USA Swimming’s ‘Spotlight’ Sequel Forges On: Developmental Coach of the Year Banned For ‘Past Incident’

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by Irvin Muchnick

Tim O’Brien, who was honored just last October as USA Swimming’s Developmental Coach of the Year for his work at the Nitro Swimming club in Austin, Texas, has been banned for life because of an “incident” from “the past.” Organized swimming made no announcement, but both Swimming World ( and SwimSwam ( are reporting this other kind of development.

While the movie Spotlight, about priest abuse scandals at the Archdiocese of Boston, basks in its Academy Award, swimming’s global nest of sexual misconduct by youth coaches — and the cover-up by the authorities of the sport — remains the biggest similar story never told. O’Brien’s downfall is the latest hint that a lot more is out there, whether or not outlets larger than Concussion Inc. want to take up reporting one or more of these threads:


Dick Shoulberg / Germantown Academy

The Joe Paterno of Pennsylvania swimming, Shoulberg is worse than his football counterpart, in the sense that Shoulberg actually held himself up as a leader who was outspoken on the abuse issue — all while running one of the dirtiest programs in the country. A recently filed “John Doe” lawsuit against Germantown alleges unchecked swimmer-on-swimmer abuse on Shoulberg’s watch, which combines with earlier reports of abusive assistant coaches who, upon getting exposed, were quietly shuffled to neighboring “parishes.” At least one of those coaches, Joe Weber, was a convicted sex criminal.

The new lawsuit also leaves a trail of bread crumbs between Shoulberg’s program and that of his American Swimming Coaches Association pal, Gregg Troy, at the University of Florida. (More on this aspect later in the week.)

Complete links:


George Gibney, Rapist Irish Olympic Swim Coach Hiding in America

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer’s ruling in our favor last month in my Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security sets the stage for possible release of some of the 98 pages (out of 102) of Gibney’s American immigration files that have been withheld by the government. These documents could tell us who aided Gibney’s passage from Ireland to the U.S. in the mid-1990s, and whether an Irish legislator (so far with no help whatsoever from her sisters in the American Congress) can succeed with efforts to reopen dozens of old sex crime cases against Gibney. These do not even include his rape of a teen swimmer in 1991, on a training trip in Florida — which should be tried right here.

Complete links:


Alex Pussieldi — Florida’s International Human Trafficker, Now a Voice of the 2016 Rio Games

Suspended by USA Swimming’s Florida Gold Coast Swimming regional affiliate for technical irregularities involving young athletes he imported from throughout Latin America and the Middle East, Pussieldi is back in his native Brazil. Indeed, as preparations for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro reach the last lap, Pussieldi is the voice of swimming on Brazil’s SporTV network — the Rowdy Gaines of his country.

Pussieldi’s history in the Fort Lauderdale area included multiply reported, and multiply covered up allegations — to both USA Swimming and the police — that he had a Peeping Tom video system in the bathroom of a house where some of his foreign swimmers stayed, and also retained a collection of videos of his own sex with other underage males. Pussieldi’s Brazilian protege and former business partner, Leo Martins, was just banned by USA Swimming for sexual misconduct. The tentacles of Mundo Pussieldi extend to such figures as the late coach Jack Nelson (credibly accused molester of Diana Nyad) and the still-living-and-breathing — and coaching — Canadian Cecil Russell, a convicted drug dealer and accessory to murder.

Our exposure of Pussieldi coincided with the 2014 campaign to keep USA Swimming chief executive Chuck Wielgus, who presided over the cover-up of Pussieldi and other Peeping Tom coaches (one of whom remains on the lam and on the FBI’s Most Wanted list), out of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. But the U.S. Olympic Committee’s national governing body for swimming recently gave Wielgus a sweet consolation prize: another extension of his million-dollar-a-year contract to oversee a program in which 400,000 kids and 12,000 coaches participate.

We’ll be writing shortly about a new effort to get Pussieldi’s Olympic media credentials revoked.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick