Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 23 No. 13
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Lucinda McRoberts, USA Swimming

Photo: Mike Lewis
Photo: Mike Lewis
Photo: Mike Lewis

Lucinda McRoberts

Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, USA Swimming

Born: Columbia, Missouri
Education: Yale University, B.A.; University of Michigan Law School, J.D.

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

Getting to know...

Favorite day-off activity: Skiing or hiking in Steamboat Springs.

Something your friends would consider “so you”: Going to a sporting event and being more excited about the food than the game.

Misperception of working in sports business: You must be a successful athlete or sophisticated fan. While I have developed an appreciation for swimming since joining the organization, some of the greatest value I add is from an outside perspective.

Woman in sports business you’d like to meet: Condoleezza Rice. I have a lot of questions.

Role of sports in social issues: When done right, sport promotes respect, responsibility, community and common purpose — all of which are precursors to addressing social issues effectively. Sport also has the potential to elevate social issues that demand immediate attention. It should be embraced as a platform to encourage positive social change and development.