Encouraging More Adults to Swim

Tom Bliss Receives 2008 Dorothy Donnelly Service Award

Working for the members

Author Unknown | October 1, 2008

Tom Bliss received the Dorothy Donnelly Service Award in 2008. He has served as Chairman of the Florida LMSC since 2001. On the national level he has attended the USMS convention four times and served on the Coaches and Safety Education Committees.

With a Master's degree in Educational Leadership, one of his primary goals as Chairman was to determine what the LMSC members want from their LMSC. During his first year in office he conducted a survey which was sent to all club representatives asking for feedback from their members. Quoting Tom at the first Awards Banquet that he implemented in 2002, "Many new and exciting ideas have been provided to me over the course of the past year through conversations, e-mails, and meetings and many more ideas have been generated as a result of the surveys submitted by your team representatives. The task of the Florida LMSC board is and will be to take all of the ideas and suggestions and to implement as many as possible to improve your organization." Tom has done just that. He has listened to and acted for the members, accomplishing many of the member requests during his eight years. The membership has grown under his leadership to over 1,500 members.

The Florida LMSC Awards Banquet has become an annual event that recognizes swimmers' accomplishments, their service to the LMSC and local clubs, and swimmers who have overcome adversity in life. Other major requests that Tom has responded to are: starting the Florida Aquatic Combined Team in 2003, with the primary goal of allowing swimmers of small clubs the ability to swim on relays at national and world events. And having a State wide LMSC meet challenge which is in the planning stages.

Tom, an avid swimmer and competitor, swam on scholarship from 1972-1975 at Auburn University. He is twice an individual USMS All-American and once a relay USMS All-American. He has 102 national USMS top ten finishes since 1993. Tom continues to improve his skills and works to help improve others by acting as coach and swim instructor. From a survey request for more swim clinics he has conducted several in the Florida LMSC and has encouraged other coaches to offer more as well.

Tom was instrumental in developing job descriptions for both elected and appointed positions on the board. He has been a strong, but calm, active leader who has brought unity to the Florida LMSC.

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