An Open Letter to the USA Swimming Board

Dear Members of the USA Swimming Board,

The time for secrets is over. In the past days and weeks, greater and greater media attention has come to our sport, as journalists have begun to peel away at the veil of secrecy that has existed in USA Swimming and the USOC at the highest level.

As a board, you represent the membership of USA Swimming. We deserve, at the very least, the truth. We deserve to hear it in full, and hear it willingly from the people whose salaries we pay. No more rumors, no more confidentiality. No more silence and waiting for the media to lose interest.

As members of the swimming community, we have paid a huge price for that silence. None have paid more dearly than the athletes. Ariana Kukors was abused by a coach who was protected by that veil of secrecy. High ranking employees of USA Swimming treated Dagny Knutson's brilliant career like their play toy. 

These are stories that have received the most attention. There are many more. Sarah Burt killed herself after being molested by her swim coach. Secrecy allowed Rick Curl to coach prominently for decades after molesting Kelly Currin. USA Swimming allowed Mitch Ivey to coach for two decades after ESPN reported on his abuse. 

There are hundreds of more documented abuses, many more remain unknown, as abuse often goes unreported.

So we need transparency. Very specifically, the following

1. Who are the coaches on USA Swimming's "flagged" list, as reported by the OC Register, and why are they there?

2. The absolute dissolution of all confidentiality agreements between USA Swimming and any parties. Parties wronged by USA Swimming or its employees should be able to speak openly about it.

3. Full disclosure about the creation of "Centers of Excellence", at FAST, North Baltimore and Mecklenburg Aquatic Club. Where did the money to support these centers come from? Who was involved in the decision making process? How were they chosen?

4. A release of all complaints reported to USA Swimming's "Athlete Protection" department, later rebranded as "Safes Sport". Complainants should be contacted and given the option of having their names redacted. 

5. All internal communications related to the creation of "Athlete Protection" and its replacement "Safe Sport", including but not limited to the staffing of those departments.

This transparency is essential because it is impossible for us to move ahead as a sport until we begin to fully understand the nature and scope of the problem we are currently confronting. Anything less than this level of disclosure will put us at a disadvantage. 

You may read this list of demands and reply "this will destroy USA Swimming". If that is true, so be it. If the truth will destroy this organization, then it shouldn't exist.

I, and others, will be following up on this letter directly with members of the board. You should indicate your willingness to respond immediately and publicly.


Chris DeSantis