Cincinnati Swimming & Diving Suspends 7 Out of 9 Seniors

University of Cincinnati head swimming coach Mandy DiSalle-Commons has suspended 7 of the team’s 9 senior athletes from the men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams, according to one of the 7 suspended swimmers. Michael Palleros indicated the suspension “ended the careers” of the 7 swimmers, while a spokesperson for the Cincinnati says that it is “not accurate,” and after publishing would elaborate that decisions on who participates in each meet are “at the discretion of the coaching staff leading into each and every meet, particularly for away competitions.”

One member of the team clarifies that the seniors have been told that their senior day ceremonies against Kentucky have been cancelled (which the school disputes), and that they were then given the option to either “quit the team” or “swim by themselves until the last dual meet” and that they would then be done after that. Palleros says DiSalle-Commons told him the same thing, that swimmers are not allowed to practice with the team, use the varsity weight room, and only have the option to swim at Kentucky, though he says that they will be left on the official roster.

Palleros says that 7 senior swimmers were sent home early from the team’s training trip in Naples, Florida last week after the coaches found them having a dinner to “commemorate the four year grind of being a college swimmer,” a dinner that Palleros says includes ordering “one drink” with their meal.

Palleros said the following 7 athletes were sent home from the trip early and informed that they were suspended, effective immediately, which is backed up by the fact that none of the 7 competed in Cincinnati’s meet against Miami on Saturday – roughly three weeks after they were sent home from the training trip. That meet was a home meet.

  • Michael Kaplan
  • Tim O’Brien
  • Ola Kaminska
  • Katie Dunn
  • Michael Palleros
  • Kendra Bierman
  • Stacy Loushin

Palleros says that the seniors did not challenge the suspension immediately, because while they thought it was a fairly minor violation, they understand that they did break the rules.

On the other hand, Palleros also believes that a double standard is applied, and that they are not the first members of the team to be caught drinking or violating other team rules this season, but that “the real mistake they made was not being NCAA qualifiers.” Palleros alleges that several members of the team who are bigger contributors to the scoring have committed far more significant violations of the team’s rules and gone unpunished.

The team’s next meet is a two-day quad against Oakland, Kenyon, and Olivet on Friday, January 16th, and Saturday, January 17th. The team then has meets at Alabama (January 23rd), at Western Kentucky (January 24th), and at home against Kentucky (January 30th) before the American Athletic Conference Championships in February.

Article updated at 2:05 Eastern after Cincinnati elaborated on their view on the lack of a suspension.

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rj cid
6 years ago

I been in same position, however, I had gotten suspended on my 2nd violation since my 1st I was given a strong warning. This seems overblown by the coach. However, if the kids were drunk, ok, thats different. Lord know the one thing I would’ve killed for during my training trip to naples would’ve been a nice glass of red wine lol.

6 years ago

Breaks my heart to read stories like this as no one wins in these situations. I am not in a position to pass judgement either way as the above account is all that I have heard on this situation (nor should I as I am not directly involved). My questions and considerations would be:

1. Were rules and expectations set for the training trip? Was there a violation of those rules and expectations? By Palleros’ own omission, the answer is yes.

2. Is there more to the situation than communicated above? Was there additional insubordination or continued violation of team policy once discovered? We don’t know the answer to this.

3. Were the consequences of violating these rules and expectations… Read more »

Ohio Swammer
6 years ago

One of Cincinnati’s biggest issues this season has been creating a new swimming culture. UC coaches have failed their own swimmers simply because they are incapable of assessing every incident as if those swimmers were NCAA qualifying swimmers. Their biased approach will only halt Cincinnati’s turnaround.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Ohio Swammer
6 years ago

You can basically write off U Cincinnati’s program entirely now.

I don’t condone it if kids break a team rule on a training trip but here are the unavoidable points:

1. Most if not all of the seniors were 21 and of drinking age.
2. If the reporting is accurate the restaurant meal deal included a drink, and it was not an incident of kids getting inebriated but moreso having a senior morale bonding meal.
3. Discretion is always needed and later appreciated in these situations because the CONTEXT of what happens is as important as what had happened.
4. There is a scale of punishment for offenses that needs to be, well…cogent. This is category five… Read more »

Reply to  Joel Lin
6 years ago

A swimmer went to swim swam to talk about the situation because they are clearly mad, as you should be, however the university and coaches declined to comment. They did not put a “stamp” on this article to be published

Tim Byers
Reply to  Joel Lin
6 years ago

Ohio Swammar and Joel Lin – From an outside perspective, assuming you are closer to the program than I ever have been, your reactions to the news this article seem remarkably similar to the overreaction you are condemning this coach to. Claiming the “incapable” coaches “failed their own swimmers” and being “set in your ways…never letting my kid anywhere near this program” seem like gross overstatements. Look, I don’t know all the details surrounding this situation, and maybe you have some inside information I’m not reading here, but you’re saying NOTHING these coaches do from now on will ever supersede this? I don’t understand how that’s not an overreaction of your own. There are a lot of ‘what if’ situations… Read more »

6 years ago

SwimSwam, have you talked to any of the other seniors? They may have been suspended, but truthfully how reliable is this Michael Palleros? I am quite sure there is much more to the story than what he is stating. UC swimming holds their swimmers to a high standard, and they violated the standards set in place.

Reply to  Braden Keith
6 years ago

They would not be anonymous though, their names are in the article, maybe try and get information from others on the team that are not hot-headed right now on the situation, just an idea

6 years ago

The problem lies in the fact that they consumed alcohol on a university sanctioned trip. Especially if they used per diem to pay for the meal. I wanted a glass of wine after the final session of my final Big Ten meet with my parents and my coach overheard and strictly forbade me because we were on a school sanctioned trip.

Maybe the technicalities of training trip make it different, but that was my experience.

6 years ago

I think the part in here lies the inconsistenty between punishments given to the athletes. This story involves seven seniors of legal drinking age who consumed alcohol on a school trip. That was a mistake. To be sent home, okay. But why is the removal from practice/inability to use the facilities with the team for the remainder of the season necessary? Sure, remove them from a meet, but to remove them from all travel meets and conference? Isn’t that a little unnecessarily drawn out?

It especially seems drawn out when another swimmer had a history of punching teammates and stealing (in Florida… On the same trip!) but was never sent home or removed from practice whatsoever. This swimmer had potential… Read more »

Reply to  Anonymous
6 years ago

Which begs the question of uniformity in punishment. I wonder if the same punishments would have been rendered upon members of the football or basketball teams (and I think we all know the answer to that question).

College Swimmer
6 years ago

The main issue here is drinking on a school sanctioned trip. If anything were to happen to one of these kids while they had been drinking, it’s all on the coaching staff and they could easily lose their jobs. I think there are better ways to handle this that allow the kids to continue swimming with the team, but I understand where the coaches are coming from. My coach probably would have ripped us apart and scared the crap out of us if he were in this situation, and then would’ve told us that if we slipped up at any point from there on out, whether it be missing a practice or slacking off in a workout or breaking any… Read more »

6 years ago

I am a UC swimmer who graduated a few years ago. Drinking has never been acceptable on training trip (regardless of drinking age). Because this is a university-sanctioned event, the liability (and not just CYA liability) is the main concern. The coaches are responsible for student-athlete safety and security, as well as what happens on the trip and seniors should be more cognizant of rules. As team leaders, they should have known better, no two ways about this. Do I agree with the student-athletes being suspended the rest of the season/kicked off the team? Not unless there were previous behavioral issues.

That being said, the coaches and administrators (rightfully and protecting the privacy of student-athletes) may have more to… Read more »

Joel Lin
Reply to  BearcatSwammer
6 years ago

Ok, all good points. You think this sanction was appropriate given what happened? Until or if a coach or administrator comes to with more than appears to be the story presented here, and can also point to other negatives this group represented (bad grades, prior issues with alcohol or other team violations, etc.) I and many others just think this is an issue what was better solved with a suspension from the subsequent meet or two for unspecified team rule violations. I remember one Saturday morning practice in college when the coaches smelled everyone’s breath and there were guys who went out drinking the night before…bang, suspended from the next meet for violation of no drinking in season.

There is… 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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