End of Year Message from our Board President
by Denise Shively, USA Artistic Swimming Board President
As I reflect on the 2021 accomplishments of USA Artistic Swimming, I am thankful for the commitment of our athletes, coaches, officials and supporters who have continued to train, promote and engage in our sport.
I am HAPPY for those who were able to prepare for and attend the 2021 championships hosted in Mesa, Colorado Springs and Las Vegas. In addition, many of our athletes creatively participated in grade level testing, association competitions and invitational meets virtually. The year began by the Athlete Executive Council together with the Board of Directors approving the innovative Athlete Bill of Rights. Athletes enjoyed the reimagined Rising Star Camps hosted throughout the country. Our in-person convention focused on educational seminars and shared conversations with members. And, our coaches and officials continued to dedicate themselves to supporting our athletes and programs in safe environments from grassroots clubs through national teams.
We excitedly cheered on our NEW Athletes with Disabilities initiative when our competitors had their national debut at the U.S. Junior Olympic Championship. Our Board of Directors added three new independent directors (Kerhyl Gantt, Jenell Lynch, Joanne Pasternack), two new athlete representatives (Claire Barton and Natalia Vega), and Vice President of Member Development Jocilyn Sayler. USA Artistic Swimming co-hosted with PanAm Aquatics the first Junior and Youth International Open in Clearwater, Florida. And, our junior national team brought home a gold medal (mixed duet) and three silver medals (duet, team and highlight) from the first ever Junior Pan American Games held in Cali, Colombia. Plenty of “new” opportunities to witness the power of artistic swimming throughout 2021!
The YEAR brought us together as we cheered on our national team vying for a team spot at the Olympic Games and in support of our Olympic duet in Tokyo. We celebrated many of our sport’s pioneers whose lives were lost in 2021 (specifically Dawn Bean, Joy Cushman and Joyce Lindenman). And, we were humbled by the many contributions made to the USA Artistic Swimming Foundation that continued to provide educational resources and to grow the sport.
To the Foundation, I thank you for your leadership in generating funds that make a difference from our local clubs to our national teams. To our staff, I appreciate your willingness to take chances and initiate new programs and services. And to our members, I am grateful for your continued dedication to us as an organization, and more importantly, to the sport of artistic swimming.
Wishing each and every one best wishes for a Happy New Year! Looking forward to seeing you at the pool.