Former Drury Swimmer Alleges Hazing Program That Ended His Career

Former Drury University swimmer Evan Petrich came forward last week with allegations that a team hazing ritual performed on him during his freshman season left him unable to continue his swimming career. Petrich says hazing that included being locked in a basement wearing nothing but a diaper, being forced to drink a glass of water that included a live goldfish and violent “chest rubs” ultimately left him with Conversion Disorder, PTSD and chest pains that ended his swimming career.

Petrich detailed his story in a Facebook post last week, recounting an “initiation week” hazing ritual carried out on freshmen swimmers by upperclassmen. Petrich says the events of the week started out “simple and nothing major,” but that “as the week wore on the events we had to do became weirder and more damaging all leading up to a final night that Saturday.”

Petrich, who was a freshman at Drury in the fall of 2015, writes this about the alleged hazing activities:

I do not know if I can ever forget the events and activities that I was forced to participate in. Having dodgeballs thrown at my exposed bottom, or being terrified in a cold, dark basement corner surrounded by my drunk classmates who had covered the floor with throw up and urine while punching holes in the wall and ceiling. All I had to protect me was the diaper and shoes that the upper classmen were gracious enough to allow us to keep on. This event is in past. The violent chest rub, the swallowing of a live goldfish while we wore hoods is all in the past. There is nothing that I can do about that horrific event that ended my swimming career.

Six months later, he says, doctors diagnosed him with Conversion Disorder, which is a “psychological disorder in which a person shows psychological distress in physical ways,” according to a KY3 report. In Petrich’s case, the physical symptoms are chest pains so severe he couldn’t continue swimming. Petrich also says he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and recommended to increase his use of anti-depressants and talk to a psychologist.

After the diagnosis (about six months after the initiation week), Petrich says he went forward with his experience, reporting his hazing allegations to head coach Brian Reynolds. Petrich says Reynolds told him not to let it bother him, and Petrich also says Reynolds “failed his duty as a mandatory reporter.” Petrich says he didn’t trust Reynolds to address the situation and went to the dean of students the next day.

Ultimately, Drury suspended six swimmers for three meet each, fined each $300 and assigned them 20 hours each of community service. The school also says five non-swim team members were also punished in connection with the school’s investigation. It’s not known whether any punishments were handed down to the coaching staff, though Athletic Director Mark Fisher said he didn’t believe the swim team coaches knew about the hazing.

“I believe, if our coaches knew what was going on, they’d put a stop to it,” Fisher said in the KY3 coverage. “Our coaches are leaders, so they have an important role. They have to make sure all students within our programs are held to a higher standard. So they’re at the forefront to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Petrich says he was “heartbroken” that the punishment was “the bare minimum that the school would be required to do.” He also took issue with Fisher and Dean of Students Tijuana Julian recommending he transfer to another school if it would help his healing and allow him to continue his swimming career. Petrich called the recommendation “insulting” and characterized it as a protection for the University in getting him “out of their hair.” Fisher and Julian say that was not their intent.

“It’s important to know that, when we deal with students in a variety of issues that are struggling, part of our role is to offer options and brainstorm,” Julian said. “It was very apparent Evan loves swimming and wasn’t comfortable swimming at Drury. This was one of several options we talked about . . . for him.”

We’ve reached out to Drury head coach Brian Reynolds for comment, but have not received a response as of publication. We’ll update if Reynolds provides a comment.

This is the second hazing allegation in the last 8 years leveled at Drury. In 2009, hazing punishments blocked the team from making its annual training trip in Hawaii.

Leave a Reply

124 Comments on "Former Drury Swimmer Alleges Hazing Program That Ended His Career"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

This is just one side of the story, obviously. I feel bad for this kid but based on what he says in the online articles and his facebook post, it seems he is more focused on revenge than anything else. He reported it, the school investigated it, doled out consequences that they (not some 18yr old kid) felt appropriate, should be end of story. That in an of itself should be enough to start a culture change, his choosing to continue to dwell on it seems unhealthy and destructive.

“…doled out consequences that they (not some 18yr old kid) felt appropriate, should be end of story…”

Curious if you feel the same way about Brock Turner?

Choosing to dwell on it? Have you ever gone through anything he is claiming, do you know how PTSD works? Furthermore, if his posting about his experience helps others come forward about their similar experience, then that could mean another life saved because you have no idea what such an incident could lead to. I find it interesting you have it all figured out about how people should react to stressful situations in their lives.

WaitAMinute

Brock turner raping an unconscious woman has nothing to do with a hazing claim at a completely different university

You are right, however it does have everything to do with his analysis of the school did what it did and that was enough. It is a much more grave situation, that is for sure, but it doesn’t hide the fact that just because the school thought the punishment was enough doesn’t make it an adequate consequence. It was a statement to bring about dialog, because if we just assume that these universities and admin will “do the right thing”, we are just sheep being led to the slaughterhouse.

completelyconquered

Who made the decision in the Brock Turner case? I seem to recall that a jury found him guilty. How is a decision made by school administrators and a court room jury the same thing?

Dr. Justice

It has to do with being content with a verdict simply because a higher power doled it out. Hazing, especially to this degree, can leave any person traumatized for years. Hazing is in the business of power and disenfranchisement: there’s a sense of dehumanization that truly lingers with the victim long after the actual incident. It’s the same kind of psychological phenomenon we see with rape survivors: it’s not necessarily the physical act that leaves one scarred, but rather that feeling of powerlessness. I’m not trying to liken the degree of heinousness of hazing with rape, but the consequences revolve around the same concept.

..Thank you…

It was “digital penetration” in the Brock Turner case, the “digit” being a finger. This was not “rape” in the classical Webster Dictionary sense, but it now qualifies for the DOJ legal definition of rape as recently amended. It is correctly termed “sexual assault”, not “rape”. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, as the up-designation of the former categorization does neither the perp nor the victim any favors.

You are correct on it being just one side of the story. The coach has opted to not speak, which may be a wise decision. However, as far as the ‘moving on’ approach due to the announced consequences, may I remind you that Ray Rice had consequences as well initially. That is, until the video hit the light of day. Then the consequences became, and rightfully so, exponentially larger. Somehow, the difference between reading the atrocities, and actually seeing it made a difference. I am sure if this was your son, and saw it instead of reading it, you may be changing your tune.

Serously?!?

“Our coaches are leaders”. OK, but this isn’t the first time that this coach has made questionable decisions and choices (https://swimswam.com/drury-swimming-diving-head-coach-issued-public-reprimand-by-ncaa/).

This has nothing to do with the issue!

SwimMomtobe

It speaks to a pattern of behavior and questionable decisions.

If the swimmer reported it to the coach and he didn’t do anything…then the coach should have some type of reprimand. Anyone remember the Penn State fb coaches….

He should be fired. Second instance in 8 years.

I agree with swimmom41. Coach Reynolds have nourished this cockiness behavior and no surprise that hazing occured. I have had few friends going to Drury, and they become very cocky at Nationals. I really enjoy the time when Bob Steels’s boys puts Drury in their place.

awwwww sour grapes? Drury boys were faster than you? Sorry to hear that. Do you want a cookie?

I had few friends attending Drury and become an excellent individuals in the pool as well as in their life all under the Reynolds leadership. I really enjoy the time when Drury went 10 champs in a row!

Really? comparing to Penn State. exaggerate much?

wpDiscuz

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

Read More »