Leonardo Hobi Martins Added to USA Swimming Banned List

USA Swimming has announced the addition of Leonardo Hobi Martins to their public list of Individuals Permanently Suspended or Ineligible.

Martins, whose suspension was announced on January 29th but dates officially to November 11th, 2015, most recently lists himself as Head Coach and Aquatics Director for Planet Swim Aquatics in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  The club’s current Director of Operations Gus Chagas says that Martins was only a “senior coach.”

Prior to that, he had stops with the Kuwait Swimming National Team for 3 years, the Davie Nadadores for almost 5 years, the Pine Cres School for just under a year, and as he head coach of the Lauderdale Isles Yacht and Tennis Club.

Martins is a native Brazilian and swam at Arizona State from 2002-2006 and finished his career ranked 4th all-time in program history in the 200 yard breaststroke. His 1:59.26 still remains the 8th-fastest time in that event in school history.

Martins was banned under two sections of the USA Swimming Code of Conduct (listed below). A search of criminal records in Florida produced no record of criminal charges.

CODE OF CONDUCT (2014 – PRESENT) – SECTION 304.3.8

A.  Any inappropriate sexual conduct or advance, or other inappropriate oral, written, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature at any time, past or present, directed towards an athlete or any person under the age of eighteen (18) by (i) a coach member or other non-athlete member, or (ii) any other adult participating in any capacity whatsoever in the activities of USA Swimming (whether such adult is a member or not).

B.  Any act of sexual harassment, including without limitation unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other inappropriate oral, written, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature in connection with or incidental to a USA Swimming-related activity by any person participating in the affairs or activities of USA Swimming (whether such person is a member or not) directed toward any member or other person participating in the affairs or activities of USA Swimming.

C.  A romantic or sexual relationship, even if it is a consensual relationship between adults, which began during the swimming relationship, between athletes and those individuals (i) having direct

supervisory or evaluative control, or (ii) who are in a position of power and trust over the athlete. Except in circumstances where no imbalance of power exists, coaches have this direct supervisory or evaluative control and are in a position of power and trust over those athletes they coach. The prohibition on romantic or sexual relationships does not include those relationships where it

can be demonstrated that there is no imbalance of power. For example, this prohibition does not apply to a relationship between two spouses or life partners which existed prior to the swimming relationship. For factors that may be relevant to determining whether an imbalance of power exists, consult the USOC’s Safe Sport Policies at www.teamusa.org/Footer/Legal/Governance-Documents.

D.  Any peer-to-peer sexual abuse. For the purposes of the Code of Conduct, the term “peer-to-peer sexual abuse” shall mean any unwelcome physical conduct of a sexual nature directed towards a minor athlete by another minor athlete.

CODE OF CONDUCT (2014 – PRESENT) – SECTION 304.3.19

304.3.19 Any other material and intentional act, conduct or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.

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The All Knowing Eye
1 year ago

Leo Hobi once bragged of receiving oral sex in the parking lot from an underage girl while he was a supervisor for the Pinecrest summer swim camp.

swimparent
6 years ago

Wow-some “community listener” above who does not have empathy for the victim(s). Who is this so called “listener” – the head coach maybe? USA Swimming needs to follow these characters from this team closely. What is the role of the “Safe Sport” USASWIMMING person here, hopefully they are watching what is going on with this member club under their umbrella.
Too much of this at USASwimming. There are young kids involved here and as an organization,they are responsible for the safety of swimmers and ethical procedures in the sport.

swimsafewecare
6 years ago

Remember there is a victim (or more). It’s ludicrous that when these stories come out, there are always parents looking the other way and in denial that their “great coach” could do something so terrible. Is it because they want their kids to swim fast that it’s worth looking the other way – or because they are just stupid? there have been cases were observed in the act and reported and parents are still refusing to believe it. Where is the team’s parent organization or board , are they part of the cover up? Is there a team owner, is he or she part of the cover up?

To the Victim, please know there are many other people involved in… Read more »

CommunityListener
6 years ago

THE BOTTOM LINE:

1. Mr. Martins has not been employed by Planet Swim since 2014.
2. The alleged 2014 conduct code violation involved two ADULTS, not swimmers.
3. The alleged code violation did not involve Planet Swim facilities or property.
4. Most the uninformed, negative and potentially defamatory statements here are written by folks involved with a team that is a rival to Planet Swim. (We’ll call them “The Village People”, if you catch my drift.)
5. Only a fool believes there is true anonymity in the internet.
6. This comment section blew up with uninformed, negative and defamatory accusations after it was circulated by a person from the “Village People” camp.
7. The… Read more »

SwimmersAreOneCommunity
Reply to  CommunityListener
6 years ago

The rivalry is only in the eyes of PS. No one else feels that way about two “camps”. The fact that you even state that explains where this division comes from. The kids on the HS team get along just fine — and that’s just it — they are all kids and this is supposed to be fun. There are *always* swimmers and parents on various teams, in every area, that are friends and get along fine. Swimming is an individual sport and everyone needs to support each other in friendly competition and safe environments for all, which is the purpose of USASwimming Safe Sport and their leadership in our sport.

Ban for life from USAS is pretty serious. Thanks… Read more »

Swimandsurf
Reply to  CommunityListener
6 years ago

Huh!? We are talking about a major criminal offense. This has nothing do do with high school swimming. This is a USA Swimming offense by a Planet Swim Coach. Only a little over 100 coaches have ever made the banned list so what he did must be serious. Anyone who doesn’t get that, should not be a coach or teacher or otherwise responsible for children, or even adults.

M. Lucas
Reply to  CommunityListener
6 years ago

This is entertaining, yet sick at the same time. I couldn’t help myself and had to reply.

Do the math? Looks like most of these comments were posted nearly a month ago and most were from people who support this guy and his club. So my guess is that the club knew this article was going to be released and immediately started replying with positive comments. It wasn’t until recently that there were comments from only a few who appear to have personal experience with the club…both positive and negative. In all of my years in swimming, and it has been a lot, I have never seen such rivalry between clubs and it seems as though this club is trying… Read more »

eajswimss
Reply to  CommunityListener
6 years ago

1. Is a flat out lie
2. Is also a lie but either way sexual misconduct is still SEXUAL MISCONDUCT.
3. Also a lie… Did Louis Armstrong right this? If there was not sufficient evidence and there ARE reports USA swimming would not have banned Martins.
4. Most ignorant, isolated and definitely disillusioned cults create “rival” out of another group of people to unify against and breed negative feelings towards. Only low esteem and accusatory people give nicknames to a group of people they dislike.
5. Only a fool believes a Olympic size pool can be built on a marsh with a meager amount of money and intelligence.
6. This comment section blew up because… Read more »

eajswimss
Reply to  eajswimss
6 years ago

I meant Lance Armstrong lol

swimsafewecare
Reply to  CommunityListener
6 years ago

So let me understand the point of your 10 points. You are hoping to coach a high school and you don’t think what the coach did was bad? You think it’s “OK” if abuse is toward an adult (if thats true), and someone’s life is not ruined? And you think it’s OK so therefore you want your guy to coach the high school team (don’t know the HS swim format in Flordia – if that is part of this club or not, but hope the HS has a good background check system, but there are limits to what comes up).

Keep our beloved sport clean, safe and accesible to all without fear of this.

floridaswimmer
6 years ago

The club’s current Director of Operations Gus Chagas says that Martins was only a “senior coach.”

Not true. I know several people who swam there with kids in the 8-12 age range, that swam many practices under Leo Hobi Martins and all the coaches at Planet Swim (who I wonder if are even certified coaches?). “Senior coach” or “Head coach” may be his title on paper, but he coached various age group practices there (ages 8-18) for a few years. And he came from Davie Navadores which was also totally corrupt and run by a sexual predator and friend of all these Planet Swim guys. He also ran a summer swim team at Planet Swim with young children, for an… Read more »

Surfer Girl
Reply to  floridaswimmer
6 years ago

I was on the high school team coached by Gus Chagus. Although he was soft spoken, young and lacked experience, he was fine.

Swimmer Girl
Reply to  Surfer Girl
6 years ago

Surfer Girl,

Chagas didn’t do anything but lie about Leonardo Martins position on the team. LEO was a coach of all ages. Chagas was also but he is, as far as we’re concerned, the only good guy behind Planet Swim.

NationalSwimmer
6 years ago

USA Swimming doesn’t ban coaches without proof. This swim club has a nation wide reputation of hiring suspicious coaches who lie and cheat. I hope, for the sake of the swimmers, that the investigation doesn’t stop here.

NationalSwimmer
6 years ago

USA Swimming doesn’t ban a coach without proof. Planet Swim has a reputation of hiring suspicious coaches who lie and cheat…everyone in the swim community knows this. I wonder what else will be discovered with this swim club? I hope, for the sake of the swimmers, that the investigation isn’t over.

floridaswimmer
Reply to  NationalSwimmer
6 years ago

Yes, and Florida Swimming has evidence they have falsified times for major meets. They also don’t comply with other basic requirements of USA-Swimming such as separating the lesson program from the swim team, having certain procedures in place for parents and swimmers, proper meet entries, and more. They also have a “Planet Swim Foundation” that rasies money with Bolles (JAX50 meet coming up), supposedly to donate to learn-to-swim programs of underprivledged kids in Jacksonville, but no one has seen evidence of that actually happening, so where’s the money? And, Planet Swim coaches tell their families they are going to build an Olympic sized pool but they have been saying this for years with no funding or progress. There’s a lot… Read more »

swimlife
6 years ago

This “permanent ban” was done under USA Swimming’s Safe Sport program. USA Swimming has a long history of covering up many sexual predators. It was after the “60 Minutes” and “Outside Magazine” research on the topic that USASwimming was required to come up with a program to ensure the safety of their minor athletes.

However, it usually does take a MAJOR incident to be banned or suspended under USASwimming Safe Sport. And, historically, usually has involved major incidents reported to police for USA-S to do anything. There are many coaches that have done horrible crimes toward their swimmers, that have not made this list.

Parents need to get their heads out of the sand and read the history of… Read more »

Swimmer Girl
Reply to  swimlife
6 years ago

AMEN. I will add that USA Swimming is doing a good [better?] job at taking abuse, of any regard, seriously. They’ve been a wonderful support system in light of Planet Swim’s misfortune.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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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