Source: USA Swimming

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Swimming today launched its first-ever free online Safe Sport programming for the more than 300,000 athlete members of the organization. The online programming, created by youth protection education leader Praesidium, will empower athletes with information about sexual abuse prevention, how to identify inappropriate behavior, and how to report concerns.

Athlete education will be available online starting April 9.

"Education is a fundamental part of USA Swimming's Safe Sport program," said Susan Woessner, Director of Safe Sport for USA Swimming. "As we continue to work to raise awareness about this important issue, the free athlete training will help empower our membership with education about safe sport."

The comprehensive online programming includes information about how offenders operate; how to recognize, respond, and report boundary violations; myths and facts about child sexual abuse, and USA Swimming's Athlete Protection Policies and Procedures.

The addition of the athlete training represents the third and final phase of USA Swimming's online education launch. The education for athletes is optional, but strongly encouraged.

In 2012, USA Swimming launched optional parent training for all parents of its 300,000 plus members. In 2011, the organization began mandatory online education for its 30,000 coaches, non-athlete members and volunteers. USA Swimming requires all non-athlete members to complete this training as a condition of membership. "USA Swimming continues to demonstrate their leadership in youth sports and strong commitment to safety," said Britt Darwin-Looney, Praesidium's Director of Youth Development Services. "We are pleased with the partnership and effort to educate all of their membership in such a short period of time."

USA Swimming has developed one of the most comprehensive safe sport programs in Olympic sport. Its abuse prevention initiative is rooted in six core areas: Policies & Guidelines, Screening & Selection, Training & Education, Monitoring & Supervision, Recognizing, Reporting & Responding, and Grassroots Engagement & Feedback. For more information about USA Swimming's Safe Sport program, visit www.usaswimming.org/protect. About USA SwimmingAs the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming in the United States, USA Swimming is a 300,000-member service organization that promotes the culture of swimming by creating opportunities for swimmers and coaches of all backgrounds to participate and advance in the sport through clubs, events and education. Our membership is comprised of swimmers from the age group level to the Olympic Team, as well as coaches and volunteers. USA Swimming is responsible for selecting and training teams for international competition including the Olympic Games, and strives to serve the sport through its core objectives: Build the base, Promote the sport, Achieve competitive success. For more information, visit www.usaswimming.org.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.