolved over the decades. If one is North African; (read as Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Syria), or From a Muslim country such as Iran, or Iraq, the Census lists as these individuals as "White."

There was a time when those who came from Spain, Romania or Italy were listed as Latin. In my opinion this country is trying to "stack" the white population figures to avoid political fallout and political representation but that is for another blog.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, math is NOT your strong point.

What if 10% of the 46% who didn't respond are African American? You don't now ANYTHING about that 46%.

It would be more valid to normalize the people who answered to 100% and compare that to the general population, as the previous anon commenter did (different anon from me).

Your rant against him or her just shows your ignorance.

TedBaker said...

Frankly, given the economic mess the US is in, I am shocked that the numbers in US Swimming are not down more.

I'm no insider and I don't have - to coin a phrase - a dog in this fight but one would have to think, given current conditions, that enrolment in all sports would be down.

As to ethnicity, again, the current problems in your economy seem to have affected minorities the most. It seems obvious to me that there'd be a connection.

Tony Austin said...

When you are a minority it is always in your best interest to declare.

I have been to pools up and down the coast of California, how you can suggest that there is a possibility of an overwhelming share of swimmers who did not declare their race are of African descent is an anemic argument.

The lack of color in NCAA swimming, US Nationals and at your local pool is so glaring, i don't know how you could even come up with an argument like that

Tony Austin said...

Now there is a rational observation!