Stockholm Syndrome in Sports

This week on the Swim Brief I talk to Charles Bachand, a doctoral candidate at the University of Central Florida. His research topic involves a domain expansion of Stockholm Syndrome into athletics

We talk about what exactly Stockholm Syndrome is and what Bachand sees as the ways it manifests itself in sports. We also discuss the congressional hearings and his thoughts on what we need in terms of governmental structure in sport. Enjoy.

Gary Taylor

Gary Taylor has made it to the big time. After spending the past six years as part of a dramatic revival of the North Carolina State Swimming and Diving program, he has been named the head coach of Auburn.

Gary and I go back to the decision to coach at NC State in the first place, as well as what motivated him to make the big move to a head coaching position in the SEC. Gary also talks about changes to the recruiting landscape, responding to interest in coaching at Auburn, and more. Enjoy:

What A National Board of Review Is Like

The National Board of Review. This is the process that USA Swimming has used to adjudicate complaints of sexual abuse that they receive. It's a process that most USA Swimming members know next to nothing about.

In this podcast, Sarah Ehekircher and I discuss her NBOR in 2010, what motivated her to start the process, and the nasty surprises she found when the kangaroo court was actually convened:

Sarah Ehekircher Part Two

In the second of three parts with Sarah Ehekircher, we go a lot of directions. Be sure to check back with Part 1 so you can hear the beginning of her story. Sarah talks about her years living with (and periodically away from Scott MacFarland)

The story is sad, for sure, but there are a lot of things here that resonate for people regardless of their experience. Sarah how her perception of her body got distorted, something all too common among athletes. She also has some interesting things to say about people that were in the position to help her and what they did and didn't do. Enjoy:

Sarah Ehekircher Part One

Today the first of three parts with Sarah Ehekircher. Sarah is a swim coach who I've been writing about, alongside Irvin Muchnick with whom she first shared her story. On May 1st she has a private meeting with Tim Hinchey, the CEO and President of USA Swimming.

Over these podcasts I want to give listeners a chance to hear from Sarah herself and get a deeper look at her story. In this first part, we talk about her early childhood, when she started swimming, and then the sequence of events that led to her moving in with her swim coach, Scott MacFarland, towards the end of her junior year of high school. A warning for listeners, Sarah does mention MacFarland's first sexual advance on her towards the end of the podcast. 

Stand Up For What's Right

Today I talk to Dirk Marshal. Dirk was an accomplished swimmer in his day who has taken a different route to starting a unique kind of team. We talk about his club, the Bridge Bats and how he came to form it the way he did.

Later we discuss Sarah Ehekircher and how we've both come to know her and join Sarah's posse. Dirk shares a really good argument on how we can stand up for what's right in swimming. Enjoy.

Hiring Season With Nico Messer

This week a special hiring season podcast with friend of the brief Nico Messer. Nico has been on a lot of the episodes since the pod started back up again, and it's great to have him back once more.

We talk about the season from both the perspective of someone doing the hiring and someone looking for a job. We tell you everything we've learned from getting jobs, and not getting them. Enjoy. 

Chuck Batchelor

Today I snuck in a conversation with Chuck Batchelor, while he was at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Chuck is currently the head coach and owner of Bluefish Swim Club in the New England LSC.

I ask Chuck about how he got started, and how he went from a swim coaching plying his trade to owner of the most successful team in New England.

Finally, we get into a very polite discussion about training methods and reputations for training methods. Enjoy:

Enter the Race Swami

Today's guest is Matt Finnigan. Matt is a different kind of swim coach who founded a different kind of swim team on the West Side of Salt Lake City. I was really excited to hear his story and how he was able to build a more inclusive squad despite some of the barriers that have kept swimming from being a diverse sport.

The Club he founded, Race Swami, aims to make a difference, and they've done just that, expanding from humble beginnings to serve 80 athletes

You can read more about Race Swami here

NCAA Bonus Pod With Mark Hill

Bonus pod! Today I try to extend the excitement of NCAAs by talking with a coach at the hottest team in college swimming, Indiana University. Mark Hill joined the Hoosiers before the start of this college year. He had previously won a men's NCAA title as part of Michigan's squad in 2013.

We talk about the crazy, amazing spectacle that NCAAs is, what he learned in his year away from college swimming, and I formally ask him if there's still space for me on the IU bandwagon. Enjoy. 

You Can't Be A Good Coach While Leading a Secret Life

Today I talk to elite Masters swimmer and former National Champion Susan Williams. Williams has a world record in her age group, and we talk about her life growing up swimming in the DC area. Williams was the first National Champion that disgraced coach Rick Curl ever coached.

We talk about her recollections of the time, including finding out that Curl was sexually abusing her teammate, Kellie Davies Currin, and Susan does some brutally honest self-examination of how she dealt with the knowledge and the subsequent aftermath. We also do our best to bust up the "great coach" narrative that often works against victims of sexual abuse:

The Journalist Who Took on Swimming

Today another guest that I've wanted to have for a long time. Irvin Muchnick has been doing outstanding work covering corruption and abuse in American swimming. He's soent a lot of the past few years breaking stories and doing legwork that often finds its way later to bigger publications, uncredited.

Irv and I talk for a long time, almost 80 minutes, and we cover the big picture as well as the the story that he has spent the last few years with intense focus on: former Irish Olympic coach George Gibney, who is still living in the US and evading justice for the terrible crimes he stands accused of in his home country. Enjoy

To catch up on Irv's work, go here.

Nancy Hogshead Makar: The State of the Fight

Among the revelations of this podcast: there is reason to believe that Susan Woessner lied when she resigned from USA Swimming about her interactions with Sean Hutchison. Also, a group of swimmers led by Olympic gold medalist Karen Moe Humphreys will be speaking out against abusive coach Paul Bergen. 

The guest is one that I've wanted to have for a long time and is so relevant to everything going on in the swimming world right now. Nancy Hogshead Makar is a former Olympic Champion swimmer. She went on to a law career, where he has dedicated significant time to advocacy work, first for the Women's Sports Foundation, and now as CEO of Champion Women. 

Her most recent accomplishment includes lobbying to push the "Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport" act through congress.

The act was recently signed into law, and Champion Women has a nice cheat sheet for those looking to catch up on what it means.

For more information on Nancy and her work visit Champion Women. You can also read this excellent piece where she tells a lot of her life story here.

Matt Kredich

On the Swim Brief this week is University of Tennessee Men's and Women's Swimming and DIving Head coach Matt Kredich. Matt reached out to me last week just before SEC's, and agreed to this podcast just after the meet. 

We hit some uncomfortable topics, including the interactions Kredich had with Hutchison, the overall culture of swimming and coaching, and the role that organizations like ASCA and their hall of fame should play in all of this. Enjoy:

Paul Yetter Returns

Here's the back story on this one: A couple of weeks ago, I did a pod with Erik Kramer. Paul Yetter liked that pod, so I asked him to come back for a similar conversation. I wanted to talk to Paul about some of the stuff he's struggled with over the years, and more importantly how he found a way to move forward.

We ended up getting all kinds of fired up about three quarters of the way through about Race Pace training, before bringing it back to really get a fuller picture of what he's learned through 20 years in the coaching world. Enjoy.

We Need More of This

When you work in any profession, you really get shaped by the people you meet and the relationships you form. This week, I'm making up for the fact that I coached in the same conference as our podcast guest, and yet I didn't get to know her.

Christen Schefchunas was an NCAA swim coach for many years, culminating with a run at University of Miami. As you'll hear, she reached a major turning point at Miami, one that ultimately led her to go beyond coaching just one team. I called her because I've been following what she's been doing, and I think she has a really important message that, frankly, we need more of:

You can find out more about Christen and her work at her website.

Rise, Fall and Rise

Eric Kramer currently coaches the Saskatoon Lasers in Saskatchewan, which I'm told is a real place in a real country (Canada).

Eric's coaching story really hooked me in. We talk about how he had international success with a swimmer very early in his coaching career and how that affected him in ways both good and bad.

We talk about the pivotal moment he had looking into the eyes of his swimmers, and there's a lot of learning and honesty along the journey. Enjoy:

Jeff Of All Trades

Today's conversation is with a very unique Canadian gentlemen, Jeff Grace. Jeff, well, Jeff has done a lot of things in swimming and continues to do so. He's a fellow writer, and we talk about how he got into writing about swimming. We also talk about how open he has been about his own mental illness and advocating for others.


For more information about Jeff and all the work he does: 

Mental Health for Athletes:

Yoga and Meditation Classes for Mental Health

Eliza's Website


Swimming Specific Yoga

Excel with Grace Sport-Specific Yoga

The Unicorn

Today's conversation takes us to somebody that I have been a fan of from afar for many years: Janelle Atkinson. Janelle is currently the head coach of the recently restarted program at Stony Brook.

Janelle talks me through her life story, from her early days in Jamaica, to the decision to come over to America for high school and college, and paying her dues in the coaching ranks. We also talk about some of the challenges and frustrations that come with being a person of color and a single mom in high level college athletics, and how she's overcome that. Enjoy.

The podcast was also sponsored this week by Swimnerd Pace Clocks. Check them out. 

Mental Health Deep Dive


This week I talk with someone who's doing some work that I really admire, and I wanted to hear more about it. Emily Klueh is a former national teamer who has gone into the field of mental health and sports performance at the University of Michigan and the attached USA Swimming team, Club Wolverine.

I dig deep on the kind of innovative work she's doing both with college students and younger kids, how to navigate some of this stuff as a coach and even some of the Positive Psychology she is incorporating. I recorded this podcast with Emily right before the holiday season. Enjoy.