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.
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.