Friday, May 31, 2013

Brian Pawlowicz, Tom Ugast, Pete Morgan, & Art Davis heard USA Swimming board of director Paris Jacobs report: - "Pay no attention to that blogger behind the curtain!"

Irv Muchnick just sent this to me in an email:
"... Here’s what NCAP’s Brian Pawlowicz, Tom Ugast, Pete Morgan, and Art Davis heard committee administrative chair Paris Jacobs report:

"Please note, there is a lot of false of information and many ‘attackers’ out there looking to blame USA Swimming. If you have questions, come and ask. You can call USA-S Executive Director, Chuck Wielgus or USA S President Bruce Stratton. Call Paris to ask questions; just don’t automatically assume that what you are ready or hearing is accurate. There are bloggers out there that are attacking our Sport. USA Swimming is ahead in Safe Sport when compared to all other National Governing Bodies. There is a lot of good going on in our sport we need to remember the good and ask questions in order to stay informed...."

Well that shows me! Or does it?

My opinion is that you listen and read everybody and then form your own opinions. The opinion I value the most happens to be the one that originated from a tormented Rick Curl victim named Kelly Currin.

So, what do you think about that? Mr. Brian Pawlowicz, Tom Ugast, Pete Morgan, Art Davis? I don't see you posting Ms Currin's point of view to set the record straight. As Ms Paris Jacobs? All I saw was Chuck Welgus, and David Berkoff spouting scripted rhetoric with incomplete facts.

In fact take the opinion of Susan Woessner, USA Swimming Safe Sport Executive who called the police to get Rick Curl arrested when Mr. Brian Pawlowicz, Tom Ugast, Pete Morgan, Art Davis and Ms Paris Jacobs of the Rick Curl club that Curl founded did not. Ms Woessner also graciously thanked Kelly Currin.

Then take the opinions of former USA Swimming National Coach, Mark Schubert, who said Chuck Wielgus knew of the Rick Curl molestation of Kelly Currin in 2007 and both did nothing about it. Then take the opinion of "Mr. Pants on fire," David Berkoff, who emphatically stated he knew about the molestation of Kelly Currin in the 1990's and was so "gosh, darn, mad" about it that he did "nothing" or "something" about it depending on which version he happens to be bragging or testifying under oath about.

Now, with a straight face Mr. Brian Pawlowicz, Tom Ugast, Pete Morgan, Art Davis and Ms Paris Jacobs explain why some of the people at USA Swimming have no business being blamed?

Shame on all you all and any members of the NCAP club that are willing to drink your "Rick Curl flavored Kool Aid."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Will the real David Berkoff please stand up?

Work-wise and family-wise I have been underwater. The timing of such distractions has been terrible and unfortunately I have been missing in action as a swim blogger.

In the past week a lot has happened: Kelly Currin's statement has completely changed the Zeitgeist in regards to child protection. The Washington Post editorial board has called for a Senate investigation into USA Swimming, Coach Bill Jewell is under investigation thereby validating Coach Dia Rianda's credibility and executives at USA Swimming are going on the record in open letters and interviews to "set the record straight."

David Berkoff is one of these executives and he just delivered a contradictory statement to his home town paper, the Missoula Independent, that is so outrageous that I have to publish what he said and compare it to what what he has written previously and has testified to under oath.

In his home town paper David Berkoff is quoted as saying

From the Missoula Independent:
[David Berkof] says he has no intention of resigning from the national board nor of stepping down from his position at MAC.

“The premise for them asking me to resign my position is that they claim I knew about Kelley Davies being molested by Rick Curl. I didn’t know. I heard rumors,” says Berkoff, who adds that he’s never met either person. “There’s a huge difference. You can’t accuse someone of a crime and call for an investigation based on fourth-hand and third-hand information.”

When Berkoff served as an athlete representative on the USA Swimming board in the early 1990s, he says he was instrumental in creating a subcommittee tasked with addressing abuse. He also takes pride in helping to shape USA Swimming’s “Safe Sport” program, which now includes enhanced background checks and lifetime bans for offenders.

“There are a lot of good people who are working hard to make the sport safer, and I count myself among that group,” Berkoff says. 

Mr. Berkoff is a lawyer and the idea that he must have a “victim” come forth to report a potential crime simply does not wash especially if it is a crime against a minor. Berkof's rhetoric is "smoke and mirrors. " This “victim-only” rule is an “old wives tale” that both Berkoff and Chuck Wielgus keep pushing and have been trying to pass off as a fact for far too long. Hence, it is time for them to go.

Though it is inconvenient to accuse an innocent person of abuse, it is far worse to allow a child to be abused because you are reluctant to speak out. The suspicion of a crime can be reported anonymously. Let the professionals based upon the anonymous report determine what happens next.

Berkoff wrote,
"... 22 years ago—when I was a 24 year old swimmer—I confronted a problem that I saw as unjust. I formed the first abuse subcommittee in 1991 and the committee’s work formed the basis for the Code of Conduct. I quit the Board for several reasons in 1992. ..."
I read the transcript of a video deposition Berkoff gave on January 26th of 2012 - Berkoff was  NOT on a “Sex Abuse Sub-Committee in 1991 nor was he a USA Swimming board member during 1991. He admitted as such in his video deposition. What he was doing during that period of time was training for the Olympics. [Page 178 of said deposition.]

Though Berkoff states emphatically that he “formed the first [sex] "abuse sub-committee" in 1991,” a statement he mentioned in emails to Jeff Chida, Mike Saltzstein [See the image above] he testified under oath of doing NO such thing.

Moreover, there are NO official committee meeting minutes or otherwise that can be presented to prove anything he says is true. Nothing, and it appears to be all lies and after going through his deposition I could only find this "shred" of an explanation that he gave regarding the formation of a “Sex Abuse Committee”:

Question: Whose idea was it to form this subcommittee?

David Berkoff: I don't know if it was mine or whether somebody just said, hey, who is interested in doing this. I don't recall. [Page 178] 

In January of this last year Berkoff had no idea if he formed a “abuse sub-committee” but in a rebuttal letter to this blog he produced a firm date, which was not only incorrect but he takes credit for being the originator. Repeat, under oath he says that he had NO idea if he formed this “abuse sub-committee” at all.

Question: [When Asked about a letter to Ken Stopkotte and Mike Saltzstein]  Quote, As you all know, it took seven years from the date we formed an abuse subcommittee in 1992, end quote. 

When you say "we," who were you referring to when you wrote this in July of 2010?

David Berkoff: Yeah. Probably U.S.A. Swimming in general.

Question:  And why did you use the words "abuse subcommittee"?

David Berkoff: I really didn't know what else to call it. It wasn't a formal committee. All I know is it was a group of us who I recall meeting once, maybe twice discussing these issues in a very frank and open manner. And what I recall of it I've testified to before, and the only person I can recall actually being there was John Leonard [...]

Question:  Was the topic of implementing a formal Code of Conduct discussed during this meeting?

David Berkoff:  I don't know if there was actually some discussion of a formal Code of Conduct. I do believe that we did discuss the issue of whether or not we should have some kind of formal statement on abuse of swimmers.

What stands out the most for me is the “...Formal Code of Conduct...” that Berkoff so brazenly take credits for in his rebuttal. What Berkoff said in a  rebuttal in a note he sent to this blog is that...
“...the committee’s work formed the basis for the Code of Conduct...”
...But that completely conflicts with what he answered in his deposition above. When asked directly about this “formal code of conduct” he make it clear that it may have never been discussed.

After reading his emails and his quotes to the press, I don’t believe him. I think he is lying and his accomplishments within USA Swimming seem to be a "multiple choice option".  When under oath he seems non-committal, but when running for office or defending his positions he pulls out the red,white & blue colors of the USA Swimming logo and seems self-assured and confident.

His quotes to the Independent appear to me to be scripted and conflict with everything he said under oath and emails to associates.

Yes, the Senate should look into USA Swimming and focus their attention on three members: Chuck Wielgus, David Berkoff and John Leonard.

Friday, May 24, 2013

New York Times: "Abuse Victim Seeks Ouster of U.S. Swimming Officials"

(Updated to correct typos and to acknowledge with a link that Pablo Morales knew nothing of this abuse nor having any sort of conversation with David Berkoff regarding this topic. )

Karen Krouse wrote a piece in the New York Times regarding Kelly Currin's victim statement published here and elsewhere. I think she nails it and what she nails best is Kelly Currin's desire to remove USA Swimming officials who knew of her abuse and did nothing about it. Nothing!

From the New York Times:

“...While I was battling demons from the childhood molestation, Wielgus, Berkoff and Coach Schubert contributed to the glorification of Rick Curl by allowing him to coach at one of the most prestigious swim centers in the country for almost two decades, supporting his induction into the swimming Hall of Fame, and providing him with center-stage status at the 2012 Olympic trials,” Currin said in her statement Thursday.

She said in her statement that Berkoff, a two-time Olympic medalist in 1988, knew by the early 1990s about sexual relationships between coaches and under-age swimmers, including Curl and Currin. Her statement said Schubert told Wielgus about Curl’s conduct in 2007, though Wielgus has testified that he did not learn about it until 2010. She said she filed a claim against Curl with USA Swimming in 2011, but USA Swimming said that did not happen until 2012. ..."


Let's talk about David Berkoff. The image above is the email discussed at the New York Times which David Berkoff sent to Jeff Chida summarally acknowledging he knew of the abuse that Kelly Currin had suffered. (John Leonard, CEO of the American Coaches Swimming Association is mentioned as well.) However, when Berkoff was placed under oath and asked to discus this topic, he became vague, non-committal and contradictory.

To really throw some gasoline on "David Berkof's flaming pants" Pablo Morales denied ever drinking beer with David Berkoff let alone having any knowledge regarding Currin's abuse or who was involved. His denial can be read here:  [Link]

So one must ask: How did he know about it? Who really told him? Why didn't he come forward? Why is it that he has an executive title at USA Swimming?

I had a debate with David Berkoff on this blog and quite frankly it is demonstrably that what Berkoff has said and done when compared to what he testified to under oath conflict with one another

See this post:  [Link]

Berkoff should be asked to resign - Even the Pope of the Catholic church resigned so he could get out of the way for a new Church to emerge. Berkoff should too. Resignation would bring USA Swimming into the present and give the Safe Sport initiative truer meaning.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kelly Currin's official statement after the sentencing of child molester Coach Rick Curl

Kelly Currin was serially molested when she was 13-years-old by Coach Rick Curl. For a background on the events that led up to his sentencing, see this link: [Link]

As you read this, memorize the names of those who did nothing to save her or report this abuse to the police, USA Swimming, or the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA)

Here you have a victim that was left to languish while sycophants (and I am calling out USA Swimming Vice President... David Berkoff as one of them) allowed Kelly Currin to suffer in both silence and consequence. Of course David Berkoff ended up climbing the ladder into a sweet spot as a USA Swimming vice president chair but even after all the facts mentioned below were shoved down his throat he has never apologized or tied to make it right for Kelly Currin. In fact none of them have and below is a shopping list of names.

This is the statement of what happens to a child molestation victim. Pretend that this is somebody you know or you are related to when you read this. A son, daughter, friend.

May 23, 2013 Statement by Kelley Davies Currin:

The sexual molestation committed by Rick Curl and subsequent payoff to silence me has been called the worst kept secret in the swim world. Yet today it is appalling that a number of people in positions of authority had the opportunity to take action against Rick Curl and each one of them failed miserably. Now that justice has been levied against Rick Curl, it is time to hold accountable USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus and Vice President David Berkoff, as well as former USA Swimming National Team Director and Hall of Fame coach Mark Schubert, for their actions in helping create a culture that protects predator coaches and vilifies young victims who have the courage to come forward.

Wielgus, Berkoff, and Coach Schubert all had knowledge of Rick Curl’s sexual abuse of me and selfishly decided to look the other way. While I was battling demons from the childhood molestation, Wielgus, Berkoff, and Coach Schubert contributed to the glorification of Rick Curl by allowing him to coach at one of the most prestigious swim centers in the country for almost two decades, supporting his induction into the swimming Hall of Fame, and providing him with center stage status at the 2012 Olympic Trials.

Leaders are put in positions of authority to make difficult and tough decisions, especially when it comes to protecting children. Wielgus, Berkoff, and Coach Schubert flunked the leadership test. On behalf of countless other swimmers with similar stories, I am calling for Wielgus and Berkoff to immediately resign from USA Swimming and allow real leaders with the commitment to protect molestation victims to take over.

Further, Schubert and others should be immediately be banned by USA Swimming for refusing to protect not only me as a young swimmer but others who may have subsequently victimized by Rick Curl.

Thinking back over the last 30 years I am gravely disappointed that numerous people in a position of power had a chance to do the “right thing” by speaking out against Rick Curl and taking steps to ensure that minors were protected from him. One person after another was presented with an opportunity to think beyond their own interests and do what is best for children. Each of these persons demonstrated that they were mere weaklings who selfishly chose to remain silent and do nothing. Who knows how many children have been affected due to these feeble decisions?

Let me start with the University of Maryland Athletic Director who was in office at the time that Mr. Curl’s sexual abuse of me came to light. My parents went to him first as Mr. Curl was the head coach at the University in 1987. While thankful that he terminated Rick Curl from his position, this Athletic Director conducted no further action which would serve to protect minors.

Mitch Ivey, who is a former United States Olympic coach and a suspected pedophile himself, is one of the first coaches I told about my sex abuse at the August 1987 Pan Pac Championships. I got no reaction from him. He did not say a word. He took no action. After arriving at the University of Texas, I told the story of my abuse to a room full of people at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes gathering in Austin, Texas in 1987. UT head men's swim coach Eddie Reese was present. I sat down with Mr. Reese afterwards and provided him with more details as to what happened to me. He took no action. I also told UT head women’s coach Richard Quick about my abuse in 1987, who just said, "I'm sorry" and, at least to my knowledge, took no action. Coach Quick knew what I was going through in my freshman year. Even though I finished second in the NCAA 200 Butterfly, Coach Quick decided that I should go to the hospital for my eating disorder only if I did not make the Olympic team. Since I finished sixth at the Olympic Trials in 1988, I was admitted to the hospital from mid-August until mid-October of that same year. It was no secret why I was hospitalized. Jill Sterkel, then the UT assistant women’s swim coach, came to the hospital to visit as did Randa Ryan, the then on-deck assistant women’s swim coach and now the University of Texas Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director.

Coach Quick left the University of Texas for Stanford in 1988 and was replaced by legendary swim coach Mark Schubert, who was the USA Swimming National Team Head Coach from 2009 through 2010. Schubert knew when he arrived at UT in 1989 what Rick Curl did to me. I told him. To Coach Schubert, however, I was just another swimmer. 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. 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.

Perhaps the most glaring example of ineptitude is the story of former Olympic gold medalist and current Vice President David Berkoff. Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Mr. Berkoff was part of a group of swimmers which was discussing “over a handful of beers” that Rick Curl was “banging” me and that Mitch Ivey was sleeping with one of his swimmers (see attached email). Mr. Berkoff claimed that he formed a subcommittee when he became part of the USA Swimming Board of Directors in the early 1990’s in order to address pervasive sex abuse within USA Swimming and that the idea was “shot down” by John Leonard, the then and current Executive Director of the American Swim Coaches Association (“ASCA”).

When it came time to testify under penalty of perjury in a deposition in January of 2012, however, Mr. Berkoff significantly “backed off” from that comment and generally did not remember anything about this process. “Just an idea that was kicked around without anything formalized” is essentially how Mr. Berkoff described it in deposition. USA Swimming otherwise has no documents as to this alleged “subcommittee”. Mr. Berkoff has otherwise, to my knowledge, done nothing about Rick Curl for literally decades. Mr. Berkoff again joined the Board as Vice President in 2010. Once again, he had the power

and opportunity to do something about this pedophile coach. From 2007 until Rick Curl was arrested in 2012, however, Mr. Berkoff once again proved that he could not care less about me or the fact that Rick Curl presented a risk to minor swimmers. Mr. Berkoff did not once reach out to me to express sympathy or offer his assistance in any way. Like all of the others, he “buried his head in the sand” and looked out only for his own best interests. Mr. Berkoff is a disgrace in my eyes.

Whether or not you believe Mr. Berkoff, I am sure that John Leonard knew about what Rick Curl did to me way back then. According to Mr. Berkoff, everyone knew. And yet, under Mr. Leonard’s leadership, ASCA named Rick Curl as Coach of the Year in 1994. Curl was effectively rewarded for the insidious way that that he treated me when I was just a child.

Knowledge of Rick Curl went straight to the top of USA Swimming. After over two decades of remaining silent, Mark Schubert testified that he told current Executive Director Chuck Wielgus on at least three occasions starting in 2007 about Rick Curl and Ms. Currin. Mr. Wielgus himself testified that 2010 that he had recently been made aware of a “settlement” between Curl and one of his swimmers, presumably me. Once again, nothing was done as Mr. Wielgus took no action. In the spring of 2011, I came forward and, with the assistance of an attorney, presented a claim against Rick Curl with USA Swimming. We provided USA Swimming with a copy of the settlement agreement signed by Curl which constituted an admission of his guilt. Still nothing was done. In July of 2012, Curl was sitting prominently and generally treated as royalty during the United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. Incensed, I hired attorney Robert Allard to present another claim in July of 2012. Only after that time, when Mr. Allard basically held a gun to its head, did USA Swimming take any action. By then, it was far too late.

In sum, I have no confidence whatsoever that USA Swimming will protect swimmers from sex abuse. Its leaders have been given ample opportunity to prove to the country that they are able to put the interests of swimmers ahead of their own. They have failed and have failed in the worst of ways. They have shown their true colors. It is time for a change. It is time to hold those who knew and did nothing accountable. And that time is now. If USA Swimming continues to demonstrate that it cannot regulate itself, then I urge Congressional intervention. USA Swimming is a creation of Congress and therefore Congress needs to intervene and address this crisis. Enough is enough. I am living proof that we have a deep rooted problem in the amateur sport of swimming that requires drastic and immediate action.

Thank you for your time.

Kelley Currin

[Blogger Note:  Here is an update I received in February 2014 from an anonymous reader. It's shrill and loud and defends Rick Curl and insults Kelly Currin. I am taking it out of the comments section so as to illustrate and keep permanent what the some of the values towards sexual abuse in our sport was like "back in the day" as compared to today. The answer not much has changed:

"... I was there with you in the pool training by your side. You looked awful and then we found out about your anorexia and we heard later about your parents finding your diary and you not wanting to press charges but your parents did. You KNOW he is not a abuser of children. You willingly got into a relationship with him and had sex with him at 16 as you said before. Isn't that the legal age. You were only 20 years apart. You could have married him. If you were so in love as you acted then you should have gone to him. Instead your mad now how many years later when you know the incident if it really happened was isolated. You destroy him life how many years later because you had to shut up because you agreed to it. You are a wreck. I hope Rick is even more successful now. He is a great coach, a great human being and if he really did those things with you it was isolated and your acting like he is an abuser like Sandusky or whatever his name is. PLEASE. You are being a drama queen. You had fun at the time. You were paid off, you now are so angry you want to destroy lives after he has done so much for so many. I sure if what really happened happened then he was careful to never to anything again because you know what, it would have happened again yet no one has come out to say so. I think you wrote your little diary and made this shit up. Your parents found your fantasies and you didn't want it to come out cuz you knew it wasn't true...and so you shut up and let your family get paid. what are you low on cash again. wtF KELLY! I saw you about the time of these allegations on the poolside, glass your bout with anorexia is over but man you have a serious lying problem or if by chance it happened you like destroying peoples lives when you already got your fucking settlement. You were an adult when you had sex and you were adult when you singed those papers. I wish I had been there in court and known about this so I could have gotten up there and said there is no way this could be true. I was with you a lot a lot a lot. No one was alone with RICK. So you got some rides to practice with him and OMG you were in love with him, we knew that but I never thought you do this too him just because he turned on you when you fucking lied to your family. reason why they didn't do anything in Texas, no one believes you. NO ONE IN YOUR TRAINGING GROUP saw a thing. NO one on trips was ever called alone to Ric. He was on deck those long meets all day long. He didn't have time for this bs. I think your lying. And these people saying how brave you are. BRAVE IS A PERFECT WORD FOR SOMEONE TO COME OUT AND SAY SOMETHING THAT IS A LIE! GET A LIFE!  ..."

Friday, May 17, 2013

Guess who's back in the swimsuit again - Mr. Michael Phleps!

I bet Under Armour is partially responsible for this change of mind - just a guess.

 From Swimming World:
"...Baltimore Bullet has grown bored with the lack of structure of his current lifestyle and will shortly be back in the saddle in Colorado Springs with mentor Bob Bowman. ..." 

Open water starts causing heart attacks with those athletes with preconditions?

This clip was from a Jerry Lewis movie called Cinderfella; herein he runs up 72-steps in less than 8-seconds and suffers a mild heart attack when he steps off camera.

My mother worked on this movie behind the camera and told me all when I was child. (We still have the thank-you letter that Jerry Lewis wrote to her as well), Perhaps going from a resting state to an all out sprint could be the cause of heart attacks with those with a predisposition in place.

Note how the Escape from Alcatraz 2013 race start was conducted as an example in the second video. No acclimatization to the water, just jump sprint and go so as to get out of the way or as a reaction to the shock.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

USA Today: Triathlon deaths infographic - Swimming leads in fatalities.

UPDATE: Disturbing quote from Rob Urbach, CEO of USA Triathlon:. " ...said the number of deaths simply reflects the sport's rapid growth. Between 2003 and 2011, annual participants in U.S. triathlons grew from 193,000 to almost a half-million..."

With that in mind, when you compare that there was a single triathlon swim death in 2003 versus 9-fatalities in 2011, why is it that when the sport grew 259% in those years the fatalities grew a disproportionate 900%?

From 2003 to 2012 Nearly 4xs the amount of athletes died during the swim than they did on the bike. When compared to running more than 15xs more swimmers died than runners.

Possible causes: Wetsuit fit, swim conditions, frantic race starts, heart defects, stress. However, one doctor who is a triathlete has his own theory which has been discussed here on the blog in the comments section:

Dr. Rudy Dressendorfer, a longtime triathlete, disagrees. He thinks the problems arise when athletes do not warm up before starting the swim. Going from a resting stage to a sprint can put pressure on the heart, and a violent escalation of blood flow can shatter capillaries in the lungs, causing pulmonary edema.


I completely agree.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ironman tri governing body making changes to the swim portion or their races!

The changes are very good; FINA should take note. Almost all of the suggestions (notably the pre-race swim warm-up) that I and others made on this blog including some innovative ideas such as numbered buoys for easy mapping during the event of a rescue are excellant. Apparently somebody cares within a governing body that involves swimming.

 I applaude the World Triathlon Corp:

From Bloomberg:
"... All North American Ironman events will also include a pre-race, in-water warm-up when possible. In addition, if the water temperature is below 52 Fahrenheit (11 Celsius) or above 88 on race day, the swim portion will be canceled or shortened, World Triathlon said in a statement. ..."