Brian Loeffler Removed From Parapan Ams Staff After Critical Tweets

Brian Loeffler has been removed from the United States’ staff for the Para Pan American Games and from the US Paralympic Committee’s ‘travel list’ after Tweets critical of the classification process during last week’s IPC World Championships in Glasgow Scotland.

While the U.S. Paralympic Committee didn’t specifically respond to a request for why they chose to remove Loeffler based on his Tweets, they did confirm the decision, saying that he was removed from the “Coaches on the U.S. Paralympic Swimming Coaches Trip List,” whose members “may be asked by U.S. Paralympics Swimming to serve on the staff for camps/competitions on an ad hoc basis.”

The Parapan American Games will run from August 7th-15th in Toronto.

The Tweets, which have since been removed, concerned 17-year old Australian Madison Elliott, who was reclassified twice during the meet.

Elliott has long been classified as an S8 swimmer, and has become one of the best in the world in that classification, but shortly before the start of the championships last week, was moved to the S9 classification, which submits her to faster competitors. In her preliminary heat of that race, she swam a 1:25.42 for 7th in her heat and failed to qualify for the final.

“I have been removed from the U.S. Paralympic Coaching Trip List after making public comments related to classification at the IPC World Championships,” Loeffler confirmed late Monday evening. Despite his removal from that list, Loeffler reaffirmed his commitment to coaching para-swimmers.

“This removal does not change may passion or desire to continue to coach para-athletes at Loyola.  I am very proud of how the athletes I coach performed at the recent IPC World Championships.  Of the 11 gold medals team USA won,  9 of them were won by athletes I coached.  The remaining two gold medals were won by someone from the Baltimore area that I introduced to para-swimming.  It is my plan to continue to support para-swimmers as they strive to represent Team USA in the future.”

National Team swimmers Alyssa Gialamas and McKenzie Coan are both members of Loyola’s varsity swim team, where Loeffler is the head coach. World-Record-breaker and ESPY winner Becca Meyers is also a former Greyhound.

The IPC, presuming they’ve made a mistake based on her swim, moved her back to the S8 category for the remainder of the meet, and she proceeded to dominate the S8 classification, including dropping 8 seconds in the 100 backstroke later in the week and come within four-tenths of a second of the Championship Record. She would also set the World Record in the 100 free and win gold there as well.

Loeffler’s Tweets, which have since been removed, specifically alluded to Elliott, though hers is not the only frustration with the classification system from American coaches. At least three American swimmers were reclassified days before the 2012 Paralympic Games, and American Record holder Ian Silverman has recently been entirely classed out of the system entirely despite having cerebral palsy.

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Name the cheating athletes and cite proof.
8 years ago

List them. Any and all of you who are making these allegations. List them with proof. Not speculation that helps the swimmers you want to do well. List them and cite proof. No conspiracy theories.

Enlighten us please
8 years ago

There are two lists of classifiers on the IPC website – typical confusion. One lists 8 tech level II the other 11 level II. Which one should we be referring to?

Facts Spoin Opinions, do you mean that the ‘train the classifier’ classifiers (the ones astrixed) are the ones that have been elevated? If so, the picture is as follows :-

Condado Jaubert (ESP)
Rafi Heruti (ISR)
Shan Harrington (USA)
Zoltan Bejek (HUN)

Craig Nicholson (GBR)
Nobo Konishi (JPN)
Spyros Stavrou (GRE)

Please explain what you meant. From the above, It seems that both USA and GB are in a position to question and therefor influence the direction of classification. … Read more »

Opinions cloud facts
8 years ago

Very interesting. Some questions for you if you don’t mind.

On what basis were volunteer classifiers removed by the IPC (I am assuming IPC Swimming)?
What reasons were given or would you give?

‘Left with classifiers outside of aforementioned nations’ :-
Of the 8 lvl II medical classifiers, 2 are USA – 25%
Of the 8 lol II technical classifiers, 2 are CAN, 1 is GB, 1 is USA – 50%
GB represents 3 from 8 LvI I medical classifiers
GB. CAN, USA & AUS dont figure in the lvl I technical classifiers.

From the above then :-
GB have a strong presence – remember it was GBs Craig Nicholson who classed down Elliott… Read more »

Facts spoil opinions
8 years ago

Here are some things to look at for those who believe national governing bodies are not working hard in a flawed system. Just as long time and respected classifiers from GBR, CAN, USA, and AUS were beginning to make headway in the reformation of classification by working together politically, they were all removed from their positions as international classifiers. What the IPC is left with now is a new batch of classifiers from outside of the aforementioned nations. Look to the leaders in the IPC to find those that “survived” the cut and were self-elevated to positions of authority over the new classifiers and you will find where your criticisms should be focussed.
Brian made a judgement error and… Read more »

Trade off?
8 years ago

Surprised to discover today that the Chief Classifier for IPC 2015 World Championships was GBs Craig Nicholson. Craig is a level II Technical Classifier and also eligible to ‘train the trainee classifiers’. No medical or technical experience with neurologically impaired swimmers noted.

Yet Craig Nicholson ‘saw something’ that perhaps only an experienced classifier could see in a 90 second swim when he classed down Australias’ Elliott. The ‘something that he saw’ however wasn’t there for the rest of Elliotts meet.

No medical experience needed to be a Technical classifier but surely Biomechanics/Sport Science of some form or other and not a ‘management role would be a prerequisite to be the eagle eyed, fair and consistent classifier the swimmers deserve –… Read more »

What a Shame
8 years ago

Fair point regarding ‘seizing up’ I guess PFFT I can only guess that she also ‘seized up’ during classification due to stress when she was classed S9. The problem here is that she is allegedly on record stating her exact intent during her first swims – on both occasions that she was classed S9.

You obviously haven’t watched the videos or listened to the commentators and I guess Jess Long is the only one who knew what her facial expressions meant as she exitted the pool.

As for attacking young kids, if they are old enough to cheat, if that’s what they have done, then they are old enough to face the consequences and take responsibility for their actions. Further,… Read more »

8 years ago

Long’s reaction in the 100 free was because she was about 2 secs over her pb and didn’t swim her best race.

Do you all understand that some CPs when under stress seize up and their disabilities are worse? I just think it’s sad the way you are all attacking young kids. What great adults and role models you are!

What a Shame
8 years ago

Take a 30 minute break from your day guys and check out the S8 videos on YouTube of Elliott (and team mate Patterson for that matter) from World Championships. Both the S8 races and medal ceremonies are very interesting to watch. After, if anyone still thinks that Elliott was classed down as a result of a fair and transparent classification process then I’ll be amazed. There is mounting evidence to suggest foul play here I reckon. Why didn’t – and isn’t – anyone standing up against this cheating? Why the apathy? Jess Longs’ reaction at Elliotts’ WR 100 free swim tells it all. You are spot on Joe Blow, what a shame!

Don’t have a wish bone where your… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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