Successor to Paul Bergen — Molester of Olympic Gold Medalist Deena Deardurff Schmidt — Is Newest Addition to USA Swimming’s Banned List

Published February 17th, 2013, Uncategorized

USA Swimming’s second 2013 addition to its ever-bulging banned-for-life list, Virginia coach Michael Pliuskaitis, is another doozy — rife with the usual connections to the sport’s tangled and dirty history.

See http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/USA/33458.asp?q=Michael-Pliuskaitis-Second-Named-to-USA-Swimming-Banned-For-Life-List-in-2013.

Pliuskaitis succeeded Paul Bergen as head of what had been called Sunset Swimming. Pliuskaitis, as they say, “rebranded” the club, calling it Snow Swimming.

In the seminal 2010 ABC 20/20 broadcast exposing youth swim coach sex abuse, Olympic gold medalist Deena Deardurff Schmidt revealed that she had been molested by her coach — who quite obviously was Bergen, an International Swimming Hall of Famer. This blog, unlike other outlets, has not hesitated to name Bergen. One version of USA Swimming’s “flagged-but-not-banned” list, an internal document compiled by vice president David Berkoff, allows that Deardurff Schmidt’s abuser was “impliedly” Bergen. See http://muchnick.net/berkofflist.pdf.

Bergen fled to British Columbia, Canada, and had a stint as coach of the Canadian national team.

 
Irv Muchnick