Wielgus Blog

Chuck Wielgus: Safe Sport and Reporting Issues

USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus established Safe Sport in 2010 to raise awareness and reduce the risk of abuse of athletes.

The following is the decision-tree process for parents or athletes with concerns:

Reporting a concern can often feel intimidating and overwhelming. Please use these guidelines to help you on the first step “Where do I report?” Please use the provided links which will additionally help you get in touch with the appropriate people.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. If you are not sure who to contact with a concern please contact Safe Sport Staff at the National Office and we will be sure to talk through your concern, answer your questions and connect you with the correct people.

If Your Safe Sport Concern Deals with Any of the Following:

  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Criminal Charges
  • Use, Sale, or Distribution of illegal drugs
  • Physical Abuse
  • Inappropriate Touching
  • Lap Sitting
  • Coaches sharing hotel rooms with Athletes
  • Rubdown or Massage performed by coaches
  • Pictures or video taken in locker rooms or changing areas
  • Sexually Explicit/Inappropriate Communication through Social Media

Please contact Liz Hoendervoogt ehoendervoogt@usaswimming.org or Susan Woessner swoessner@usaswimming.org at the National Office or complete the online reporting form.


USA Swimming Safe Sport Week Launched in Indiana

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USA Swimming and Chuck Wielgus established the Safe Sport program in 2010 to raise awareness and reduce the risk of abuse in swimming.

In 2010 USA Swimming and Executive Director Chuck Wielgus launched Safe Sport, an abuse prevention program designed to foster safe, healthy and positive sport environments for all members. USA Swimming has been working to educate athletes, parents, clubs and coaches about their role in keeping the sport safe.

Earlier this month Indiana held its first-ever Safe Sport Week, during which  275 USA Swimming athletes from 20 clubs committed to Safe Sport education. The week of training was spearheaded by Safe Sport Chair Paul Stauder, who was inspired to create educational opportunities for members at a workshop in Denver with other Local Swim Club Safe Sport Coordinators this summer.

“My goal was to visit at least five clubs around Indiana by the end of the year to conduct athlete training sessions, and invite neighboring clubs to appoint and send a club-level Safe Sport Coordinator to observe a session, then go back to their home clubs and conduct similar sessions of their own,” Stauder says.

Key outcomes of Indiana’s 2015 Safe Sport Week include:

  • Doubling the number of Indiana clubs that have started establishing their own Safe Sport culture through athlete and parent training.
  • Doubling the number of Indiana clubs that have appointed a club-level safe sport coordinator who will share accountability for educating their club’s athletes and parents on child protection policies and best practices.
  • At least one in three Indiana clubs participated in the athlete or parent training at some level.

Fortune: Why is Olympic Swimming So Dominant?

Ryan Lochte and Chuck WielgusIn a recent report by Fortune.com,  the question was asked: Why is Olympic swimming so dominant?

There’s Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, and 520 overall Olympic medals in the sport. USA Swimming can explain why the USA is so dominant in the sport. It has to do with management.

An “excellence study,” which USA Swimming shared exclusively with Fortune, looks at the leadership and structure of America’s swim program and finds that it is the school, and not any individual teacher or student, that drives the success.

“It all starts at the top, with Chuck Wielgus,”  says Ryan Lochte. “We have a system. If you go to other countries, they’re going to say the same, but when it comes down to it, Team USA is just the best. And I think it’s because we have something in our system that we don’t break.”


From the Archives: Chuck Wielgus Quote on Michael Phelps

WielgusPhelps“Anytime you can have the most decorated Olympian in history in the pool, it’s a fantastic thing for swimming,” said Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming. “USA Swimming and Michael share the goal of growing the sport, and his return to competition will surely inspire even more kids to give swimming a try.”

Read more about Michael Phelps ending retirement.

Apply Now For USA Swimming Safe Sport Fellowship

What is the Safe Sport Fellowship?
The Safe Sport Fellowship is a 13-month leadership development program designed for high school and college-aged athlete members of USA Swimming who wish to gain leadership skills, be more involved in the Safe Sport movement, and become a liaison between USA Swimming national headquarters and local swim clubs. Fellows will work closely with Safe Sport leadership to develop projects to bring the Safe Sport message to local swim clubs and increase awareness of the Safe Sport movement. The Fellowship is anchored by three Leadership Institutes, where fellows will have the opportunity to engage in a thoughtful curriculum of leadership development practices and set personal goals.

Safe Sport was established in 2010 by USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus.

USA Swimming Safe Sport LogoWho can apply?
Any high school or college age athlete member of USA Swimming who is 15 years old or older is eligible to apply by completing the online application.

What is a Leadership Institute?
A Leadership Institute is a two-day intensive workshop designed to help fellows grow and develop leadership skills. During this time, fellows will have the opportunity to work alongside members of the Safe Sport Committee and other USA Swimming leaders. The January 2016 and January 2017 Leadership Institutes will be hosted at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and the September 2016 Leadership Institute will be hosted at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention in Atlanta, GA.

What is the time commitment?
The Fellowship is a one year commitment from January 2016 to January 2017. Participation in the three Leadership Institutes is mandatory. Additionally, fellows will be expected to implement their Safe Sport projects in the time between Leadership Institutes, including hosting trainings for local swim clubs, launching social media campaigns, and/or developing sustainable Safe Sport programming within his/her LSC. Fellows will be in regular communication with Safe Sport staff members for guidance and support to complete identified projects.

Do I need prior leadership experience to become a fellow?
Not necessarily. USA Swimming will be looking for individuals who display a strong desire to develop leadership skills and identify new methods to advance the message of Safe Sport within the swimming community.

Is there a cost to participate?
No. Travel, room, and board for the Leadership Institutes will be provided by USA Swimming. Supplies needed for Safe Sport projects will also be provided.

Is it a paid fellowship?
There are no financial rewards for fellows, however, travel, room, and board will be provided by USA Swimming. You will gain valuable experience, create new professional connections, and experience an opportunity to plug into the governance of USA Swimming in an unprecedented way.

Important Dates:
• Application window: October 1-November 10, 2015
• Leadership Institute #1: January 29-31, 2016
• Leadership Institute #2: September 18-25, 2016
• Leadership Institute #3: January 2017 (date TBD)

Contact Maggie Vail, Safe Sport Education Specialist, with questions at (719) 866-3552 or mvail@usaswimming.org.