by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
The 15th annual Paul Bergen Junior Invitational Championships in Portland — named for one of swimming’s most horrid Hall of Fame rapists; sponsored by Nike; and taking place in the district of a representative who serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce along with Congressman George Miller, who is investigating USA Swimming sex abuse — is only a week away. And we also expect a major hit soon from a national media outlet on another major interstate swimming scandal.
But first up in today’s news is the ouster of Richard Shoulberg at the Germantown Academy near Philadelphia. See the Philadelphia Inquirer’s coverage: “No public explanation why swim coach Shoulberg out at GA,” http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131205_No_public_explanation_why_swim_coach_Shoulberg_out_at_GA.html.
In a storied career, Shoulberg has earned acclaim both for mentoring Olympic champions (David Berkoff among them) and for an upstanding record for handling kids, while also quietly speaking out against the abuses surrounding him in this sport.
In 2010, reflecting on USA Swimming’s failure to take strong action against pedophiles in its ranks, Shoulberg wrote in an internal memo: “. . . I would hate to see our organization ever in the predicament of the current Roman Catholic Church — protecting child molesters!”
Today USA Swimming is in exactly that position, both metaphorically and factually. If Dick Shoulberg is one of the good guys, it is never too late for him to say more and help lift this sunken ship.