Ho’omalu I na keiki.

(protect the athlete)


Coaching & the Athlete Protection Program


USA Swimming’s House of Delegates passed legislation at the 2010

Convention committed to fostering a safe and positive environment

for all of its members.  The Athlete Protection Policies and Rules foster a safe and healthy environment, responsible reporting, and education for athletes, parents, coaches, and volunteers. The following categories contribute to USA Swimming’s efforts to provide a safe and positive environment for athletes and all members of USA Swimming.


SafeSport Abuse Prevention Program (Link)

USA Swimming is committed to providing a healthy and positive environment free from abuse for all its members.  USA Swimming’s Safe Sport program, a comprehensive abuse prevention program, consists of a multi-layered approach to keep kids safe, including: required policies and best practice guidelines; mandatory screening, including criminal background checks and employment screening; training and education; monitoring, supervision and mandatory reporting.  These measures are informed by experts in the field of child safety and are among the strongest safeguards found in youth-serving organizations.

Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy (Link)

USA Swimming’s top priority continues to be keeping our athletes safe. No form of abuse, including child sexual abuse, has a place in our sport. As a part of our continued commitment to safeguarding our athletes, USA Swimming has enacted enhancements to our Safe Sport policy requirements.

The Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy (MAAPP) addresses one-on-one interactions, social media and electronic communications, travel: local and team, locker rooms and changing areas and massages, rubdowns and athletic training modalities. Every USA Swimming club, Zone and LSC is required to implement the MAAPP in full.

SafeSport Club Tool Kit (Link)

Safe Sport requires that all USA Swimming members clubs have the following policies in place which must be reviewed and agreed upon on an annual basis.

Educational Resources:

Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

Internet Safety and Best Practices for Posting Pictures Online    

Child Welfare League of America: On Child Abuse    

Dept. of Health and Human Services: Stopbullying.gov    

National Children's Advocacy Center - Safety Tips for Kids    

National Children's Advocacy Center - Safety Tips for Parents    

Prevent Child Abuse America - Recognizing Signs Article



USA Swimming is committed to the safety of athletes and participants involved in sport. The purpose of the USA Swimming background check program is to protect persons at risk, including, but not limited to, minors and vulnerable adults. Criminal background checking is not intended to serve as a pre-employment screening program. Clubs should carefully check references and prior employers.




Question:  If a coach does not follow the rules established under the Athlete Protection Policy such as Article 305.5 and a complaint is filed that the coach shared accommodations in the same hotel bedroom with an athlete will the LSC need to address this complaint?

Answer:  No. A violation of this nature goes directly to a National Board of Review.


Question:  If a coach is brought to the authorities above and found to have violated the rule will the coach automatically not be approved to have a coach’s certification under USA Swimming?

Answer: The coach would be suspended from USA Swimming.

Questions About the Athlete Protection Program?

Abigail Howard, Senior Director, Legal & Membership Affairs   719-866-3529     [email protected]
Liz Hahn, Program Director, Safe Sport    719-866-3542      [email protected]
Trish Hughes, Background Check Coordinator & Safe Sport Administrative Assistant   719-866-3536   [email protected]