Lucinda McRoberts, USA Swimming
A lawyer’s work can be routine and transactional, but it can also be at the center of an entire organization.
Lucinda McRoberts does the latter at USA Swimming, where she handles hot-button legal issues like sexual abuse prevention and liability, but also acts as chief administrative officer in a rapidly evolving work environment.
At just 34 years old, she’s at the center of one most challenging issues facing Olympic sports: How to allow national governing bodies to meet an ever-growing list of obligations — including protecting athletes in pools and gyms across the country — within the limited budgets of niche sport nonprofits.
USA Swimming has thrived in the pool, but McRoberts says she’s energized by the chance to make the back office work better for the good of athletes and Team USA. “I’m amazed at what we’re able to accomplish on the technical side, but I have next to nothing to add,” she said. “But I’m passionate about legal, the HR and the risk management side, and [CEO] Tim [Hinchey] has really let me take the ball and run with it.”
She has to play the political game, too. “I’ve worked here seven years, but compared to the lifers I’m comparatively new,” she said, “so I think I’ve been able to sort of thread the needle between bringing in new ideas and innovation while maintaining the integrity of who USA Swimming is.” — Ben Fischer