Friday, December 09, 2011

I want to thank Swimming World for allowing a comment I made to a John Leonard guest editorial to stand despite a request to have it removed!

There have been allegations that Swimming World is a "yes-man" to both USA Swimming and even the American Swimming Coaches Association. Fellow bloggers have criticized them as well especially a website called, US Swim Scandal, authored by an under-the-radar-group known as the Splash of Truth has as well.

In September 10, 2010 John Leonard the CEO, wrote a guest editorial for Swimming World entitled FINA Changes Course; Thank the Captain! The crux of the editorial was to thank FINA for not becoming less "...autocratic" as Leonard put it and still allow input via a vote from the coaches and federations. Read that as Federation CEOs & Coach Association CEOs only thereby allowing them a vote on how FINA should do business.

Here is a snippet:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, September 27. JUST as FINA was about to wreck itself on the rocks of autocratic Rule by its Executive Director and Honorable Secretary, the steering wheel has been turned by its President and his good influence on the FINA Bureau.

President Julio Maglione has proven himself a friend of the Federations, the coaches and the athletes by arguing the case for Federation input into the proposals to be put forth for next summer's FINA Constitutional Congress. He made his case so strongly during the Bureau Meeting in Uruguay last weekend that an initially-oppositional Bureau swung all the way around and unanimously agreed to allow all Federations to contribute ideas for the good governance of the sport.

To put my frame of mind in perspective, I was seething at the time that coaching bodies and federations put the swimmers last and here was a guy using politics 101 to put forth what I viewed as an erroneous opinion that FINA was now "democracy." My take was that swimmers have no real say or real vote in anything a federation or a coach association does. (Imagined if national team swimmers had a vote on salary compensation?)

Subsequently I wrote a shrill, emotional response and I am told that John Leonard was not impressed. So much so that he wanted to know who I was and have the comment removed immediately - Swimming World, to their credit said NO WAY! Both Brent and Jason would have not buckle. When i was told of this, I asked if I could rewrite it and put my name it. With no hesitation they agreed and off I went. I made the comment even more shrill and ultimately more ungrammatical.

To say Swimming World is a "yes-man" is not true, far from it and it is my belief everything they print is the most accurate news you can get.

Here is a snippet of what I wrote a sproof:

John, It's my belief that you have set up a de facto monopoly in the swim coach certification market by way of USA Swimming's endorsement of your outfit. Subsequently, I suspect you have personally profited greatly from it. That is my opinion after looking at the salaries of the USA Swimming executive team.

What annoys to no end about ASCA is that if a mom-&- pop swim team wants to be certified as a USA Swimming club, there is a strong push to have their coaches certified through ASCA if the mom-&- pop swim team coach has no college degree equivalent. (See USA Swimming's silly points system for club certification as a reference).


Finally, it is my opinion, [the] ASCA standard of becoming the "creme de la crème" of coaching is to find a kid with some talent who can post a US Nationals qualifying time which subsequently [would make] you a "superior coach" is both garbage and a lie?

I am publicly thanking Swimming World for allowing my comment to remain at their site so as to dispel any allegations that they are soft, wimpy or cave in when there is pressure to support a particular political point of view under threats.


Chris DeSantis said...

I am glad that Swimming World kept your comment but we shouldn't go all crazy because they did the right thing in this one instance.

Tony Austin said...

I just don't think they are the target.

Anonymous said...

National Team Swimmers do have a vote on compensation. The Sports Act requires that every committee have 20% representation -- the Steering Committee made up of our highest achieving coaches and one retired National Team athlete and one current National Team athlete discusses and votes on proposed National Team stipend programs annually.

Tony Austin said...

Thank you for the correction and I did not know that. I am curious though as to why the salaries so low for swimmers and so high for management.

Splash said...

Tony, while we respect your opinion, the fact is, they should have printed your comment. There have been several times where we submitted comments (no profanity or rhetoric) and Swimming World immediately disabled the comment section or that respective article. This happened most recently when we ripped them for putting something up on the Chris Wheat/Indiana Swimming scandal a week after the Jon Little press conference. We would like Swimming World to address the situation with Chuck's son. Why is our USA-S source insisting there is a deal between Rutemiller and Wielgus to cover this up? Why do they lob softball questions, when another scandal erupts? They are good at reporting fluff and recognizing kids, coaches and programs, but have no journalistic integrity!

Anonymous said...


Why don't you allow comments on your website?

You seem to pick and choose what info appears on your website, why shouldn't Swimming World do the same?

Anonymous said...


When are you going to run a story of the disgraced coach from Indiana/Ohio currently suspended from USA Swimming for falsifying times and facing charges of embezzling thousands from his swim club?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

At least Indiana/Ohio suspends their coaches for falsifying times. When the suspensions up, the coach should go to Southern California where it seems that falsifying times is the norm.

Tony Austin said...
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surfer said...
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Tony Austin said...

I have to agree, switching swimmers from a relay is not recognized officially as a "cardinal sin" and should subsequently go to the "back of the line" when compare to the more serious problems that swimming has.

Read as Pedophile coaches, doping, economic exploitation, and a coach certifying body that apparently just "wings it."

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tony Austin said...

Why don't you just use real names? If these are facts, why post anonymously?

Also, the original topic is John Leonard, Myself and Swimming World

Anonymous said...

Tony - lets back up. I was responding to your comment "Coaches falsify times in Southern California? who? and when?"

If you don't think my comments are appropriate for this posting - please delete them.

I never said that this behavior is worse than, equal to or even comes close to sexual abuse.

In fact, please go ahead and delete the Swim Torrance comments.

Tony Austin said...

My apologies, but you did not say who.

Anonymous said...

For Clarification:


I was responding to your statement "No one gets into a JO or higher meet with falsified times"

When a switched relay position gives a swimmer an Olympic Trial time and a National #1 ranking - that's a problem.

Teams do benefit when they have swimmers who qualify for these meets and ASCA certification levels climb.


Although the kids may have switched positions, it is up to the adults to correct the error. I'm not blaming the kid and do not choose to print the name.

Also, I thought you understood why people chose to post annon.

Back to the original post: John Leonard, Tony Austin, Swimming World.

Because ASCA certification levels are based on having swimmers qualify for certain events, does this discourage people from correcting errors?

Tony Austin said...

I thought you were blaming the kid and I do appreciate people who post anon, but particular when particular situations and accusations are thrown about that are specific in nature, I request names as a courtesy.

surfer said...
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Anonymous said...

the comments on this tread are starting to look like a russian newspaper. "deleted" vs "censored"

Tony Austin said...

The deletions were all requested by three separate users.

Note, if you regret something you have posted, I have a "trashcan icon" at the bottom of your posted comment that will allow you to delete what you have written.

Anonymous said...

I don't get how falsified times equates to sexual abuse....It's like comparing apples to oranges....
They're both violations of USA Swimming. With all violations, there are different penalties involved.
USAS R&R state,"yet, to the people involved, each dispute, each indicent is just as important as the other".
The kid who lost his #1 ranking has the right to feel angry and shouldn't have to feel content because "something worse could have happened"!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is why the new National Team Director wants National teams selected from National Championships only. There seems to be too much discrepancy between LSC's as to what's acceptable and what's not. It's really too bad.

Anonymous said...

I read the Russian newspaper before the deletions and want to add my $.02.
Speaking of high salaries for administrators, Mary Jo Swalley earns around $100,000. 2007/2008 990 from SCS LSC. Couldn't find a current 990. Don't know what is earned from her gig with the Pac-12and officiating at major meets. I would bet a lot of free travel.

The comment mentioned that Bettie Williams would take down coaches because she wanted Mary Jo's job. Seems like a pretty awesome job.

I also agree that the common thread is not the families or coaches - but the administration. Swim Torrance has a long history of shuffling through Head Coaches.

History on Swim Torrance:
The team was originally affiliated with the YMCA. The Head Coach, Dan Halliday, was prosecuted for embezzlement. Around the same time rumors were flying regarding sexual misconduct. The YMCA severed ties and Bettie Williams and a few parents reformed the team as a 501(C)(3). (around 2007)

A majority of the Board of Director "voting" positions are constanty held by these same people. In fact, Bettie holds two of the voting positions.

The families who complained about the misconduct were not allowed on the reformed team.

Bettie went to the board and said she had a young coach from USC, Mike Kauffman, who she would mentor. (a huge disservice for Mike).

In the summer of 2009 the team fired a coach and hired Coach Julie's sister, Christine, and Mike's friend, Tyler Storie (Athletes VP).

The team created "Elite" groups. Most of the fast swimmers were taking private stroke lessons from John halliday, Dan's brother. In order to be in these groups, the kids were forced to give up their private stroke lessons.

Fall 2009, kids were being treated poorly, the board refused to listen, a well-respected parent/coach had had enough and resigned.
January 2010, about 50 kids had to leave the team because the board refused to let them swim for a month (before HS swim season) without paying $500.00. (A reduced rate was requested).

Spring of 2010 coach who resigned and a few others took their kids to La Mirada Armada (Metro Committee). Many families followed.

At the same time the coach who was let go in 2009 and John Halliday started a new swim club "Rolling Hills Tsunami" in one of the pools that Swim Torrance would use on occassion.

Swim Torrance lost more swimmers, Mike Kauffman left and went to FAST, John Carroll (TSM Head Coach), replaced Mike (June 2010).
It was mentioned at the coaches clinic that Swim Torrance lost about 50 swimmers during John's first week. (kids follow their friends).

The teams losing money so the logical next move - do whatever it takes to prevent Rolling Hills Tsunami from succeeding.

Supposedly, Bettie sent a letter to USA Swimming so John couldn't get his coaching certificate.

The COLA team in San Pedro was folding and Bettie offered those swimmers a 50% reduction in fees if they joined Swim Torrance.

La Mirada came to the rescue of Rolling Hills Tsunami by creating a satellite program that practices in Rolling Hills but has the benefits of being affiliated with a team in the Metro Committee, which means, the athletes can attend meets in the Metro committee and are free from Bettie Williams and the Pacific Committee.

Less than a year with Swim Torrance, John Carroll left the team to take the helm of a new swim club "Beach Cities Swimming" - more swimmers left Swim Torrance.
Johns twitter says something like,"when folks say a club is bad, they ain't just hatin - I won't question it again".

Currently, Tyler Storie is the Head Coach. What happens next remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Check out the Attorney Generals website. On 9/15/2011 Swim Torrance received a Notice of Intent to Suspend or Revoke
Registration for failure to file registration fees and IRS forms for 06,07,08,09 - the entire length of the corporations existence!

It also states that these violations are not exhaustive and are limited to the information currently available to their office.

Swim Torrance has the opportunity to appeal their decision by filing a written appeal and request a hearing.

Tony Austin said...

I may delete this article since it has become a mess and nothing but a bunch of finger pointing at Swim Torrance.

victim said...

I don't think Splash should be criticizing Swimming World for not posting their comments - at least Swimming World allows comments.

Splash wants to write whatever they choose without giving people a chance to defend themselves.

The commonality between all of these posts is that ASCA, USA Swimming, some LSC's and some clubs act like they are superior and do not need to follow rules, regulations, and laws!

These entities are all operating under not-for-profit status, but are all benefiting big time!!!

The athletes are the backbone of the organization, yet the athletes seem to come last.

Anonymous said...

So - John Leonard created a monopoly. Sounds pretty clever to me.

Why are people buying into it? Why is USA Swimming buying into it?

There must be more going on than meets the eye.

Tony Austin said...

He certainly did despite best practices set forth by American National Standards and Certification bodies.

Why did USA Swimming allow that to happen?