USA Swimming, the national governing body of competitive swimming in the United States, has had a long and, in some ways, shameful history. In recent years, reports of swimming coaches’ sexual misconduct with their swimmers have made headlines.
Reports of coaches’ sexual misconduct includes secretly videotaping swimmers in showers and locker rooms, and even fondling and raping swimmers. Some coaches repeated the assaults from state-to-state, moving on to new locations when anyone caught on to what they were doing.
The problem has persisted, in part, because there has been no real system in place to hold coaches or USA Swimming accountable.
But now, USA Swimming has created a public list to help swimming organizations more easily check potential new hires.
According to Outside, the list consists of those coaches who have been banned for life, resigned their membership on a permanent basis or are permanently ineligible for membership with USA Swimming:
As of September 1, the list contained the names of 106 members, with at least 73 who were banned for sexual misconduct, often involving multiple victims.
It goes on to report about what part of the problem has been in dealing with coaches abusing their athletes.
Until very recently, most NGBs, including USA Swimming, didn’t specifically ban relationships between adult coaches and athletes of legal age.
In Massachusetts, where the legal age of consent is 16, it used to be permissible for a 60-year-old coach to have sex with a 16-year-old athlete if she agreed to it.
That finally changed for USA Swimming in 2013, when member voters clarified that even relationships between coaches and legally adult athletes are banned.
Since so much abuse has occurred under Chuck Wielgus’s tenure as CEO of USA Swimming, there have been public demands for his resignation. Wielgus has offered an apology, although four years ago he stated he had nothing to apologize for.
In June, The International Swimming Hall of Fame rescinded its invitation to Wielgus to add his name.