Former Cal Swimmer Anna Kalandadze Details McKeever Abuse That Led To Transfer

Anna Kalandadze, one of the swimmers who openly spoke out about the alleged verbal abuse of Cal coach Teri McKeever in Tuesday’s bombshell article from The OC Register, delved deeper into her experience at Berkeley Wednesday night on social media.

Kalandadze, a distance freestyler who joined the Bears in the fall of 2019, detailed her experiences with McKeever in a Twitter thread that explained the environment the athletes were subjected to and what ultimately led to her quitting the team.

For clarity, we’ve compiled Kalandadze’s series of Tweets below. Read the thread directly on Twitter here.

#TeriMckeever As one of the swimmers who experienced this abuse firsthand and came forward in the article, I can say that Teri’s favorite word was ‘accountability’, she preached it to us every day, yet there is absolutely no accountability about what was done to us from Teri/Cal.

When I was recruited, Teri and the team seemed like a close-knit family full of love and support. That is one of the main reasons I chose Cal. Found out it was the exact opposite my first day of practice.

I was called a piece of sh*t at almost every practice. I was told I was too heavy to be swimming and publicly asked what my eating habits were multiple times. I was screamed at and berated by Teri in front of the entire team only to be kicked out of practice.

When I tried to call Teri to resolve whatever issues she had, she would reply that she doesn’t want to see or speak to me so I didn’t even know why I was being targeted. The last words she said to me before I quit: “you sh*t on me, you sh*t on the team, you sh*t on your family, and your mom would be ashamed of you”.

After qualifying for NCAAs at mid season in 2019, as a freshman, I was told that I did not work hard enough and did not deserve it in front of other teams and coaches. This is only the surface of my experience. I quit one week before PAC-12 because I couldn’t expose myself to Teri’s abuse any longer. Not only did I go through this but I watched my closest friend Dani be treated even worse than I was and I think the fact that we were friends made her abuse us more. It took me almost 2 years to recover from the ptsd I had after Cal and it is because of my new coach at Penn.

I am outraged for all of Teri’s victims before/after me and I can’t believe she’s being supported and allowed to be present in the swim community. This behavior is unacceptable from a role model for young athletes.

As she notes in her thread, Kalandadze swam a time of 16:12.01 in the 1650 freestyle at the 2019 Minnesota Invite, well under what it ultimately took to earn an invite to the 2020 NCAA Championships.

However, she swam in a Cal cap for the last time in a dual meet against Stanford the following February and entered the NCAA transfer portal shortly before the Pac-12 Championships in March.

In May of 2020, she announced her transfer to the University of Pennsylvania, and this past season, had a trio of top-four finishes at the Ivy League Championships before competing at her first NCAAs.

In the original article from The OC Register, Kalandadze is quoted regarding McKeever’s behavior during practice: “Teri swore at me at least three times a week. I had a ‘(expletive) attitude.’ I was a ‘piece of (expletive).’”

“Teri was the only reason I left,” Kalandadze added in the article. “She was awful to me.”

Since the original article was published, which included 19 swimmers, six parents and one former member of the Cal men’s team speaking out about McKeever, Cal Athletics issued a statement, swimmers walked out of Wednesday morning practice in which McKeever was present, and then the coach was placed on administrative leave later on Wednesday.

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1 year ago

This reminds me of my experience swimming at Texas under the previous head coach. We were treated very poorly, gaslighted, and I was told numerous times I was not reaching my goals because I wasn’t buying into the team culture. How can you buy in to a culture based on bullying and intimidation? It has taken me quite a while to get over the experience of the Texas swim program and reading the stories of the Cal women has brought back all too many emotions. Fun fact: Texas women and Cal women actually used the same “life coach”/“consultant” – I believe her name was Kathy. I think both teams and both coaches experienced very similar forms of bullying. Teri’s seems… Read more »

Reply to  bevo
1 year ago

Also want to add: the old Texas assistant coach was the teams saving grace. I sometimes thought he was the only buffer between the team and Kim.

1 year ago

This generation is mentally weak

Reply to  Honest
1 year ago

No, they just aren’t boot lickers like you. They respect their own mental health enough and have enough self worth to know when someone is mistreating and abusing them.

Reply to  Honest
1 year ago

L + ratio + your never felt the love and warmth of your mother

Quandale Dingle
Reply to  Honest
1 year ago

Sorry you only got 30 minutes of radio time per week as a kid

Reply to  Honest
1 year ago

Comment with your real name if you’re so tough

Reply to  Honest
1 year ago

No. Our generation was too scared to confront bullies sexual predators and the like so we hid behind being tough. Which led t o addiction to painkillers.

ruh roh
Reply to  Honest
1 year ago

╰┓┳╰╯┳┏╯ For You
┃┃    ┏━╭╰╯╮
┃┃    ┃┏┻━━┻┓
╰┫ ╭╮ ┃┃ L + ratio┃
 ┃ ┃┃ ┃╰━━━━╯
╭┛ ┃┃ ┗-╮

Reply to  Honest
1 year ago

No. This really happ.

1 year ago

When I was a freshman and questioning if I should keep swimming my coach pulled me aside. He asked if I was okay, if I was adjusting well. And then he said if I bring my bad attitude to the pool it is a distraction to the team and it didn’t belong there. The combination of be caring but fair and firm is the most powerful tool a coach can wield. Intimidation can work. It’s just not as effective in the long run. But it is easier to be an intimidator. Being an intimidator you don’t have to invest the same level of energy into your program and when you make mistakes you don’t really have to own up to… Read more »

Greg Brance
1 year ago

How did she qualify for NCAA’s as a Freshman if she wasn’t in shape?

Coach Tom
Reply to  Greg Brance
1 year ago

And then Terri responds by telling her she “didn’t deserve” to qualify for a meet, which is the ultimate form of sour grapes in the coaching profession. Like…the meet has time standards, Terri. They didn’t pick her name out of a hat.

I’ve actually heard the “you didn’t deserve it” line a few times and, every time, it’s from some coach who is bitter that an athlete was able to achieve success without buying in to all of their ridiculous standards. This makes many coaches feel insecure because they realize, “Maybe it’s not all me” and lash out at the athlete.

1 year ago

Ooooh so you didn’t like the reaction to the last version of this comment, and you’re going to try again? Cool good plan.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Thank you for properly moderating

1 year ago

The missing piece to this puzzle….the assistant coaches. There’s been a handful of assistants over the past 10 years. If this abuse was going on so rampantaly, why wasn’t it brought to the attention of the athletic department? Or was it and it was pushed under the rug when done so?

Assistants are the eyes and ears to all happenings on the program. If anyone should stick up for the girls, it should be Cunnane, Dunleavy, Korman, etc. Were they afraid to speak up or was it just “part of the culture” that this is the treatment of athletes. Did athletes go to the assistants for support? Or were the assistants viewed as being on Teri’s “side”?

This is a… Read more »

Coach Tom
Reply to  Oldswimmer21
1 year ago

I’m hesitant to collectively throw anyone who coached at Cal under the bus without knowing more. While it is possible for assistant coaches to be complicit in a culture of intimidation, it is also possible for them to be victims of it too. If you are making your livelihood off the sport, the idea of making enemies with Terri McKeever and the Cal athletics department by speaking out must be terrifying.

can't root for cal anymore
Reply to  Oldswimmer21
1 year ago

If you speak out against the person who hired you, gave you the opportunity, you run the risk of getting fired. You also run the risk of never being hired by another HC because you are labeled as not supportive of HC’s. Most people will choose to leave quietly (or stay and suffer) for fear of retribution.

Reply to  Oldswimmer21
1 year ago

Without knowing if any of these assistants actually reported, it’s not fair to throw stones. At the very least, I hope they reported anonymously to Safe Sport.

1 year ago

Might have lost in the replies below about Gregg Troy…

Reply to  tnp101
1 year ago

interesting. if true, i hope it changed since then

Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

Don’t let this die. That’s what Cal and specifically Knowlton are hoping for. If the Lochte series found reason for renewal for roughly 10 days this deserves at least a solid month. Use your contacts and dig for more. Big names need to be probed for comment, and not merely former Cal swimmers. Top tier in the sport need to be cornered for opinion. Don’t allow them to pretend this doesn’t involve them. The comments reveal a widespread long term issue.

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

Cal student here. Brought it up to the ASUC in the hopes that they can inform more of the general student body about this issue, which is obviously larger than the sports world, and put some more public pressure on the University officials to do something about the Athletic Department as a whole. (Interestingly enough, the association does have a history of overseeing athletics until the 1960s.)

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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