This Tuesday, Titus was informed that USA Swimming would not allow hand signals to accommodate Deaf and hearing impaired swimmers in the Olympic trials in Nebraska this summer. Titus has worked with USA Swimming to standardize a race start protocol that incorporates hand signals and strobe lights as a visual aid to assist Deaf and hearing impaired swimmers.
USA Swimming went against their own existing rules since FINA, swimming’s international governing body, does not have hand signals to indicate “ready” and “set” to support swimmers with hearing impairments.
After Titus wrote about the discrimination on his blog and started a FB page to rally supporters to contact USA Swimming in protest; the organization reversed their decision, quickly acknowledging it was a bad call.
USA Swimming stated, “USA Swimming will use hand signals at the upcoming Olympic Trials in order to accommodate our deaf and hearing-impaired swimmers. We thank National Team member Marcus Titus for bringing this issue to our attention. USA Swimming embraces an inclusive culture and is pleased to be able to accommodate our athletes with hearing impairments by making this change. The ruling is in accordance with USA Swimming rules