Encouraging More Adults to Swim
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Mark Gill - Candidate for Vice President of Member Services

Candidate Information

Name: Mark Gill

LMSC: Kentucky

Nominated for: Vice President of Member Services

Nominated by: Mel Goldstein

Letters of Reference from: Katryn James and Mel Goldstein

Summary Statement

I am running for the Vice President of Member Services position.  I have been involved in masters swimming since 1992.  During that time, I have worked as a meet director of local meets plus the 2003 short course national championship meet.  I have started several events including the Arizona Open Water Series, a 5-race series on Tempe Town Lake in Arizona.  Currently, I am involved with the USMS Championship and Internationals Committees. 

I believe that USMS has many great things to offer.  By being more involved, I hope to be able to help grow our membership and support ideas that will lead to a healthy future for our organization.  With our current reorganization, I believe this will be a time of great change.  I hope to be able to work with the different groups within our membership to see that all views are fairly represented.

Response to Questions

Why are you interested in this position and why do you believe you would be a good candidate?

I think USMS is a great organization and I have enjoyed volunteering in the past in a variety of roles.  As the Vice President of Member Services, I believe I could bring my past experiences to bear on a number of issues and help support the goals of masters swimming.  USMS is facing an interesting time that has the potential to dramatically shape its future and I would like to do my part to help support the growth and health of our organization.

What do you consider to be the major issues facing USMS now and in the future. As a person holding an elected position within USMS, how would you address these issues?

I think there are a number of exciting issues and opportunities facing USMS. 

Our membership growth has been rather flat for the last few years.  Other similar organizations such as USA Triathlon have had explosive growth.  What are some of the issues that are limiting our growth?  I believe a greater emphasis on open water swimming within USMS will help us attract new members.  I also believe that we need to continue to strengthen our relationships with other groups.  As an example, the YMCA owns a large number of pools.  Many do not have masters programs or don’t have programs that are associated with USMS.  Are there things that we could offer that would make being a part of USMS more attractive?

It has been long recognized that our strongest growth has come from teams with great coaches.  How can we help recruit more coaches into USMS?  Are there ways that we can help clubs find and retain good coaches?  Are there things that USMS can do to better support our current coaches? 

Our restructuring is going to create lots of changes to our procedures and ways of governing our organization.  The possibility of bringing in an executive director is something that we have not faced before, but has the ability to have a dramatic impact on our future.  Currently, there are a number of proposals that will reduce or change the number of committees that govern USMS.  What will happen to our volunteer leaders if these changes go through?  How can we best use our volunteers along with our professional staff?  Should the professional staff be expanded?

We have a new magazine.  This opens up a considerable number of possibilities for us.  How will we best use this tool to meet our organizational objectives?  If we are able to generate significant ad revenue, how will we best use these funds?

I feel the USMS is searching for its identity.  We know from surveys that many of our members are not interested in competitive swimming.  Yet much of our activity centers on the competitive side of the sport.  What types of offerings will be most attractive to our non-competitive members and potential members? 

In 2006 the FINA World Championships will take place within the United States.  We have made a significant financial investment in this event.  What can we do to help ensure the event is a success?  How can we best use the event to spread the word about adult fitness swimming? 

If elected Vice President of Member Services, I would have the opportunity to work with other volunteers within USMS to address these issues.  I see this position as a chance to bring in ideas of my own and mix them with ideas generated by a variety of committees.  This position would give me the opportunity to champion ideas and policies that will help ensure growth and a healthy future for USMS.

Please list USMS committees on which you have served. Include the dates you were on the committees and the names of the committee chairs under whom you served:

Please list any other experience that relates to your qualifications for the position.

Communication

  • Developed and maintained team website for 4 years

Club Development

  • Have coached masters for 7 years.
  • Started and built a daily workout group from scratch up to 25 swimmers.

Competition

  • Meet director for a variety of masters meets in AZ
  • Started the Sun Devil Invitational meet
  • Director for the 2003 SC Nationals
  • Started the AZ Open Water Series – now in its 3rd year, it consists of 5 races.
  • Created open water races that combine USA Triathlon, USMS and USA Swimming in one event.
  • Co-Directing the 2006 2-mile cable swim championship for Virginia Masters

Fitness

  • Coordinated participation of AZ Masters in postal events

Coaching

  • 18 years of coaching experience with age group, YMCA, USA Swimming and Masters
  • Member of ASCA
  • Invited as one of two coaches to work at the USA Swimming 2004 National Open Water Camp

Education

  • Started and organized the first two Mentor Coach and Swimmer Clinics in AZ
  • I am serving as the liaison for the 2005 LC Nationals and the 2006 SC Nationals

Officiating

  • Certified Stroke and Turn Official in the AZ LSC
  • Officiated and announced at USMS Nationals
  • Announcer for the University of Louisville Swim Team (Go Cards)

Awards & Records

  • Served as the records chair in AZ for 5 years
  • I am a member of the Communications subcommittee creating the Club of the Year Award
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