As an extension of the section written in the Athlete Representative Guidebook, we would love to create a space where you can share the projects that have been successful in your LSC.
These are the ones showcased so far that have to do with Leadership Summits across the country.
MARIA DAVILA • SD IMPERIAL
Maria Davila and San Diego Imperial Swimming held its inaugural Athlete Leadership Summit in August 2018.
“The Summit was successful mainly because we had committed athletes on the task force putting it together, as well as LSC Board members and coaches who were excited to fulfill the vision for this event… Athlete attendees were very impacted in the leadership skills they gained through this Summit, and took what they learned and applied it to running for and being elected as LSC Athlete Representatives,” Maria said.
Using her skills from what Maria has learned in the time she was an LSC Athlete Rep, she became the chair for the task force of this event. While she was the chair, Maria encouraged effective communication and motivated those on the task force to get excited about putting on their LSC Summit and seeing it through.
“Athlete attendance at our board meetings increased by 50% and more athletes are actively seeking help from our Athlete Reps to get more involved in the LSC,” Maria said.
Maria’s driving factor behind working hard to plan an event like this one was to encourage athletes to be leaders within their club teams and to encourage the San Diego Imperial Athletes to be a part of governance in swimming.
“Athletes often don’t realize that their voice plays a big role in how the sport is governed, and this is something that I wanted to change by encouraging our swimmers to be leaders not just within their clubs, but within the LSC and USA Swimming as a whole,” Maria said.
ANNIE NORRIS • GULF
Annie Noris and the Gulf LSC hosted a very successful first Athlete Retreat for their athletes’ committee in 2016. The “retreat served as a way to come together as a group for the first time, and start off with a strong basis of unity and leadership within our LSC.”
The time put into planning a successful event like this one is undeniably worth it when the event impacts an LSC in such a positive way.
“Our retreat was successful because around 15-20 teams were represented which had never been done before. It was really fun to finally interact with swimmers across our LSC. We did a lot of team bonding exercises and had speakers come to talk about leadership in our sport,” Annie said.
Planning and executing an event like this one certainly requires strong leadership skills, hard work, and motivation. “I definitely owe my ability to speak in public to being an athlete rep. I was able to build up a lot of confidence through the leadership skills I learned, and it helped me build up others around me. I think one of the best things you can do as a leader is to pass on your skills to others,” Annie said.
JACK SWANSON • MINNESOTA
AEC member, Jack Swanson, held a significant leadership role in planning USA Swimming's inaugural leadership summit in 2018. His “main focus was the broad focus of developing the vision of the Summit, and the specific goals” they wanted to accomplish.
When planning such a large event like this one, Jack expresses the importance of planning in advance.
“We had a list of goals that we wanted to accomplish, which included specific learning outcomes, as well as specific skills or traits we wanted participants to take back to their LSCs. These all came back to the broad goal of wanting to give athletes a toolbox of skills that they can use as leaders not only as LSC athlete reps, but throughout their lives. We used a survey immediately after every session and about 2 months after the event to ensure we were successful. Based on survey responses, for the most part, we were. Athletes came away with the skills and leadership traits we wanted them to,” Jack said.
At the conclusion of the event, Jack and everyone else involved with this event has seen countless positive impacts on USA Swimming.
“The main effect on USA Swimming I've seen is increased athlete participation and engagement. The past two years, we've had incredibly engaged groups of athlete reps at the Leadership Summits and Conventions. 16 of the participants in the 2018 Leadership Summit have served on National Committees and 3 have served on the AEC. For many, this was one of the first opportunities for national-level leadership in USA Swimming,” Jack said.
Your Success Story doesn't have to be about a leadership summit! Comment anything from big volunteer projects you've lead, to small events you've been a part of.
Author: Annie Norris
Annie is originally from the Gulf LSC and has been an athlete rep for 5 years. She currently serves as the Southern Zone Senior Rep and is an At-Large Member of the AEC. She also swims for Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.