SportsEvents Magazine

AUG 2015

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August 2015 38 SPORT Report t up a few blocks to the historic district where there are loads of cafes, restau- rants, ice cream shops and watering holes," he said. "It makes for an incredi- ble event environment." Working with CVBs and sports commissions provides a good starting point for assistance with promoting events within the local market, as well as identifying local sponsorship prospects, Wielgus said. "In our sport, we also like to engage local swim clubs to provide volunteers and officials," he said. "Obviously, each relationship is different and the trick is to make sure there is a clear understanding on roles and responsibilities." SAFETY FIRST Keeping safety in mind is a chief concern for any USA Swimming event, Wielgus said. "We have established strong proto- cols and procedures for ensuring that not only are athletes safe, but everyone working at or attending the event is also," he said. "Prior to the event, our staff walks through all the scenarios they can think of to assess what happens from the time people enter the venue until they leave." Another component of safety, Wielgus said, is security of the athletes, particular- ly since the sport has grown more popu- lar. "Our athletes are wonderful about signing autographs, and we want that to happen in a safe and positive environ- ment," he said. WHAT'S AHEAD Growth has been the consistent theme for USA Swimming in the last 10 years. According to organization data, USA Swimming has experienced a 46 percent growth in the number of athletes from 2004-2014. It also shows that the reten- tion rate for athletes 13 and older is more than 90 percent, and the number of coaches has jumped by 50 percent from 2010-2014. "The future of our sport is brighter than ever," Wielgus said. "We have athletes who are champion performers, and even more fantastic as people." n

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