by Irvin Muchnick
We’ve introduced readers to Mary Jo Swalley, the long-time (and handsomely paid) Southern California bureaucrat who is poised to become the next president of the board of directors of USA Swimming.
Like most things in this subculture, Swalley’s credentials are spectacularly unspectacular. In a video interview with Swimming World magazine, she exudes continuity, which in this space is not a compliment. She says USA Swimming is challenged with managing a transition soon from Chuck Wielgus, the executive director since 1997. My interpretation: Wielgus, a cancer survivor, is in ill health and will either retire or be indicted for perjury, insurance fraud, and/or cover-up of a generation of coach sexual abuse – whichever comes first.
Swalley also regurgitates the company line about USA Swimming’s “Safe Sport” program being the “model” of the Olympic movement. Good grief.
Moving right along … Multiple reliable swimming sources tell us that Swalley is not just a souse whose beer-chugging contest with an athlete at an aquatic sports convention led an embarrassed USA Swimming plenary to pass the “Mary Jo Swalley Rule,” banning alcohol at organized events. Swalley also is a drinking buddy of Bill Jewell, the Golden West Swim Club assistant to former Olympic team coach Mark Schubert.
Jewell is now serving a USA Swimming suspension for misconduct that was uncovered in the wrongful dismissal lawsuit of swimming philanthropist Dia Rianda, another ex-Schubert aide who is blowing the whistle on abuse cover-ups and other swimming skullduggery.
According to our sources, Swalley and Jewell have done more than 12-ounce curls together; on numerous occasions, they’ve also shared hotel rooms.
Swalley did not respond to an email requesting comment.