San Antonio Swim Coach Under Investigation After Making Student-Athletes “Bear Crawl”

According to San Antonio news station KENS5, a swim coach in Northeast ISD is under investigation by Child Protective Services after complaints from a member of the swim team over a punishment used by the coach.

Stacia Trujillo, a student at Reagan High School, claims that her head coach made 15-20 students do bear crawls around the school’s track as a punishment. For those unfamiliar, bear crawling is more-or-less walking on all fours with one’s butt in the air – a rather strenuous physical activity. The coach in question was not specifically named in the article, but the head coach at Reagan High School who was alluded to is Mike Sansavera.

Correction: a previous version of this article misidentified the coach, using a coach from a different Reagen High School.

The student complained of “blisters and other injuries” as a result of the punishment.

A district spokesperson told KEN5 that “As part of a typical workout, conditioning, these swimmers do bear crawls on a regular basis. Typically, they’re done on a field though. On this day, the field was wet. The coach didn’t use his best thinking, it was a poor decision. He was reprimanded and instructed not to do bear crawls on the track again.”

A spokesperson also said that the involvement of Child Protective Services is standard protocol when there are injuries involving juveniles.

“I don’t think this is a reasonable punishment. This isn’t what swimmers are meant to do. We don’t do hard stuff like this. We don’t train like that. Even sit ups, or push ups, or bear crawls on grass, would have been okay on short distance,” said Trujillo to Kens5.

Both the Reagan boys and girls teams have strong swimming traditions. Their girls placed 51st at the Texas 5A State Championship meet this year, and their boys placed 11th.

The response from the student body and local community has been strong, though divided, with many supporting the coach and the idea that this is a minor “teachable moment” that has been blown out of proportion, while others have backed the students against what they feel is an unfair punishment.

At some point in the not-too-distant future, the growing battle between the rights of athletics coaches and the rights of students and their parents is going to come to a tipping point, and one-side-or-the-other will be against a wall and have to take a ‘quit if you don’t like it’ approach. At all levels of all sports, however, there has been increasing power given to students when making claims against coaches. In some cases, these students’ complaints are nearly unanimously appropriate, and in other cases, such as this one, the claims are murkier, and fall more into the murky gray areas.

The force behind this modern reaction seems to be decades where horrid things done by coaches were ignored – things like physical and sexual abuse. Those atrocities have forced the pendulum to swing, and just where it will settle out remains to be seen.

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TT

Are you serious? How soft has society gotten. “This isn’t what swimmers are meant to do.” You have to be kidding. Then what are you meant to do, sit around and watch TV and expect to get better? Give me a break, I hope others are in agreement with me on this.

It is a difficult exercise that requires a good amount of strength and coordination but cmon, I just laugh at articles like this. If you get blisters well I dont feel bad. This is why society is the way it is today, parents sheltering their kids, and kids complaining about things being too hard.

Xprof

This kind of power reversal is not limited to coaches. It’s one reason I lost my appetite for academia after teaching a challenging discipline (architecture) at an elite university for 15 years. Administrators exercised ultimate control over the grades I assigned. More than once, the Associate Dean changed a grade without even consulting with me or reviewing the work, just to appease an aggressively whiny student and their even whinier parents who applied pressure to the school. If those students had applied half the energy to their work that they did to manipulating the system, they would have earned A’s. The Dean once took me aside and, with a straight face, told me that parents pay a lot of money… Read more »

CoachD

This is ridiculous. “This isn’t what swimmers are meant to do. We don’t do hard stuff like this.” Seriously??? Swimmer’s don’t do hard things? It’s a sport! You’re an athlete! Guess what, you’re going to get punished for doing the wrong thing. Don’t want to do the punishment? Don’t screw up! If you don’t want to do hard stuff? Don’t being an athlete!

Kids these days are so freaking weak and so freaking soft.

Kevin T

LOL, I know right?

ExCoach

I’d wager this particular student-athlete is NOT a year-round swimmer, but more of a 3-month-a-year resume-building swimmer…

STXAllAmerican

You are correct.. She is “on” my high school team. The coach let her on the team even though she could not make the traditional test set required by all athletes to be on the roster.. The whole team is very embarrassed by her actions.. She has trashed the reputation of our work ethic and our school.

student at Reagan

in Reagan once you join a sport you do it year round. maybe your school is different.

ORCoach

This is the reason I stopped coaching club. Parents coddle their kids and then this happens. I was told recently by an irate parent that his daughter had complained because dryland made her too sore, and that I needed to lighten up the workouts. His daughter also came once a week. It’s a disgrace. I also agree, though, that these types of things should not be used as punishment. Not only does it make the kids fear and resent exercise, but too often the coach who is doling out the punishment is so upset that he/she goes overboard and an injury occurs. I have had lots of my swimmers do bear crawls and other types of workouts like these, and… Read more »

Eric McGinnis

But hey, if this sport was any easier they would call it football right? This is a joke.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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