Taking Inventory of Government Investigations of USA Swimming

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by Irvin Muchnick


We’ll have more to say about the loathsome Mitch Ivey. Depending on the audience and the day of the week, either USA Swimming concluded its investigation and cleared Ivey of allegations of sexual predation of underage swimmers in his charge, or the file remains open – perhaps until Whittaker Chambers can be brought back to life and lead us to a pumpkin patch.

Swimming World, in its equivocal way, reinforced our report two days ago that Ivey victim Suzette Moran – one of many – was never contacted by USA Swimming gumshoes, despite explicit information from women’s sports leader Nancy Hogshead-Makar that Moran was available for just that purpose.

Though I have no inside dope on this, I wouldn’t be surprised if the estimable Karen Crouse of The New York Times weighs in soon on Ivey, his sordid history, and what USA Swimming scrupulously has not done about it. Crouse produced the best national coverage of the sentencing of Kelley Davies Currin’s rapist coach, Rick Curl, and the victim’s call for a Congressional intervention into our out-of-control Olympic swimming program.

After Currin, The Washington Post and now Moran have seconded the motion. And that is the bedrock reality of this season, as U.S. senators and representatives contemplate their fall agendas. Earth to Colorado Springs: No one gives a damn whether USA Swimming is patting Ivey on the behind as he writes his next manual for the American Swimming Coaches Association, or ordering him to swim ten laps with a PVC pipe taped to him. Only the last of the Kool-Aid guzzlers could possibly swallow whatever they’re being told today by swimming’s money-grubbing, pervert-enabling bureaucrats, including CEO Chuck Wielgus and vice president David Berkoff. This matter is unofficially, and soon will be officially, out of their hands.

To review, here’s a rundown of outside agencies, besides Congressional committees, that are already scrutinizing USA Swimming. I might have missed a few; anyone with corrections or additions should email me.



– The Campbell, California, office of the FBI subpoenaed the thousands of pages of records that the California Supreme Court forced USA Swimming to cough up in the discovery of the civil trial of swimmer Jancy Thompson’s molestation across years by her serially abusive coach Norm Havercroft. My guess is that the FBI is focused on Mann Act violations: sex crimes across state lines. My hope is that the FBI will also take a look, now or in the future, at simple racketeering: the sleazily coordinated efforts of USA Swimming, its offshore reinsurance subsidiary, and their captive consultants and contractors.

– Meanwhile, special agent Randall Devine, out of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, invites athletes who  have been victims of sex abuse to call him at 310.477.6565. My understanding is that you can speak to Devine on or off the record, and regardless of whether the statute of limitations has expired on the crime against you. He is said to be collating historical information and facilitating resources for victims.



I’m not talking about the University of Utah’s bogus “independent investigation” as commissioned by its trustees and led by a notorious National Collegiate Athletic Association fixer. That probe, now in its fourth month, seems determined to bore us to death, like a relief pitcher who keeps stepping off the rubber instead of throwing the damn ball.

Rather, I refer to:

– The Maricopa County attorney in Arizona, still weighing an Arizona State University police recommendation that Winslow be charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor for his interactions with a girl he coached on the campus-based club there, Sun Devil Aquatics.

– The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, investigating discrimination and cover-up by Utah of voluminous complaints by swimmers and their families, to university officials, most especially athletic director Chris Hill, of Winslow’s physical and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct.



My appeal of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s heavily redacted release of the incident report in the October 2012 drowning death at the Meadowbrook Aquatic Center of 14-year-old North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmer Louis Lowenthal is in the state government pipeline. I’ll report more when I know more.

This episode is important because NBAC is the nation’s crown-jewel club swimming program – home of Michael Phelps and his coach, NBAC chief Bob Bowman. And there are other seamy doings there, including the sort-of disappearance of NBAC’s founder and Hall of Fame coach (and still Meadowbrook’s owner), Murray Stephens, amidst hush-hush abuse allegations, and an unprosecuted swimmers-on-swimmer sex assault last year.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick