John Bitter has been terminated as the head coach of the Santa Clara Swim Club according to a letter sent out to the team on Saturday. Bitter’s name has been removed from the ‘coaching’ section of the team’s website. Bitter had been the head coach of the club since 2006, and before that spent a decade as the associate head coach. In 2009, he was also given the title of CEO of the organization.
According to a letter sent out to the team on Saturday, Bitter has been terminated after the board of directors gathered evidence that they say “shows there has been a minimum of $600,000” of misappropriated funds.
Bitter was on the coaching staff at the 2010 USA Swimming Junior Pan Pacific Championships, has twice served on USA Swimming Select Camp staffs. As an athlete, he swam at Wash U in St. Louis and Arizona, where he was a team captain as a senior.
Bitter was the General Chair of the Pacific Swimming LSC Board of Directors from 2009 through 2017 and is a former Vice-Chair of Program Development for USA Swimming.
The team won the 2018 Far Western LC Championships earlier this summer.
Update: the full text of the letter sent to the membership, sent by Niko Meadors on behalf of the Board of Directors, is below.
Effective today, John Bitter has been removed from the Board of Directors and will no longer be with Santa Clara Swim Club We realize that this may come as a shock to most of you, and please understand that there were solid circumstances that led to this decision. We are in the process of working with authorities and USA swimming [sic] has been contacted. We have gathered evidence that shows there has been a minimum of $600,000 misappropriated funds from Santa Clara Swim Club. We are working quickly to determine the interim needs of the club and will have further announcements to the membership as possible.
We intend on holding a meeting to provide what we can on this difficult announcement in the near future.
This is a developing story. More details will be shared as they become available.