USA Swimming has added another full-time staffer to assist Woessner and dedicated a section on its Web site to keeping athletes safe, including rules and guidelines, as well as instructions for training, screening and reporting potential abuse. In addition, the governing body has released customized online courses that are available for free to the parents of USA Swimming's 300,000 members. In the coming weeks, the organization will be conducting three regional training conferences.
"This is not a one-off, one-time effort," Woessner said. "The local swimming community has reached out to us and asked us to bring the training to them."
USA Swimming also plans to host the inaugural Safe Sport Leadership Conference at Colorado Springs in January, bringing together experts in the field of sexual abuse as well as the leaders of other Olympic sports.
"We just want to further the dialogue," Woessner said.
Several measures to strengthen athlete protection are scheduled to be considered at the convention on Saturday, most notably a ban on coaches becoming romantically involved with an athlete they are coaching, even if it is a consensual relationship between two adults.
Also up for a vote: a requirement that local clubs set up guidelines regarding appropriate contact on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, as well as a proposal that would ban swimmers at any USA Swimming meet from changing into or out of their suits on the deck or anywhere outside the designated locker room area, another step toward reducing the chances of inappropriate contact.
"This is the third convention in a row that we've had a slew of proposals brought forward by the membership regarding safe sport," Woessner said. "We pass legislation, then see how it works in practice. We continue to revise the legislation. Additionally, we've had to create new legislation that addresses some of the new things we're seeing in society."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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