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Blue Wave Swimming Action Plan to Address Bullying


Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at Blue Wave Swimming and will not be tolerated. Bullying is counterproductive to team spirit and can be devastating to a victim. Blue Wave is committed to providing a safe, caring, and friendly environment for all our members. If bullying does occur, all athletes and parents should know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. Anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell a coach or athlete/mentor.

Objectives of Blue Wave's Bullying Policy and Action Plan:

  1. To make it clear that Blue Wave Swimming will not tolerate bullying in any form.

  2. To define bullying and give all coaches, parents, and swimmers a

    good understanding of what bullying is.

  3. To make it known to all parents, swimmers, and coaching staff that there is a policy

    and protocol should any bullying issues arise.

  4. To make how to report bullying clear and understandable.

  5. To spread the word that Blue Wave takes bullying seriously and that all swimmers and

    parents can be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.


Generally, bullying is the use of aggression, whether intentional or not, which hurts another person. Bullying results in pain and distress.

Bullying is the severe or repeated use, regardless of when or where it may occur, by one or more USA Swimming members of an oral, written, electronic or technological expression, image, sound, data or intelligence of any nature (regardless of the method of transmission), or a physical act or gesture , or any combination thereof, directed at any other member or Participating Non-Member that to a reasonably objective person has the effect of causing physical or emotional harm to the other member or damage to the other member’s property;

  1. Placing the other member in reasonable fear of harm to himself/herself or of damage to his/her property;

  2. Creating a hostile environment for the other member at any USA Swimming activity;

  3. Infringing on the rights of the other member at any USA Swimming activity; or

  4. Materially and substantially disrupting the training process or the orderly

    operation of any USA Swimming activity (which for the purposes of this section shall include, without limitation, practices, workouts, and other events of a member club or LSC).


An athlete who feels that he or she has been bullied is asked to do one or more of the following things:

• Talk to your parents;

  • Talk to a Club Coach, Board Member, or other designated individual;

  • Write a letter or email to the Club Coach, Board Member, or other

    designated individual;

  • Make a report to the USA Swimming Safe Sport staff.

    There is no express time limit for initiating a complaint under this procedure, but every effort should be made to bring the complaint to the attention of the appropriate club leadership as soon as possible to make sure that memories are fresh, and behavior can be accurately recalled and the bullying behavior can be stopped as soon as possible.

    If bullying is occurring during team-related activities, we STOP BULLYING ON THE SPOT

    using the following steps:

  1. Intervene immediately. It is okay to get another adult to help.

  2. Separate the kids involved.

  3. Make sure everyone is safe.

  4. Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.

  5. Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.

  6. Model respectful behavior when you intervene.

If bullying is occurring at our club or it is reported to be occurring at our club, we address the bullying by FINDING OUT WHAT HAPPENED and SUPPORTING THE KIDS INVOLVED using the following approach:


  1. First, we get the facts.

    1. Keep all the involved children separate.

    2. Get the story from several sources, both adults and kids.

    3. Listen without blaming.

    4. Don’t call the act “bullying” while you are trying to understand what happened.

    5. It may be difficult to get the whole story, especially if multiple athletes are

      involved or the bullying involves social bullying or cyber bullying. Collect all

      available information.

  2. Then, we determine if it's bullying. There are many behaviors that look like bullying

    but require different approaches. It is important to determine whether the situation is bullying or something else.

    1. Review the USA Swimming definition of bullying;

    2. To determine if the behavior is bullying or something else, consider the

      following questions:
      What is the history between the kids involved?
      Have there been past conflicts?
      Is there a power imbalance? Remember that a power imbalance is not limited to physical strength. It is sometimes not easily recognized. If the targeted child feels like there is a power imbalance, there probably is.
      Has this happened before? Is the child worried it will happen again?

    3. Remember that it may not matter “who started it.” Some kids who are bullied may be seen as annoying or provoking, but this does not excuse the bullying behavior.

       4. Once you have determined if the situation is bullying, support all the kids



A. Support the kids who are being bullied

  1. Listen and focus on the child. Learn what’s been going on and show you want to help. Assure the child that bullying is not their fault.

  2. Work together to resolve the situation and protect the bullied child. The child,

parents, and fellow team members and coaches may all have valuable input. It may help to:

  • Ask the child being bullied what can be done to make him or her feel safe. Remember that changes to routine should be minimized. He or she is not at fault and should not be singled out. For example, consider rearranging lane assignments for everyone. If bigger moves are necessary, such as switching practice groups, the child who is bullied should not be forced to change.

  • Develop a game plan. Maintain open communication between the Club and parents. Discuss the steps that will be taken and how bullying will be addressed going forward.

3.  Be persistent. Bullying may not end overnight. Commit to making it stop and consistently support the bullied child.

 Address bullying behavior

  1. Make sure the child knows what the problem behavior is. Young people who bully must learn their behavior is wrong and harms others.

  2. Show kids that bullying is taken seriously. Calmly tell the child that bullying will not be tolerated. Model respectful behavior when addressing the problem.

  3. Work with the child to understand some of the reasons he or she bullied. For example:

    1. Sometimes children bully to fit in or just to make fun of someone is a little different from them. In other words, there may be some insecurity involved.

    2. Other times kids act out because something else—issues at home, abuse, stress—is going on in their lives. They also may have been bullied. These kids may need additional support.

  4. Involve the kid who bullied in making amends or repairing the situation. The goal is to help them see how their actions affect others. For example, the child can:

    1. Write a letter apologizing to the athlete who was bullied.

    2. Do a good deed for the person who was bullied, for the Club, or for others

      in your community.

    3. Clean up, repair, or pay for any property they damaged.

  5. Avoid strategies that don’t work or have negative consequences:

i. Zero tolerance or “three strikes, you’re out” strategies don’t work.

Suspending or removing from the team swimmers who bully does not reduce bullying behavior. Swimmers may be less likely to report and address bullying if suspension or getting kicked off the team is the consequence.

ii. Conflict resolution and peer mediation don’t work for bullying. Bullying is not a conflict between people of equal power who share equal blame. Facing those who have bullied may further upset kids who have been bullied.

6. Follow-up. After the bullying issue is resolved, continue finding ways to help the child who bullied to understand how what they do affects other people. For example, praise acts of kindness or talk about what it means to be a good teammate.

7. Support bystanders who witness bullying. Every day, kids witness bullying. They want to help, but don’t know how. Fortunately, there are a few simple, safe ways that athletes can help stop bullying when they see it happening.

  1. Be a friend to the person being bullied;

  2. Tell a trusted adult – your parent, coach, or club board member;

  3. Help the kid being bullied get away from the situation. Create a distraction,

    focus the attention on something else, or offer a way for the target to get out of

    the situation. “Let’s go, practice is about to start.”

  4. Set a good example by not bullying others.

  5. Don’t give the bully an audience. Bullies are encouraged by the attention they

    get from bystanders. If you do nothing else, just walk away.


There has been much talk about whether it is safe to have images taken of children participating in sports. While the great majority of images are appropriate and are taken in good faith, it is a fact that images can be misused, and children can be put at risk if commonsense procedures are not observed.


1. The publishing of a photograph of a swimmer under 18 either on a notice board or in a published article or video recording (including video streaming) of swimming competitions (“publication”) should only be done with parents’ consent through their acknowledgement in TeamUnify during registration.

2. A parent or guardian has a right to refuse to have children photographed. The exercise of this right of refusal cannot be used as grounds for refusing entry into a swimming competition. Therefore, any photo that may go to press or on a notice board, be it through a member of the club or official photographer, should receive parental consent before publishing/displaying the photo, preferably in writing.

3. In the case of open meets and other competitions where Blue Wave has an official photographer present, all parents attending will be made aware of this in the meet information. If photos are to be published anywhere, the individual parent should be given the opportunity to withhold their consent. Their right to do so should be specifically drawn to their attention.

4. All photographs must observe generally accepted standards of decency in particular:

● Action shots should be a celebration of the sporting activity and not a sexualized image in a
sporting context.
● Action shots should not be taken or retained where the photograph reveals a torn or displaced swimsuit.

● Photographs should not be taken from behind swimming blocks at the start of a race or exhibit a child climbing out of the swimming pool.
● Photographs should not be taken in locker‐rooms or bathrooms.


Blue Wave Swimming may wish to take photographs (individual and in groups) of swimmers under the age of 18 that may include your child during their membership in the club. All photos will be taken and published in line with club policy. The club requires parental consent to take and use photographs.

Photographs may be used on Blue Wave's website, social media accounts, weekly communications, or video for training purposes.

Please note that at meets not hosted by Blue Wave Swimming and at large public gatherings, it may not be possible for Blue Wave to control the publication of a photo of your swimmer(s) or on a live feed of the racing. In these situations, Blue Wave cannot be held responsible for the unintentional publication of photographs.

By signing your name below, you are CONSENTING to the use of your child(ren)’s photos for these purposes in line with club policy. If you wish to REFUSE CONSENT, please email, listing:

Athlete’s name(s); Parent/Guardian name; and Date.



Transgender: a person whose gender identity does not match the person’s sex at birth Gender identity: a person’s deeply-felt internal sense of being male or female

Gender expression: a person’s external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined aseither masculine or feminine (i.e., dress, speech, mannerisms, social interactions)


A minor transgender athlete member a swim club should be allowed to participate in accordance with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the athlete’s birth certificate or other records and regardless of whether the athlete has undergone any medical treatment. The policy should not prevent an athlete from electing to participate in anactivity according to his or her assigned birth gender.

This means an athlete who is biologically female but has a male gender identity should be allowed to participate in male events and an athlete who is biologically male but has a femalegender identity should be allowed to participate in female events.


  1. When an athlete (and/or the athlete’s parents) discloses a transgender identity, coachesshould request a change of the athlete’s gender in SWIMS by contacting Membership or Safe Sport staff at USA Swimming. Once this is completed, the athlete will be able to be entered in events that match his/her gender identity.

  2. At all times, teammates, coaches, and all others should respect the confidentiality of transgender athletes. Discussion or disclosure of an individual’s gender identity should onlytake place after expressed permission is given by the individual or the individual’s parents.

  3. In all cases, teammates, coaches, and all others should refer to transgender athletes by the athlete’s preferred name. Similarly, in all cases, pronoun references to transgender athletesshould reflect the athlete’s gender and pronoun preferences.

  4. Transgender athletes should be able to use the locker rooms, changing facilities, and restrooms that are consistent with his/her gender identity. When requested, transgenderathletes should be provided access to a gender-neutral space (i.e., family restroom).

  5. Prior to meets, without violating an athlete’s confidentiality, coaches should communicatewith the meet host regarding expectations for treatment of transgender athletes in the pool, on deck, and in the locker room.

  6. When overnight travel is involved, transgender athletes should be assigned to share hotelrooms based on their gender identity. Athletes who request extra privacy should be accommodated whenever possible.

7. Transgender athletes should be permitted to dress consistently with their gender identities, including warm-ups and team gear.

8. Transgender athletes should be permitted to wear whatever swimsuit is most comfortablefor them, so long as the suit does not extend below the knee or past the shoulders.

9. Clubs should provide training to their staff and regular volunteers regarding their responsibilities to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Such topics should include terms and concepts of gender identity andexpression and bystander intervention strategies related to bullying. Contact USA Swimming Safe Sport staff for training program recommendations.


The USA Swimming Code of Conduct specifies that discrimination against any member or participant based on gender, sexual orientation, and gender expression is prohibited (304.3.3). In the event that a question should arise about whether an athlete’s request to participate in a manner consistent with his/her gender identity is bona fide, USA Swimming willrefer to the Code of Conduct and follow its standard procedures of enforcement.

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