Introducing Bill Brenner, Club and Coach Services Director
by Laura S. Jones and Bill Brenner
Bill Brenner is USMS’s new Club and Coach Services Director, and he is dedicating himself to expanding the quantity and quality of our local clubs and coaching. A mid and long distance freestyler who also places well in the longer breaststroke events, Brenner, 53, swims for the Sarasota YMCA Sharks and has also served as meet director for numerous Masters meets. A long time Masters swimmer and coach who has a Level 2 Masters coach certification, Brenner is a natural leader who demands excellence of himself and those around him. Brenner has been an active board volunteer within the Florida LMSC and has served as its Top 10 recorder. He has also attended the last three annual conventions and has been a member of both the Championship Committee and the Coaches Committee.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brenner also served four years there as an assistant swim coach. He is a successful businessman who will undoubtedly use those skills to expand USMS and its coaching programs. Brenner and his wife Pam have four grown children.
He graciously agreed to answer a few questions about himself and about what Club and Coach Services does and will do to help Masters swimmers and coaches.
How long have you been involved with swimming, and why did you want this position?
I’ve had a passion for the sport of swimming my entire life as a fitness and competitive swimmer. I’ve coached age group, collegiate and Masters swimmers. I believe a solid USMS program structure is of the utmost importance to enhancing the Masters swimming experience for all our members. I want to help provide Masters coaches the tools they need to establish and maintain stable programs for the benefit of all Masters swimmers.
How does Club and Coach Services benefit USMS programs?
We have approximately 750 USMS clubs and roughly 800 chapters that are affiliated with those clubs. So, in total, that is close to 1,600 Masters swimming locations across the country. Club and Coach Services is a resource [for] those 1,600 Masters swimming programs. We additionally seek to foster development and growth of new Masters programs at facilities desiring to offer an adult swimming program. We do this by offering a Masters coach certification program. We have regional coordinators who are able to answer questions, provide information, and make site visits. And in the USMS national office, we make available resources such as banners, swim caps, and brochures to USMS programs and facilities.
How specifically can Club and Coach Services and USMS help a new program get started?
There are three potential resources available to existing USMS programs as well as coaches or facilities desiring to create a USMS program. First, is the local LMSC. The LMSC and its volunteers are a terrific source for local knowledge. They register all the clubs and chapters within their footprint on behalf of USMS. Many LMSCs have a coaches committee that can be of support and host clinics that might be of interest. Some LMSCs are able to provide grants to USMS clubs and some provide incentives to host meets.
Second is the USMS Swimming Saves Lives Foundation. There is more information about SSL at usms.org/giving. Third, as we’ve been discussing, is USMS Club and Coach Services. While we do not directly provide money to programs, we do offer a treasure [trove] of resources to help programs get started and grow.
What is the difference between a club and a chapter? If a USMS program does not compete, why do the swimmers need to register with USMS?
Chapters are subgroups of USMS registered clubs. There can be one or more chapters that are affiliated with the parent club. Any individual registered with a chapter is also an individual member of the parent club. A chapter that is registered through an LMSC may actively participate as a separate subgroup or team only within its LMSC. Otherwise, members of the chapter compete for the parent club.
USMS provides a generous insurance program that includes $25,000 of excess medical insurance for each member and $1,000,000 of liability coverage for LMSCs and clubs. Per USMS policy, all members of the chapter or club must be USMS registered for the insurance to be in force. This is a requirement whether in a practice or competition. If an unregistered swimmer is participating in your practice, then the insurance becomes void for all the participants in that practice. An exception to this would be a nonregistered swimmer who is participating in practice on a trial basis for no more than 30 days.
How many Masters coaches are there across the country?
There are approximately 4,000 USMS members who self- identify as a Masters coaches. This number includes full time, part time and volunteer coaches serving our membership. This reinforces the need for programs such as Masters coach certification and USMS Club and Coach Services.
What is the Masters coach certification?
USMS Masters coach certification is an education program that helps Masters coaches be better prepared to understand adult swimmers and better equipped to manage their Masters programs. It's critical our coaches be offered education and provided resources so they may build and maintain a successful program. USMS, in partnership with the American Swimming Coaches Association, teaches a certification course for Masters coaches. Currently, there are two levels being offered in a classroom environment. Level 1 concentrates on the characteristics of being an adult swimmer. Level 2 provides detailed technique instruction on strokes, starts and turns. Level 3, which will be offered later in 2012, will focus on the business dynamics of being a Masters coach.
Do I need to be a Masters certified coach to be a Masters coach?
It is not mandatory for Masters coaches to be certified but it is highly encouraged. We have great appreciation for all our coaches that teach thousands of practices on a daily basis throughout the country. We recognize Masters coaches are passionate and we too are passionate about offering our coaches valuable resources, information and education.