In 2013, USA Swimming began to put out a list of coaches who have been banned for life from the organization’s sanctioned events and swim clubs.
You can find the list here.
To date, that list of banned coaches is now up to 149 names, including two coaches convicted of sexual molestation in San Diego County. One of the cases is from 1999, the other from 2003.
“I think it’s horrifying. I think it’s absolutely horrifying” said Mike Saltzstein, who was a volunteer board member and Vice President with USA Swimming for six years.
Saltzstein says there was a culture of abuse that allowed coaches to have sexual relationships with underage athletes. The stunning details are described in a lengthy investigative report published in the Orange County Register. That report can be found here.
“I’m hoping the level of oversight and scrutiny will bring this issue to the forefront and force the change that’s been needed for decades,” said Saltzstein.
For his part, Saltzstein helped implement a child protection plan that includes the banned coaches list.
“I wanted that list to be complete, public, transparent and available for every parent to look for it,” said Saltzstein.
In San Diego and Imperial Counties there approximately 15 swim clubs with membership ranging from 50 to 600-members, according to Greg Spire, a coach with Swim San Diego.
In light of the report on USA Swimming local coaches like Spire are working to assure parents their children are safe while working with club level coaches.
“It really pains me as a coach to know that peers of mine have this behavior out there,” said Spire.
“A kid is never alone with a coach, ever. If we have a one on one coach athlete meeting, it’s always done in a public space,” he added.