Monday, May 30, 2011

The facts Mr. Leonard, just the facts!

May 23rd, 2011: I posted a note on this blog with this title: "Is ASCA actually incorporated? - The 'Curb Northside ISD' blog says no way!" The primary subject of the post was whether ASCA or the American Swimming Coaches Association is actually incorporated correctly.

Evidently John Leonard was not pleased and sent off a very threatening note obviously not realizing that I do not like to be threatened. I subsequently responded within three-to four hours. You can read both our letters here: [Link]

Leonard was not happy. He even called the blogger I linked to, Sarah G., a "nut case" after berating me for slander. (So much for a lucid exchange.)

Here is John Leonard's response to my request for clarification as to what exactly was in error and/or what needed to be retracted. By the way, note his use of all capital letters for selected words. I suspect this represents shouting or perhaps he is trying to emulate William Shatner?

Mr. Austin - I apparently am not making myself clear.

You are not the Supreme Court. You are not a local court. You are not even Judge Judy.

I have ZERO reason to answer any questions you have. You're a blogger. You appear to have some mis-understanding of your role in this.

I am informing you that every material statement made by Ms. Gjerstard about the ASCA and myself is INCORRECT and SLANDEROUS. I am doing that out of courtesy.
YOU have the responsibility for what you place on your blog, despite your assertions that you're just "republishing" what someone else said. You are slandering the ASCA and myself.

If we do not have a full retraction by 6 PM EST on Friday, May 27, we will proceed with a lawsuit against you.

On your note about "looking forward to a constructive and civilized exchange with you", i would like to educate you that it is not "sick 'em Sarah". It's "Sic 'em Sarah". That's the end of any communciation between you and i.

Ms. Gjerstad has also been warned that she has until 6 PM to provide a full retraction. She is apparently "distraught" according to her blog....she should have thought about that before she started slandering people WITHOUT doing any research, homework or competent searches of State documents.

Perhaps her ignorance of what a 501-C6 is, which she is now freely admitting, might give you some pause as to the credibility of her "research".

She's a nut case. We'll find out about you in court, if we don't have a retraction by 6 PM tonight.


John Leonard

So, I write back again:

Dear Mr. Leonard:

Yes, it would be helpful if you could be more clear. You have demanded a retraction but have declined to indicate which facts in my blog you claim are false.

As you expressed in your first note I am entitled to my own opinion but “not entitled to [my] own facts”. Asserting that, “every material statement made by Ms. Gjerstard about the ASCA and myself is INCORRECT and slanderous” does not advance the process of obtaining the retraction you seek. You may choose not to answer the questions in my earlier note but your refusal to do so makes it difficult for me to comply with your demand for a retraction of what you claim are the false facts I “republished”, as opposed to comments that are opinions.

My offer still stands. Identify the facts you claim are false. If I confirm that a statement of “fact” in my blog is false, I will issue a retraction through a written posting in the very blog where the original statement appeared, i.e., “in substantially as conspicuous a manner” as the statement(s) to which you object. See California Civil Code Section 48a.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Tony Austin

So, what evidence do I have that ASCA or the American Swimming Coaches Association is not incorporated correctly? Above we have a screenshot from the Florida Department of State listing ASCA or the American Swimming Coaches Association as a 'Foreign Non Profit Corporation' doing business in the state of Florida. Next, I posted a screenshot from the 'Iowa Secretary of State' listing that the American Swimming Coaches Association corporation filing is inactive.

After doing the research, I conclude that Sarah is absolutely correct stating that the American Swimming Coaches Association corporation filing appears to be inactive in Iowa. I won't venture to make judgments on the repercussions or conclusions of what that means but it sure does sound like the American Swimming Coaches Association has some paperwork to do?

Calls to the Iowa Secretary of State office yielded the following answers: Iowa Secretary of State office 515-281-8993 - Pam was the person Sarah talked to and she confirmed the American Swimming Coaches Association corporation status terminated in 1992.

Calls to Florida yield the following answers: Fl Non-Profit Corporations (850)-245-6052 - Mary Ann was the person Sarah talk to and she confirmed the American Swimming Coaches Association foreign non-profit status is indeed located in Iowa. She suggested the Fl Dept of Revenue might be interested in the fact that his Iowa corporation has lapsed.

Now, more about Sarah: John Leonard was not only sending threatening letters to me; (two altogether), he sent six letters total to Sarah G. each one appearing more aggressive than the last finally degrading to the point of profanity. In one letter, Leonard gave Sarah an order to reprint a "retraction" that he had written for her and that Sarah was not allowed to mention that he wrote this ad hoc "retraction" or the "retraction" he wrote would be invalid. (Yeah, I found it that weird and that Orwellian.)

Letter number one:
Ms. [Sarah] Gjerstad,

I have been forwarded a copy of your blog and that of Mr. Tony Austin in Southern California, which purports to use the contents of your blog to further his campaign against the ASCA and myself.

Since I have never met you, don't know you or of you prior to this information, and have never answered any questions from you, i want to tell you the following:

1) Your blog defames the ASCA and myself. Look up the definition of internet defamation.

2) The information contained in your blog is entirely incorrect as it relates to the ASCA and SwimAmerica.

3) The ASCA is a 501-C6 corporation originally incorporated in Iowa and now duly registered for many years with
the Florida Department of Corporations with all reports and status active and complete.

4) SwimAmerica is a PROGRAM of the ASCA Council for Sport Development, a 501-C3 company conducting entirely 501-C3 purposeful activity. It was formed and is located in Florida.

5) There is no national business entity called SwimAmerica.

6) The ASCA Council hold full and complete rights to the name/logo SwimAmerica and it is copyright protected by us. We will vigourously enforce our copyright.

7) There is no such entity as " John Leonard Inc". owned by me in any state.

If you do not issue an immediate retraction, you will hear within 48 hours from our attorney's with a defamation lawsuit against you. I am providing you the courtesy of this notification directly, which is far mote than you did for me. IF you had wanted Accurate information in your campaign against NISD, you could have simply called me or emailed me and i would have given you directly the accurate information.

Now your inaccuracies have been nationally spread, it is possible that we have been materially damaged and you are in line for a lawsuit.

Fix this now, or look for the lawsuit. This constitutes reckless disregard for the truth, and damaging assault on a good organizations name.

John Leonard, ASCA

In the next letter he begins to use capital letters for selected words:
Ms. Gjerstad - you apparently are misunderstanding me. I have no reason to answer you on anything. I am communicating out of courtesy, (which you did not afford me.....) You have slandered me and our company.

I have explained to you in what manner. You either issue a STRONG retraction by 6 PM EST today, or we file suit and you can explain to a JUDGE why you would maliciously slander someone without even speaking to the principal person involved, and knowing NOTHING about how any of our organizations operate. You can either save yourself a lot of legal fees and grief, or go to court.

I will tell you out of courtesy, that no member of either ASCA or ASCA Council has ever, in the 26 years i have served at ASCA, rec'd any compensation for being on the Boards, NOR for any program or project done with us, other than speaking fees when they conduct a clinic. Your accusations are inaccurate and absurd.

by 6 PM Friday or it goes to a legal case. I am finished with being a nice guy about this. Make sure all four blogs you reference get a copy of your retraction with a copy to me to prove it.

John Leonard

And here is John Leonard beside himself regarding some sort of retraction that Sarah wrote which he found terribly anemic I suppose - gone is his professional facade but I am loving his grammar:

What you have printed on your blog is not a retraction. See my earlier deadline for a real retraction by 6 PM Friday.

There isnot and never has been an "Clerical error" by the state of Florida. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING and in the meantime, your lies are slandering our company.

Get a real retraction out by 6 PM today, or you are going to find out what distraught really means, when the lawsuit hits you. Your behaviour is irresponsible and criminal, and I am not going to stand still for it to be spread by equally ill-informed people Does it strike you as absurd that you are writing a blog about some organization being illegitimate and you don't even know what a 501-C6 is?


Next, he takes it upon himself to suggest that Sarah write what he tells her or else - I love his opening line:

How about a simple ...

"I apologize, i did not do my research correctly or thoroughly and should never have posted information that cast incorrect accusations at the American Swimming Coaches Association, SwimAmerica or John Leonard."

and of course, if you have to tell anyone that you had to ask me how to write a retraction, it would invalidate the entire thing.

I don't like lawyers. I like to solve things between human beings. People make mistakes. I can accept a real apology. But if there is any screwing around with this, MS. Gjerstad, I WILL have a lawyer to you directly. I have had enough of people lying first and shouting bad things from the rooftops and THEN trying to say they are sorry....that's not the nature of the the internet in todays world.

6 PM with copies to all the relevant blogs that spread this filth and a copy to me of each one you send. JL

Now he plays the rhetorical question card with an ominous threat:

I assume this means that you are not issuing a retraction.

I'll be filing suit as soon as possible.


Well, that did not work so next comes the profanity card and the all capital letters for selected words to really make his threat resonate:

No, i told you what i want. Period.

No bullshit, no lengthy diatrides, no dancing. You are dead wrong, you slandered the ASCA and myself among others, and there are ZERO issues with ASCA or SwimAmerica and the IRS or State of Florida, or anyone other entity.

YOU PUBLISHED SLANDER. Get that through your head. We don't owe you explanations or answers. You owe US an apology and acknowledgement as i indicated previously. IF you don't, i will take this to court and you can tell the judge how you shouted foul first and THEN decided you didn't know what you were doing. Good luck with that.

by 6 PM today. No more communications from me to you. John Leonard

Well, that shows Sarah, huh? - It shows me too, don't you think?

Perhaps it shows the ASCA board of directors as well.. and USA Swimming... and all the coaches within the organization as what kind of leader John Leonard really is. John means business and you better do what he says or he will sue!

To be sure how upset Leonard really is, Sarah is sending a letter to the ASCA board asking the following question:

To the Officers of American Swimming Coaches Association,

Is ASCA behind the lawsuit referenced in John Leonard's email, or is this John Leonard acting individually?

Would you make a statement regarding ASCA's involvement in the lawsuit?

Sarah Gjerstad

Note to John Leonard: You are a public figure. Your organization purports to have registered as many as 10,000 coaches. You have a convention of sorts every year and you have written several articles for Swimming World Magazine, Swim News, and of course your own magazine. Therein you have tried to influence several issues that affect the sport both nationally and internationally such as tech-suits, FINA rules, and even the Fran Crippen drowning. With that said, this is why bloggers have a right to talk about what you write, how you organize, and what we observe.

So, my request still stands: Identify the facts you claim are false. If I confirm that a statement of “fact” in my blog is false, I promise I will issue a retraction through a written posting in the very blog where the original statement appeared, i.e., “in substantially as conspicuous a manner” as the statement(s) to which you object. See California Civil Code Section 48a.


Anonymous said...

Hey Tony,

I dont understand all this stuff, but I have great respect for your faith in yourself in this matter.

Its funny to me that Leonard's insults also seem slanderous (or libelous? I get them confused).
It's also interesting that he is worried about a couple of "ignorant" bloggers.

Anyway, kudos to you for not giving in. This looks like a ploy to get you to shoot yourself in the foot and hurt your own credibility.

Tony Austin said...

Thank you, I am sincerely flattered and I am not just saying that. I did not pick this fight and all John Leonard had to do was tell me what to correct - he refused my attempts for meaningful dialog and apparently we had all the facts right.

Anonymous said...

Form 990 can be found on the NCCS Website. (google NCCS) - click on "find an organization"

Type in "American Swimming" and the two corporations which John Leonard is affiliated with will appear.

For the 2009 tax year, John was listed as the Director and earned $110,000 + benefits and expenses.

Anonymous said...

Good PR for ASCA= Respond with the factual information and state where the information can be located. Educate those enquiring with information about the organization.

Bad PR for ASCA= Threats of lawyers,explicatives, and demands.

What is going on here? It seems to be an over reaction. Is this ok with and endorsed by the ASCA Board? ASCA is a professional organization for professional Swim Coaches. Where is the professionalism here? I expect better for my membership in ASCA. Civility and Kindness always matters......Just Saying...Defend your organization with level headed responses and education. Responses to the blogs if done at all can be an opportunity to win respect and educate those who are asking questions. Threats never win respect. Why not just answer the questions of the bloggers with thoughtful and fact supported answers? The longer this goes on,The more threats John Leonard makes, the worse ASCA looks. This is embarrassing and hard for this coach member to stomach.

Tony Austin said...

OKAY, I did what you said, I just typed in American Swimming Coaches Association. (BTW, you rock!)

WOW! They are a small company!

Total revenue: $788,373
Total assets: $64,639

Then I looked at their 2008 Form 990 and this stuck out like a sore thumb: ASCA spent more than half their income of salaries and benefits: $477,314 - (John Leonard made $110,000 of that which is modest but what benefits do they supply?)

Independent contractors got: $36,631

His board of Directors makes nothing, whereas Leonard gets $110,000.

Note, the executives in the company made $0.00! That impresses me for the talent he has working for free exceeds what he has ever accomplished in or out of the pool by miles.

I want to go look at the rest of his corps and see what he is making. So far, this appears to be a very fragile organization economically and I am astonished that he is threatening me?

Tony Austin said...

I wish you ran ASCA! Apparently it is a small organization and needs better guidance. What you said could have made me an ally rather than a concerned blogger who is seriously taking a look at what this organization is all about.

BTW, I like your style. :-D

Anonymous said...

To the first anonymous:

Not that it's central to the debate at hand, but Leonard's emails cannot be slanderous nor libelous. To be as such, he had to have said them to a wide-spread audience. Sending them in an email to one person doesn't fit the criteria.

Anonymous said...

Which are the other 3 blogs Leonard references?

Tony Austin said...

And Sarah has more luxurious and thicker skin too. ;-)

Tony Austin said...

I am venturing only a guess: Hers, mine and probably the Splash of Truth site. USS Swim Scandal?

Sarah G said...

The first day, there were 4 sites that references me,, usswimnscandal, and and a 4th that may have taken the post down, so I won't mention them. By the next day there were a few more. I enjoyed 17thman cat fight in the pool.

Tony Austin said...

Joel, or the 17th man, is the biggest swim blogger of all!

Anonymous said...

Line #12 - $477,314 is for Salaries, other compensation, and employee benefits!

How many employees do they have?

Line #16 - Other Expenses -$170,896(includes $36,000 for travel, $4000 for automobile, etc.)

$110,000 salary isn't so bad when someone has no limit on an expense account. (my opinion)

The corporation had revenue of $788,373 and expenses of $828,191 for a loss of (-$39,818).

Now I understand why they only allow coach MEMBERS to file complaints against other coach MEMBERS - they can't afford to investigate the complaints (my opinion!

Anonymous said...

What is a 501-C6? Let's look. Does this sound like what is going on?

What is a 501(c)(6) organization?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a 501(c)(6) organization is a business league devoted to the improvement of business conditions of one or more lines of business. It is not engaged in any regular business typically carried on by for-profits.
Trade associations and professional associations are considered to be business leagues. The mission of a 501(c)(6) organization must focus on the advancement of the conditions of a particular trade or the interests of the community.

A 501(c)(6) business league may further its exempt purposes through lobbying as its primary activity without jeopardizing its exempt status. However, a 501(c)(6) organization that engages in lobbying may be required to either provide notice to its members regarding the percentage of dues paid that are applicable to lobbying activities, or pay a proxy tax.

Examples of 501(c)(6) organizations include the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, Home Builders Associations, and local chambers of commerce.

Tony Austin said...

Well you both schooled me.

Get this, more went to salaries than the subject of the non profit. i.e. the coaches.

Greg said...

From the ASCA newsletter received this morning: "So far judges have tended to be reluctant to let defamation actions proceed against anonymous posters without establishing legal standards that must be met . . . 'Courts have generally said it's a valuable right to speak anonymously, and one that shouldn't be given up easily."

Tony Austin said...

Notice how most of the posters on this thread are anonymous? I have no problems with that and I welcome it but it sure says a lot regarding how safe it is to have an opinion if you are a coach or a competitive swimmer. Let's try to change all that.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, your spat with Craig Lord indicates that people needn't only fear getting on the bad side of ASCA...

at any rate, the anticipation is killing me. Was the suit filed?

Tony Austin said...

No, I have not been process served nor has a lawyer representing ASCA contacted me.

I have received no more emails from John Leonard and I am confident that this episode is complete. If not, I have a lawyer too and the California Civil code to protect me.

It was a spectacle was it not? And I made sure that I did not interrupt them while they stepped on their wieners!

Anonymous said...

You may want to review:

While I may not agree with how ASCA is set up and runs, I think you need to be very careful with what you say and how you say it. If I were in JL's position I would be accusing you of defamation, too.

Jake said...


I always respect the whistle blowers in life when something is done incorrectly and intentionally. It is nice to hear that some people still fight for what is right and don't cave in when bullied.

Tony Austin said...

Thank you Jake, I can say what I feel since my reputation and income have nothing to do with swimming related activities.

Tony Austin said...

Anon, I am aware of that link and I would be more than happy to cooperate with Leonard if I have anything incorrect but it sure does not look that way though.

Anonymous said...

John Leonard has no obligation to cooperate with you. It is your responsibility to ensure that the material you publish is accurate, it is not his responsibility to provide you correct information, or even point out your errors. If you're relying on him to educate you, you're going to have problems if this goes to court.

Tony Austin said...

This is not going to court. You forgot that truth is a de facto defense.

Tony Austin said...

Anon, I just thought of something funny. You say suggest I be careful of what I say, Perhaps J. Leonard should be careful regarding what he says for if he gets sued in between now and when he fixes his sloppy accounting, the person who sues ASCA will be suing JL since he apparently has not corporation.

Anonymous said...

many of us would be interested in finding out who owns Swim America or WSCA? I believe they have a similar business address! Please keep up the great work!

Another Jake said...

If it's a 501 c, then nobody owns it, do they? It's run by a board, is it not?

Anyways, I don't like how JL handled himself either. But in terms of the crux of the argument (whether or not the ASCA is appropriately incorporated), I'm still not convinced. Do you have any contacts in the business world (an attorney, a professor, ANYTHING) that could really help explain to us what's going on???

Tony Austin said...

WHAT? I gave you screenshots, I gave you phone numbers to call and I gave you names too.

Look them up and call.

ASCA has a 501C(6) is different than a 501C. It is reserved for associations, boards of trade and even football organizations.

Here is a link to the IRS regarding 501C(6) organizations:,,id=96107,00.html

Now, Corporations are granted out by the individual states not the federal government. (i.e. Nevada Corporation, Delaware Corp, Colorado Corp etc, etc. I am the most unimpressed with Colorado since their non-profit laws suck in my opinion.)

His non profit status with the IRS is something I do not question, but, his foreign corporation status that the Florida website states was located in and/or formed in Iowa has lapsed according to the Iowa Secretary of State website. In fact I believe it has lapsed almost 2-decades ago.

Another Jake said...

Oh come on Tony, you and I both know that corporations aren't as simple to understand as you are making it sound. Otherwise, they wouldn't pay corporate attorneys so galdarn much money!

I'd still feel better hearing it from someone who didn't just learn what a foreign corporation is 5 days ago, but maybe that's just me. I think if you could get a real authority on the subject to back you up, that would silence the doubters on this matter for good.

Tony Austin said...

Prove me wrong then.

Another Jake said...

And that right there is the obnoxious attitude that turns people off to you, regardless of how right you are. You seem to feel as though you can say whatever you want and that it's a fact until someone proves you wrong, yet you never feel the need to really prove yourself right.

In that regard, you're no better than Leonard himself. Last time I visit this blog!

Anonymous said...

I think the only thing that will wake you up is a lawsuit. You've defamed me, but I don't have $40K to file a defamation lawsuit against you. In time someone with the financial resources will do it, and maybe that will make you think twice befor you repeat lies, or write your own, both of which are illegal.

I am not involved with ASCA in any way.

Tony Austin said...

You posted that anonymously?

Next time write me a personal email; in fact write me one now. You tell me what I got in error and I will correct it and not only will I correct it;(if it indeed is in error and not simply one of my opinions), I will write an apology and stick up as the first blog of the day.)

Something tells me you're a public figure - please look up the ramifications of that means in regards to blogs and the press.

BTW, I do have resources to defend myself.

Anonymous said...

I am not a public figure by any stretch of anyone's imagination. Why would I want you to apologize for your libel of me by reprinting It on the front page of you blog? That would only reinforce the lies, even if they were printed with your excuses for why you wrote them.

I agree with 'another Jake.'

Tony Austin said...

That made no sense to me whatsoever - see ya.

Anonymous said...

A interesting concopt in lawsuits is that the court needs to have jurisdiction over the matter. So if ASCA operates in CA but has not registered with the state, CA doesn't have jurisdiction. Of course, a CA resident could file as an individual. Tony, you can sue ASCA, but if you are correct about their corporation status, ASCA cannot sue you. If you are wrong, ouch!

Tony Austin said...

Yes, you are quite knowledgeable. I wish I would have talked to you as well.

Note, he is also a public figure which made the burden of proof harder and quite frankly what monetary damage did I really cause?

Then, I had California Civil Code 48a on my side. Plus, he had both a lawyer and an office here in California and as you know he would have to sue me here. Plus, Sarah and I were 100% right and truth is the ultimate defense.


I am not done with him yet.

There's a reason we're anonymous said...


1) He's not going to email you, because if history proves correct, you'll publish his emails on your site and publically ridicule him, especially now that he gave away that he doesn't have the finances to fight the issue.

2) Send you an email next time? Sort of like you did for John Leonard?

3) Stop harping on the public figures issue. Again, stop acting like a Wikipedia lawyer. If your statements are, in fact, false (I don't know if they are or not), you are still posting many of them with "reckless disregard for the truth". Therefore, public figure or not, you're still on the hook.

Man, I wish you'd lawyer up at the very least so that you could figure out what the heck you're talking about with all of this stuff, because you are CLUELESS. I'm aghast that you have so much independent wealth as you claim, with this sort of limited knowledge about corporations and the law.

Tony Austin said...

I stand by everything I say, there are no lies therein, I am not clueless and I am not going to show you my cards why I am so confident...

surfer said...

JL is a hot air bag. I swam with an old boys club coach who was very much like JL and bragged frequently of their friendship. This drunker-ed old boy finally got his bubble burst when one his alcohol inspired rants against me years later fell into the hands of his boss (the local high school principle). JL is just ticked that some 'punk' isn't kissing his fat ass. Any lawsuits filed by either side?

Tony Austin said...

None, no lawsuits filed but I am thinking of seeking, or demanding an apology. I kid you not!

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I think it says a lot that John Leonard hasn't filed a lawsuit after making all of those claims that he would. Looks like he just wanted to bully and scare you guys into submission.

Tony Austin said...

thanks for the support - I think you are absolutely right.

surfer said...

I have sent a few letters of concern regarding a number of USS and college swim issues and JL has been rather threatening if my opinion does not reflect his own. He and I really went at it over the suits, ASCA is his little control tool and pocket liner. I will never join again, until he is gone and they have a new leadership model in place. his attack on FINA is merely an effort to replace one tyrant with his own tyranny.

Anonymous said...

What is John Leonard's coaching background to be a asca 5 level coach?

Tony Austin said...

I suspect that is a rhetorical question; I can't find his bio. Why not post for us what a Ninja Level 5 can do?

Anonymous said...

John Leonard's bio is on

Tony Austin said...

Then he is definitely a super, special, level-5 ninja!

surfer said...

At least he has learned not to be braggadocios

"John Leonard has been the Executive Director of the American Swimming Coaches Association in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since assuming that post in January of 1985. In 41 years of coaching, he has become one of the best known names in the world of swimming, worldwide.

In the process of growing the Association from 1600 members in 1985 to 7300 in 2011, Leonard has overseen a staff that has developed educational programs and services that include 26 different types of coaching schools, overseen the development of a Certification program that has certified over 12,100 coaches in 26 years, organized the model national learn to swim school in SwimAmerica which has taught over 2.4 million American youngsters to swim, and turned the American Swimming Coaches Association into an advocacy force that has been impactful and successful in national and world swimming and world sport.

Leonard began his coaching career in Syracuse NY, where he developed numerous national qualifiers, national Finalists and a 1976 Olympian, while building an 800 member swim team and managing a 35 pool city Aquatics program. In 1978, he moved to Lake Forest Swim Club and Lake Forest College in Illinois, where he again developed a nationally powerful club team and USA National Team members.

John was a founder of the World Swimming Coaches Association in 1988, and still serves on the Board of that Organization and is serving his second term as its Executive Director. He received the USA Athletes Appreciation Award in 1996, for his strong anti-doping actions in world sport. In 2004 and in 2010, he received the Paragon Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame for Learn to Swim in 2004 and for Competitive Swimming in 2010. In 2005, he was honored with the Collegiate/Scholastic Trophy from NISCA for his contributions to swimming and was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in all of Aquatics, by Aquatics International magazine.

John serves on multiple committees for USA Swimming, including the Olympic International Operations and International Relations Committees, and was a member of the FINA International Coaches Commission. In the last quad, John served FINA as a consultant on Coaching Education. John has served on 14 USA National Team Staffs and has worked for American Swimming at 6 Olympic Games. He has served as the Chairman of the United States Swimming Steering Committee for the USA Olympic Team in Swimming.

An accomplished writer and editor, Leonard has authored over 1000 articles on the sport of swimming, written four books on swimming and edited four others, in addition to making clinic presentation in 38 countries around the world. He regularly provides presentations from groups ranging from swimming parents and coaches to sports administrators.

In the 1980’s Leonard fought to introduce the first Code of Ethics for swimming coaches into the ASCA, which was put in place in 1989. In the 90’s and 00’s, Leonard has been known as one of the leading anti-doping crusaders in sport, and since 2000, he has served on various committees and commissions with international sports organizations, including on the Coaches Commission of FINA, the international governing body of the Olympic Sport of Swimming. Since 2000, Leonard has served a key role on the USA-Swimming International Relations Committee and since 2006, has been the Coordinator of the International Action Agenda of that Committee.

John is still an active coach with his SwimFast Team in Broward County, FL. John and Dianne Sgrignoli have 6 children between them, 2 girls, Mary and Kym and 4 boys, David, Kory, Jackson and Tim. By fall of 2011, Tim, the last child at home, will be in College. Kory, Jackson and Tim will all be “Gators” in Gainesville, FL. John’s son Jackson is learning to Coach under Coach Gregg Troy at UF, while pursuing his degree in English."

from coaches bio at

Tony Austin said...

I so held my nose when I hit the publish button.

I will add that his bully skills stop here!

Anonymous said...

Those are impressive numbers on John Leonard. I wonder how many SwimAmerica coaches have gone through the program?

Tony Austin said...


Anonymous said...

John Leonard is not a public figure? Look at that bio ...

Tony Austin said...

When I look at his photo, I love how the watch is the focal point.

Anonymous said...

Funny. John Leonard actually slandered a 16-year old Chinese Olympic Champion. He accused her of doping although he has absolutely no proof and she has been tested clean after the race.

Anonymous said...

Tony, nice level-handed treatment of the issue. Hopefully - if Ye Shiwen is proven to have competed legally without the enhancements that JL slandered her with - there will be a huge defamation lawsuit against that Florida-based self-righteous SOB. Your support in any legal recourse for Ye would be considered an asset to international sport and civil discourse.

An American swimmer

Anonymous said...

Tony, nice level-handed treatment of the issue. Hopefully - if Ye Shiwen is proven to have competed legally without the enhancements that JL slandered her with - there will be a huge defamation lawsuit against that Florida-based self-righteous SOB. Your support in any legal recourse for Ye would be considered an asset to international sport and civil discourse.

An American swimmer

Anonymous said...

Tony, nice level-handed treatment of the issue. Hopefully - if Ye Shiwen is proven to have competed legally without the enhancements that JL slandered her with - there will be a huge defamation lawsuit against that Florida-based self-righteous SOB. Your support in any legal recourse for Ye would be considered an asset to international sport and civil discourse.

An American swimmer

Tony Austin said...

thank you, I am very flattered. I sincerely am.