JOYCE: Reflections on USA Swimming In-Limbo Coach Dustin Perry, As We Await Further Sightings

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by Tim Joyce

 

As we reported last week, disgraced swim coach Dustin Perry attempted to obtain employment at a swim club in Craig, Alaska. Perry was rebuffed, due in part to our coverage of his checkered history. See https://concussioninc.net/?p=8817. We’ll stay on top of any new developments in this case.

An interesting side note to the Dustin Perry saga is the fact that, in 2010, Perry was prominently featured in an article about sexual abuse and hazing in the local Pocatello paper, the  Idaho State Journal. At the time Perry was the head coach of the Tiger Aquatic Club in Pocatello. See http://www.idahostatejournal.com/news/local/preventing-sexual-assault-and-hazing-in-pocatello/article_3ca3e58c-0c0b-11e0-8a04-001cc4c03286.html?mode=jqm.

In the piece, Perry is quoted as saying, “The mission of Tiger Aquatic Club is to develop athletes with high self-esteem, respect and sportsmanship in the sport of swimming and the community in a nationally recognized program. That mission is bigger than just swimming. We expect our swimmers to be respectful of themselves, their teammates, coaches and other adults, as well as the other teams we compete against. We have swimmers ranging in age from 6-18 years old, novice to national level. I expect the older swimmers to be positive mentors to the younger swimmers. Respect is a big focus for TAC; it’s something we talk about on a regular basis. Our kids represent who we are as a team; and TAC parent and coaching leadership expects only the best behavior from our kids.”

The word “irony” is too benign a phrase to apply here. Nearly a decade before this article, Perry was temporarily suspended by USA Swimming for actions that included inappropriate behavior around swimmers and encouraging underage swimmers to engage in pranks featuring sexually inappropriate conduct.

The takeaway here may be that – no surprise – abusive coaches  can often shield themselves from scrutiny when they are both a) in a position of power and influence within the community,  and b) have a forum from which they can say the “right” things.

Complete links to the Dustin Perry series are at https://concussioninc.net/?p=8603.

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