I went to this years USMS convention in Kansas City and thought I would write a bit about the experience in the hopes that more OMS swimmers might consider serving on the OMS board and possibly attending the USMS convention. Convention is where much of the business of running USMS takes place. We make decisions on Legislation, Rules and meet in various committees (Long Distance, Registration, Competition, Awards, etc.).
Most of the time in convention is spent either in the House of Delegates or meetings. It’s common for the meetings to start at 8:00 AM and run until 7:00 PM. There are a few 15-minute breaks throughout the day and sometimes an hour off for lunch. The House of Delegates is much like congress where each LMSC has an allotted number of delegates that are apportioned according to the size of the LMSC. Our job as delegates is to study the pre-convention packet (148 pages) which contains the convention schedule, meeting agendas, election packets for each candidate, legislation proposals and then discuss this information with fellow delegates and fellow masters swimmers. We then vote throughout the convention to support or reject various ideas, candidates for office, or pieces of legislation. As Delegates, we are supposed to keep in mind the Mission of USMS (To promote fitness and health in adults by offering and supporting Masters swimming programs) and vote accordingly. We listen to presentations and recommendations from the USMS director, committee chairs, and invited speakers. During discussions, delegates have the opportunity to ask questions or suggest amendments to proposals.
This year, several items were newsworthy or hotly debated. Rob Butcher, our executive director has resigned to follow a different passion, so recruiting the next executive director was a common topic of discussion. One of the contentious pieces of legislation was a change to sanction fees for open water and swim meets to better cover the increased cost of insurance for Open Water events. The USMS organization would like to hold more sanctioned Open Water events and was looking for a model that would be revenue-neutral and encourage more sanctioned participation. Discussion was lengthy and lively and the final result made most of the delegates happy. Also, a proposal was made to make Rules and Legislation changes every year instead of alternating years, with only emergency changes considered in the off years. I made a point of talking to several members of both the rules and legislation committees to see what impact they thought that would have on their committee. In the end, the House of Delegates voted to include both Rules and Legislation changes every year.
I continue to be impressed by the commitment of our USMS volunteers and staff. We may hotly debate policies but all wish for the organization to thrive. If you have been considering volunteering for OMS or have any feedback for your OMS board, please email or chat with any of the OMS board members. We exist to serve our members and fully support the USMS mission.