Susan Woesner gives a lengthy interview to Swimming World Magazine. Deep within the the interview is an answer to a question that some of us have been asking for about 3-years now. That is: having a no one-on-one coach/swimmer policy so as to protect both the coach and swimmer. It is refreshing to hear the answer:
Now, the key phrase within that answer is actually the last sentence: "...it would need to be proposed to the Rules and Regulations Committee and voted on by the House of Delegates at the annual convention. ..."One item that has continually been brought up as a way to better the Safe Sport initiative is to implement a no one-on-one policy where coaches and athletes are not allowed to be anywhere by themselves. The reasoning is that both the athlete and the coach are protected with this type of a policy, as the athlete would then never be in a position to be victimized, and a coach would never be in a position to have a false accusation without a witness. Can you explain why this policy is not in place, and what it would take to get the policy implemented into the code of conduct?
Two-deep leadership is not currently required as a hard and fast rule by our Code of Conduct. However it is addressed by the Athlete Protection Best Practices in three different ways:
2. All swimming practices should be open to observation by parents.
3. Two-deep Leadership: One coach member and at least one other adult who is not in the water should be present at all practices and other sanctioned club activities whenever at least one athlete is present. Clubs and coaches should evaluate their seasonal plans and map out how to best accomplish this strongly recommended guideline.
4. Open and Observable Environment: An open and observable environment should be maintained for all interactions between adults and athletes. Private, or one-on-one situations, should be avoided unless they are open and observable. Common sense should be used to move a meeting to an open and observable location if the meeting inadvertently begins in private.
In order for it to get passed as measure in the USA Swimming Code of Conduct, it would need to be proposed to the Rules and Regulations Committee and voted on by the House of Delegates at the annual convention.
So, If the members submit that policy for a vote at the next convention and it is summarily voted down by the delgates then USA Swimming, like Pontius Pilate, would be morally entitled to emphatically state to the USA Swimming members: "Lavo manus meas." I wash my hands of this, the responsibility is yours.
Please make them share that responsibility with you rather than you shoulder that "cross" alone.
Painting-by Antonio Ciserie