in what seems like a year ago, two high ranking USA Swimming staff members, Susan Woessner and Pat Hogan, resigned last Thursday.. Many saw this as a sign that new USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey is "cleaning house". If so, he's only started to clean one room of a mansion.
The response I saw to both of these individuals from my peers shows how much progress there is yet to make. I admit I've been on my own journey with Woessner. Today I looked back at a series of posts I did in 2011 for my blog. I had a face to face, one hour and forty minute meeting with Chuck Wielgus and Woessner at the Marriot Marquis in Atlanta.
It was during the "Duel In the Pool", and I was coaching at Georgia Tech at the time. Looking back, I was naive about Woessner. I did not understand at the time how completely ill-equipped she was for the job she was given. I didn't understand how she was set up to fail, either.
Woessner was liked by many "swimming" people that wanted her to succeed. This created a bias in many of us, myself included. It is why I have written very little of Woessner. My viewpoint was biased by the people I spoke with.
Doubt started to creep into my mind as I began to read about her mishandling of complaints sent to her and the broken promises to victims. As more and more revelations about Chuck Wielgus continue to come out , it becomes even more obvious that Woessner was chosen almost exclusively for her loyalty to him, and that swimming people generally liked her.
Wielgus essentially sacrificed Woessner's good faith within the swimming community to buy himself more time in his cushy job. It's not the worst thing he did, by far, but you can add it to the list.
I don't mean to suggest that Woessner is somehow innocent either.
She put loyalty to an organization ahead of the safety of the most vulnerable people in our sport. For that, people have every right to be furious with her.
But we shouldn't stop here. As I said, the cleanup has only just begin. It may not be possible, at all. There are many more figures like Woessner and Hogan. They remain in important places both on the paid and "unpaid" side of USA Swimming.
Beyond that, we have to deal as a community with the fact that Woessner was (is?) "well-liked" and that Pat Hogan (hold on I just threw up in my mouth a little bit) was (is?) "beloved". We have to continue to put pressure on Tim Hinchey to do better than his vague and totally unsatisfactory statement that preceded the Woessner/Hogan "resignations".
So again, a call for transparency. We are up to nearly 100 names on this petition requesting that from USA Swimming, and nothing has happened to change that. So please sign if you agree and lend your voice to put pressure for more action.