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Mark Schubert is a legend for making US swimmers champions, but did he fail when they needed him most?

by ZwemZa on June 13th, 2018

Swim coach Mark Schubert is legendary for his swimmers’ accomplishments in competition. He also faced difficult choices as USA Swimming failed to protect athletes over the course of decades. (AP File Photo/Ric Francis)

For more than 40 years, Mark Schubert has been a driving force behind American swimming’s unprecedented success at the Olympic Games and World Championship.

Through those 11 Olympic cycles, however, an undercurrent of sexual abuse has run beneath the surface of USA Swimming’s success.

The question now looming over Schubert, 69, in his fifth decade in the international spotlight and in the twilight of a Hall of Fame career, is: What has he done to stem that tide?

Dozens of interviews and thousands of pages of documents obtained by the Southern California News Group provide a portrait of a complex coach, a man beloved and despised, respected and feared, who has often struggled to navigate a culture within American swimming where sexual misconduct by coaches and officials was regularly ignored — or even accepted — by USA Swimming’s top officials and coaches.

Documents ranging from deposition transcripts and court filings to USA Swimming and U.S. Olympic Committee memos, emails and letters, as well as interviews with swimmers, coaches, friends and former USA Swimming officials, reveal two sides of Schubert: a man who at times has been frustrated by USA Swimming’s inaction toward sexual abuse, but whose own action or inaction in regard to sexual abuse has often been driven by self-interest.

  • While coaching at the University of Texas, Schubert learned that one of his swimmers had been sexually abused by her club coach, Rick Curl. Schubert said he has regrets about how he handled the revelation from Kelley Davies, but he didn’t take up the fight until nearly two decades later when he repeatedly pushed — unsuccessfully — USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus and other top officials to investigate.
  • Schubert regularly invites a leading expert on safe sport practices to talk about sexual abuse, harassment and bullying to his swimmers and coaches at Mission Viejo Nadadores, the club he built into a virtual Olympic Games and World Championship medalist factory and returned to in 2016. But he also hired a coach with a reputation for sexual misconduct and fired a longtime friend after she reported alleged sexual misconduct to USA Swimming at another Orange County club run by Schubert.
  • Schubert said he was furious about U.S. national team head coach Sean Hutchison’s sexual involvement with world champion Ariana Kukors and later reported it to the media. But according to Kukors, Schubert took no action against Hutchison when he was presented with allegations of misconduct.

“It breaks my heart,” Kukors said in an interview with the Register. “When I first met him, as a wide-eyed kid on the national team in 2006, I was so excited to meet Mark Schubert and to get to swim under him and what a privilege (it was), and he just massively let me down. Everyone was looking out for themselves, and nobody was looking out for me.”

Back in the spotlight

The Hutchison-Kukors story has Schubert back in the international spotlight. She named him, along with Hutchison, Hutchison’s business King Aquatics and USA Swimming in a civil suit filed last month.

It’s not the first lawsuit Schubert has been involved with that had to do with his response to sexual misconduct allegations being questioned. In her suit, Kukors alleges that Schubert failed to act when presented with complaints against Hutchison.

Kukors says that Hutchison began grooming her for a sexual relationship when she was 13, not long after she began training with him at a Seattle-area swim club, that he sexually assaulted her at 16 and that he continued to have a sexual relationship with her until she was 24.

The Department of Homeland Security, with assistance from the Des Moines, Wash., Police Department, in February conducted a search of Hutchison’s apartment just south of Seattle. Officers seized computers and cellphones, according to a person familiar with the investigation. Law enforcement also searched warehouses in California and Florida.

Hutchison has denied any wrongdoing.

Kukors told the Register that Schubert, then in charge of the U.S. national team program and the most influential coach in the sport, was made aware of Hutchison’s improper contact with her but took no action and did not report it to his superiors in the 19 months before Hutchison resigned.

Midway through a 2009 USA Swimming training camp in Italy, Schubert gave Team USA women’s head coach Hutchison a heads-up, Kukors told SCNG.

Team USA was using the Hotel Atilius, a minute’s walk from the Adriatic Sea in Riccione in northern Italy, as its training base before the World Championships in Rome. Halfway through the team stay at the beachfront hotel, another U.S. swimmer spotted Hutchison sneaking out of Kukors’ room past the team’s curfew and reported the incident to Schubert.

Hutchison’s presence in Kukors’ room after curfew, Schubert said later, violated USA Swimming policies. Sexual relationships between coaches and athletes are banned by USA Swimming’s code of conduct. The code also requires any person with knowledge of such a violation to report it. But Schubert took no action against Hutchison other than to warn him to be more careful, Kukors said.

Hutchison would continue to coach a USA Swimming-funded high-profile group of Olympic medal contenders in Fullerton for another 19 months.

“While we were in (Italy) in 2009, Sean and I were frequently alone, whether it was getting coffee at a cafe outside the hotel or on a bus ride to and from the pool,” Kukors said. She was 20 at the 2009 training camp.

“Sean told me that Schubert had told him that one of the swimmers had said that they saw us sneaking around to each other’s rooms. Sean was the head coach of the women’s team at this meet, so obviously had a lot of power, and my understanding was Schubert told Sean to be careful,” Kukors continued. “Sean passed along the message to me that we needed to be more secretive and watch our backs. I did not want to get in trouble, so I complied. We referred back to that instance often when Sean would remind me of the need for secrecy.”

Evaluating a career

Schubert’s refusal to take action against Hutchison in 2009, Kukors and others charge, follows other moments in a career when he didn’t take appropriate action when confronted with alleged sexual misconduct by other high-profile coaches and officials, when vulnerable athletes needed him most. Others are more generous in their assessment of his actions, and Schubert himself, while acknowledging at least some regrets, believes he tried to do the right thing throughout his career.

“Mark Schubert was in a position of power at one time, and he turned his back on victims and, worse, allowed his friends and coaching peers to continue to commit crimes against children,” said Dia Rianda, for several years one of USA Swimming’s top financial benefactors and for decades a close friend of Schubert and his family.

“It is disgusting and tragic that he is still coaching and leading coaches.”

Others describe Schubert as a coach in a difficult culture, always making an effort.

“I would defend Mark Schubert to the gills,” said Dara Torres, a five-time Olympian. “He’s not only a great coach, but he’s a wonderful human being … a man of integrity.”

Katherine Starr, a former Olympic swimmer and leading athletes’ rights advocate who has known Schubert for more than 30 years, portrays him as a coach who has been let down by a broken system.

Starr clashed at times with Schubert when she swam for him in the late 1980s at a Florida club and at the University of Texas, where she was an 11-time All-American. But Schubert in recent years has regularly brought in Starr to talk to swimmers and coaches at Golden West Swim Club in Huntington Beach and Mission Viejo about sexual abuse, bullying and harassment.

“Mark’s been very respectful, not just to me, but to the topic of sexual abuse. He understands it,” said Starr, founder and director of Safe4Athletes, a nonprofit athlete advocacy and education foundation that specializes in raising awareness about sexual abuse.

“He has evolved with the evolution of the system, and I can’t say that’s true with every coach or every situation. And yet people want to make him out to be the bad guy, an evil guy.”

Longtime critics, however, maintain that Schubert’s history presents a much different picture.

“From his interactions with people such as Kelley Davies (Currin), Dia Rianda and now Ariana Kukors, one clear pattern has emerged in my mind: Mark Schubert has no problem exploiting others for his own personal gain,” said Robert Allard, a Bay Area attorney who has represented Rianda and Kukors in civil suits against Schubert.

“Simply stated, Schubert is all about Schubert, and there seems to be no limit on his willingness to throw someone under a bus if he feels that he will benefit as a result. He possesses the exact opposite qualities that I would look for in a coach to whom I would entrust the care of my child.”

When Curl was convicted, Currin called for Schubert’s ban. Rianda and Kukors both filed civil suits against him.

Schubert is unmoved by his critics, insisting he is comfortable with the steps he took when confronted with sexual abuse throughout his career.

“I don’t think I’ve done anything that bothers me or my conscience other than perhaps the Kelley (Currin) thing if I were to do it over again,” he said. “But I feel very certain that at the time I did what I thought was right, and when you have 20/20 vision in the present, it’s sometimes difficult to have 20/20 vision at the time. I don’t really worry about my legacy. I try to live my life in the windshield, not in the rear-view mirror. My main focus is the kids I’m working with now.”

Schubert, however, is critical of Wielgus and USA Swimming’s handling of sexual abuse and the culture within the sport that protected and enabled predatory coaches. But he doesn’t agree with those who argue that the sport’s sexual abuse scandal has cast a shadow over Team USA’s unmatched Olympic success over the past 40 years.

An SCNG investigation published in February found that Wielgus, former USA Swimming Safe Sport Director Susan Woessner, and other top USA Swimming officials, board members and coaches were aware of sexually predatory coaches for years, in some cases even decades, but did not take action against them. In at least 11 cases, either Wielgus or Woessner declined to pursue sexual abuse cases against high-profile coaches even when presented with direct complaints, documents show.

“Absolutely, I think it’s wrong, I think it’s something that swimming is now ashamed of,” Schubert said. “I think some of the organizations connected with swimming turned a blind eye to it because it was said it was rumor and not proven. And I think it protected some very bad people.

“I don’t know if it tarnishes the Olympic accomplishments because the Olympic accomplishments were accomplished by the athletes and they deserve that fame and accolade. I think there are some things USA Swimming should be ashamed of.”

Schubert denies alleged negligence

Kukors, a 2009 world champion and 2012 Olympian and now 28, filed the civil lawsuit last month in Orange County Superior Court. She alleges sexual abuse by Hutchison and negligence by Schubert and USA Swimming.

Schubert, in a statement released by his attorney, Jennifer Keller, denied the allegations against him.

“Mark Schubert absolutely denies any wrongdoing,” the statement said. “He is confident that when all the facts are known, the record will show that he never ignored, or turned a blind eye to, the abuse of an athlete. When Coach Schubert first became aware of the rumors of abuse, he reported them immediately and sought to make sure they were properly investigated. Coach Schubert had and continues to have no tolerance for anyone who would harm a minor or violate the trust that athletes and their parents place in their coaches.

“Throughout his career, Coach Schubert has always placed what is best for the athletes first and foremost. It has been the great honor of his professional life to work with terrific young people – not just the Olympic champions and world record holders, but thousands of great kids who have learned about discipline, commitment, and hard work through swimming. Helping them achieve their goals, no matter how big or small, is why he continues to coach after 46 years.”

Allegations of Hutchison’s sexual misconduct with Kukors first surfaced in December 2010 based on information Schubert leaked to The Washington Post. The story led to Hutchison’s resignation with the USA Swimming training group.

One of the leading unresolved questions surrounding the Hutchison scandal is: When did Schubert learn of Hutchison’s alleged misconduct and what was his initial course of action?

Schubert told SCNG he first found out about Hutchison’s involvement with Kukors in the late fall of 2010. He also said it wasn’t until months after the 2009 World Championships in Rome that Torres informed him that Hutchison had come out of Kukors’ room late at night in Riccione.

“And then I later found out from Dara that she caught him sneaking out of (Kukors’) room at the World Championships at 3 o’clock in the morning and I was furious about it. Because I was the head coach on that team,” Schubert said.

But Kukors told the Register that Schubert was aware of Hutchison’s misconduct during the pre-Worlds training camp and spoke to Hutchison about the hotel incident “in real time.”

“We had the whole hotel to ourselves,” Kukors said. “While we were staying there, Sean told me halfway (through the training camp) that Dara told Mark or somebody saw us.”

According to Kukors, Hutchison told her in Riccione: “We need to be more careful.”

“I remember feeling terrified,” she recalled. “My whole fear was somebody was going to catch us. … That’s why I remember it so clearly.”

Torres verified that she spoke up about the incident during the training camp.

“I did say something because it was so wrong,” Torres said. “Here’s this young girl, it just seemed odd. I said something to Mark, and somebody from USA Swimming said they’d take care of it.”

Building a program

Schubert was just 22 when he arrived in Mission Viejo in 1972 having failed in his previous job to persuade the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, parks and recreation department to build a bubble on the city’s outdoor pool so that he could train swimmers year round.

“Mark, you’re probably going to be a great coach someday,” Schubert once recalled the city’s parks and recreation director telling him, “but it’s never going to be in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.”

Schubert’s arrival in Mission Viejo was the first step in making Orange County an Olympic power. Before long, the Nadadores were the most famous swim club on the planet.

Nadadore Brian Goodell swept the 400- and 1,500-meter freestyle races at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Nadadores swimmers won 10 gold medals at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, 13 medals total. Only five countries won more gold medals in all sports combined in Los Angeles than the Nadadores did in the pool.

Schubert would move on with stops in Mission Bay, Florida, the University of Texas and USC before taking the U.S. national team director position in 2006. Along the way, he coached 38 Olympians, and his swimmers won 35 Olympic medals – 23 gold – and set 27 world and 115 American records.

Schubert also was aware of the sport’s dark side.

He periodically shared with Rianda his knowledge of sexual misconduct by several high-profile coaches, she said. One of those coaches was Everett Uchiyama, an Orange County coach who served as U.S. national team director before Schubert. Uchiyama was banned by USA Swimming in 2006 for having sex with a teenage swimmer while coaching at SOCAL, a Tustin-based club. USA Swimming did not publicly reveal the ban until 2010.

“Mark Schubert was well aware of (Uchiyama’s) misdeeds before (Uchiyama) was even hired by USA Swimming,” Rianda said. “When Uchiyama was banned by USA Swimming, Mark expressed how hypocritical it was because there was a guy by the name of Colebank that worked there. I’m just repeating what Mark told me.”

Willard Colebank, USA Swimming’s former director of educational services, was convicted on child pornography charges in 2008 while teaching at a Colorado Springs middle school. Since at least 2010, Colebank has been on a private “flagged list” kept by USA Swimming officials titled “Persons Associated With Swimming Arrested For, Charged With, Or Convicted Of A Crime Involving Sexual Misconduct But ­­­­­­­­Not Banned By USAS.”

“And he did bring up some other names” of sexually abusive coaches, Rianda continued, recalling her conversations with Schubert. “Curl. When he talked about Rick Curl, he just went off, Mark just went off about him. And then he started to cry and said he did the wrong thing, that an athlete came to him for help and then he pushed her out of the program. And I learned that that was Kelley Currin.”

Rick Curl

For decades, Schubert struggled with the story of abuse that Kelley Davies told him in 1989. The story and his response to it followed his career. It wouldn’t go away when he ignored it, as Curl continued to coach at the highest levels. It led Schubert to clashes with USA Swimming when he finally tried to have Curl banned decades later.

Curl began sexually abusing Kelley Davies (now Currin) when she was 13 and a promising swimmer at a Washington, D.C., area club where he coached. He was 34.

Curl admitted in a July 1986 letter to Currin’s parents that he had sexual intercourse with her when she was 15.

Currin was an Olympic team contender by the time she enrolled in the University of Texas in 1987. Not long afterward, Currin revealed Curl’s abuse during a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting in Austin attended by Texas men’s coach Eddie Reese. Currin also told then-Texas women’s coach Richard Quick, another six-time Olympic team coach, about her abuse in 1987.

Quick, she recalled, “just said, ‘I’m sorry,’ and, at least to my knowledge, took no action.”

Quick died in 2009.

Schubert replaced Quick as the Longhorns women’s coach in October 1988, and Currin told him the story soon after. Decades later, after Curl’s conviction, Currin advocated that Schubert be banned from USA Swimming.

Her memory is that Schubert pushed her out of the program and didn’t act to help her.

“When he learned that I was abused and was suffering both mentally and physically, Coach Schubert’s reaction was to remove me from all UT swimming programs,” Currin said. “I was deemed a distraction and therefore expendable. Coach Schubert tossed me aside like a piece of trash. Coach Schubert otherwise took no action at that time as he was obviously more concerned about himself rather than the athletes he was trusted to safeguard by their parents. I continued to try to swim for two more years but lacked the support that I needed and was left with no choice but to leave the sport before the 1992 Olympic Trials.”

Schubert said Currin asked him not to report Curl to authorities because of a settlement she and her family reached with Curl in 1989. That agreement included a nondisclosure clause. Schubert said he did tell the athletic director, Donna Lopiano.

“I’ll carry my conversation with Kelley in my office in Texas for the rest of my life,” Schubert said later in the interview. “The whole Rick Curl thing makes me sick to my stomach. And I think the reason is because she went into such detail. They’re horrific and you know everything else was kind of rumored, but hearing this first hand and in detail, I’ll never forget it.”

Schubert disputes Currin’s statements that he kicked her off the team, saying she quit the team because she was suffering from an eating disorder.

“She left the team on her own, and I don’t know where this ‘I threw her off the team’ (came from),” Schubert said. “I mean really, I was really sad she left the team. She was struggling from it, and she came in and said, ‘Mark, I can’t do it anymore.’”

Curl continued to thrive as a coach. He was named to U.S. national team staffs. Swimmers coached by Curl won medals for four countries at the 2000 Olympic Games.

Schubert said in a sworn 2013 deposition and again in an interview with SCNG that he informed Wielgus of Curl’s abuse of Currin in 2007. “His response was that nothing could be done unless Kelley came forward,” Schubert said.

Over the next three years, Schubert repeatedly raised the Curl-Currin abuse issue with Wielgus as well as with USA Swimming assistant executive director Mike Unger and Pat Hogan, then-USA Swimming’s managing director for club development. Schubert said some of his approaches were prompted by Curl’s presence at USA Swimming training camps and at USA Swimming and USOC facilities. Each time, USA Swimming officials took no action.

Curl was only banned for life by USA Swimming in September 2012 after an emergency hearing was called by the organization following a Washington Post story detailing his sexual abuse of Currin. A Maryland court in May 2013 sentenced Curl to seven years in prison for sexually abusing Currin.

“Kelley’s case just shows how broken and failed the system is,” said Starr, the athletes’ rights advocate. “If you’re a coach and you’re trying to do the right thing and you fight and fight USA Swimming in a case where someone was raped and nothing happens, you get frustrated. Are you going to want to fight again when (another sexual misconduct case comes up)?”

Schubert reflected on Currin’s abuse in the interview with the Register. He was asked what he would say to her if he saw her today.

“I would say I’m sorry that it happened to her,” he said. “I’m sorry that she felt that I let her down, but I felt like I was following her wishes because that’s what she wanted me to do.”

Clashes with USA Swimming

Schubert’s July 2010 confrontation with Wielgus over Curl came as the two increasingly clashed and Schubert went through several professional and personal crises and subsequent lawsuits. Schubert was fired as national team coach in November 2010 in a move that stunned the swimming world. As part of the settlement agreement, Schubert and USA Swimming signed a nondisclosure agreement.But Wielgus said in a deposition that Schubert was terminated for “erratic behavior,” especially at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championship in Irvine.

Schubert acknowledges that there was an incident at the Pan Pacific meet but that his anger was over what he viewed as disrespectful behavior by Team USA member Amanda Beard, a former world record holder, during a medal ceremony.

“He accused me of blowing up, and I did have a very forceful conversation on this issue with Amanda Beard and a couple of other swimmers that they didn’t have their hand on their heart as was instructed or were laughing and talking during the national anthem, which I considered very disrespectful, and one of the things we try to do with the whole team is always show class and respect to the flag and the national anthem.”

But his most heated exchange with Wielgus, also in 2010, came when he learned that Wielgus was investigating a decades-old rumor about him and an alleged sexual relationship with five-time Olympian Torres. Schubert and Torres both deny there was any improper relationship.

“That was an angry conversation,” Schubert said in an interview.

Weeks after Schubert was fired by USA Swimming, he and Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team (FAST) coach Bill Jewell became involved in an effort to determine whether Hutchison was sexually involved with Kukors.

Schubert and Jewell have had differing accounts in depositions and interviews about how their investigation of Hutchison unfolded. But Jewell hired an investigator with connections to Schubert. Schubert said the investigator took photographs of Kukors’ car outside Hutchison’s apartment.

“At 4 o’clock in the morning, their two cars were parked together outside his apartment,” Schubert said.

It was this information Schubert leaked to The Washington Post for the late December 2010 story.

Yet Jewell said in a January 2013 deposition that he was unaware of the photographs when their existence was referred to by an attorney.

Rianda and others familiar with the Hutchison situation maintain that Schubert, aware of Hutchison’s inappropriate behavior, saw the FAST position as a potential landing spot after he was suspended by Wielgus and before his firing.

“In the beginning when he was fired from USA Swimming, he was really considering to go to Fullerton, and I know as part of this settlement with USA Swimming he couldn’t go there,” Rianda said.

Jewell and Schubert denied they discussed Schubert replacing Hutchison at FAST.

Hutchison resigned, despite being cleared of any wrongdoing by a USA Swimming investigation, in January 2011.

Woessner was USA Swimming’s athlete protection officer (a position now called director of Safe Sport) at the time of the investigation. She resigned her post in February just days after the SCNG investigation was published and amid allegations that she had a conflict of interest when she was involved with the investigation of Hutchison because of an alleged “intimately personal relationship” with the coach. Woessner acknowledged she kissed Hutchison in 2007 in a statement released at the time of her resignation. She denied ever having a sexual or romantic relationship with Hutchison.

Controversy at Golden West

Schubert wasn’t unemployed long after his firing, taking over Golden West Swim Club and the Golden West College program in 2011.

Not long after the move, he called his old friend Rianda, who was living in Carmel and running an aquatics center in Salinas at the time.

“So I showed up on their doorstep six hours later,” Rianda said.

Rianda said Schubert was in the midst of personal and professional crisis, and she joined Golden West to help.

“When I was down there, I was put in the position of having to work 12-hour days and covering for him often, a lot,” she said. “Getting 4 a.m. phone calls, ‘Can you take practice?’”

Before long, Rianda was overwhelmed.

“For me to go to work at 5 in the morning and get off work at 10 at night was just too much to ask,” she said.

So Schubert turned to another old friend.

“He brought Bill Jewell in to cover for him because it was too much for me,” Rianda said.

Jewell was fired by FAST in June 2011 for making repeated inappropriate sexual comments to young female swimmers, according to court and FAST documents.

Jewell filed a lawsuit against FAST in Orange County Superior Court for breach of contract and age discrimination. A jury in 2013 ruled 10-2 in favor of FAST on the breach of contract claim and unanimously for the club on the age discrimination charge.

Although Jewell was a close friend, Schubert said he was unaware of the sexual misconduct allegations at FAST against Jewell when he joined Schubert’s staff at Golden West.

“Bill Jewell was a terrific assistant coach at USC,” Schubert said. “Was really well beloved. He was a great stroke coach.”

Before long, Jewell’s pattern of sexual misconduct continued at Golden West, Rianda and other Golden West coaches told USA Swimming, according to USA Swimming and Golden West documents.

“Needless to say, there are no boundaries with him,” Golden West coach Danielle St. Onge wrote to Schubert in January 2012. “He has been seen stretching out the other girl swimmers, hugging them, and also cussing the guys out. This needs to stop, Mark.”

Eventually, Rianda was frustrated by what she characterized as Schubert’s unwillingness to deal with Jewell, despite repeated complaints from Golden West coaches. In June 2012, Rianda decided to reach out to USA Swimming.

At 10:34 a.m. on June 18, 2012, she left a voicemail with Woessner, USA Swimming’s director for Safe Sport.

Schubert was enraged that she “went over his head” and told her she “should have never gone to USA Swimming,” Rianda said. Schubert told her she was prohibited from having further contact with USA Swimming officials about Jewell, Rianda said. Schubert denied the conversation took place.

After several tense weeks, Rianda was fired on July 11. Schubert has denied that Rianda was fired because of her complaints, citing instead problems with her management skills and dealings with club officials and parents. But a text exchange between Rianda and Joke Schubert, Mark’s wife, on June 13, five days before Rianda contacted Woessner, seems to undercut the argument that Mark Schubert and others found her management abilities lacking.

“Mark and the kids said you did a great job. Mark said it was successful because of you!” Joke Schubert wrote to Rianda.

Within weeks, Rianda filed a wrongful termination suit against Schubert in Orange County Superior Court.

“The man in my view has no moral compass,” Allard, the attorney who represented Rianda in the suit, said of Schubert. “He is a narcissist in the truest sense of the word. If you are standing in his way of his wants and desires, he will not hesitate to throw you aside like a piece of garbage.”

Schubert and Rianda reached a confidential out-of-court settlement in November 2014.

An investigation by Golden West College cleared both Jewell and Schubert of misconduct at Golden West, but the investigation wasn’t thorough. The investigator acknowledged he did not interview Rianda or any other Golden West coach who made allegations of sexual misconduct against Jewell or expressed their concerns about his behavior to Schubert. In a July 11 2012, memo, Woessner wrote that there were “four (Golden West) employees who had concerns about Bill’s behavior before the FAST allegations came out.”

A USA Swimming investigation found Jewell made inappropriate sexual comments while coaching at FAST and at Golden West.

With the Rianda lawsuit looming over Schubert and Golden West, and after negotiations between Jewell’s attorney and Lucinda McRoberts — an attorney at Bryan Cave, the Colorado Springs law firm representing USA Swimming — Jewell in June 2013 waived his right to a hearing and accepted a three-year suspension in return for USA Swimming issuing the sanction based “solely on the misconduct of Mr. Jewell in 2008 and 2011 while at FAST.”

“I’ve spoken with my client and your proposed revisions exceed what they are willing to agree to. The Petition references Code of Conduct violations in 2012, which USA Swimming believes are supported by its investigation,” McRoberts wrote in an email to Michael A. Bernstein, who represented Jewell in the USA Swimming case.

“However, if Mr. Jewell wants to only stipulate to the sanction requested by USA Swimming on the basis of the allegations stemming from FAST, USA Swimming is fine with that. I’ve added some language to suggest as much; let me know what you think. The attached redline shows changes from USA Swimming’s initial proposal.”

McRoberts was hired in December 2014 as USA Swimming’s chief counsel and director of legal affairs, a newly created position. She is currently USA Swimming’s general counsel.

Schubert also moved on.

Career comes full circle

Schubert returned to Mission Viejo and the Nadadores in 2016, bringing his coaching career full circle.There are reminders everywhere of the program’s storied past and a time when the road to the Olympics began by following a lane line at the bottom of the Mission Viejo pool.

“A lot of thoughts when I stand there on the pool deck,” he said. “Such outstanding things happened.”

But Schubert isn’t interested in looking back. He has no time to relive past glories or to be haunted by ghosts. In his fifth decade of coaching, Schubert still lives his life in the front windshield. He is not tempted to glance in his rear-view mirror or look beneath the surface of American swimming’s troubled waters. Whether he tried to turn that tide of abuse or was just another coach swept up in it is for someone else to debate as far as Schubert is concerned. He’s too busy.

“Would I love to bring back the days of the ’70s and ’80s? Absolutely, I would,” he said referring to Mission Viejo’s glory days. “But I just want the kids I’m working with now to swim fast.”

Scott Ried | The Mercury News

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