Ken Stopkotte, the head coach of the the Fishers Area Swimming Tigers and Fishers High School in Indiana, has resigned both positions.
You may recall that Stopkotte was one of the two swimming officials who claimed that USA-Swimming had retalliated against them for speaking out against USA-Swimming in the sexual abuse scandal. Stopkotte was one of the people who was interviewed on the now infamous 20/20 piece that first brought the issue before the national spotlight.
His claim was that he was removed as a coach of an Indiana Swimming All-Star squad as a result of speaking out against swimming’s national governing body. He was originally chosen as a coach because he had two swimmers placed on the squad, but was later deemed “inelligble,” for reasons that were unclear at the time. There were also rumors swirling that he had falsified his swimmers times, which he also wrote off as USA-Swimming trying to get their revenge on him.
Now, the accusations about his swimmers’ times have escalated. On Monday, Stopkotte will appear in front of an arbiter from the American Arbitration Association to answer for no fewer than 180 discrepencies in his swimmers’ times that have been officially submitted to Indiana Swimming.
If it is found that he did in fact falsify swimmers’ times, he would likely be immediately expelled from competition in Indiana Swimming (and possibly USA-Swimming), and FAST, the club team that he owned prior to his resignation, could be barred from hosting meets for up to 2 years.
Comments from his lawyer, Ed Williams, in the Indianapolis Star seem to indicate that Stopkotte accepts full guilt and responsibility for the altered times.
“He’s putting the best interest of FAST ahead of his own. (Indiana Swimming) is seeking penalties against FAST and he feels this better serves FAST. He made all these (time) changes himself. FAST wasn’t involved,” Williams told the paper. “(Resigning is a way) to make this known. If the arbitration goes forward, we’re hoping his action will make it clear that FAST should not be penalized in anyway.”
FAST is one of the best club programs in Indiana, and this summer won the Indiana Long Course State Age Group Championships. This is obviously a devastating development for such a highly regarded team.
While not even in the same ball park as sexual abuse, a swim coach providing an example of dishonesty and a lack of sportsmanship to his swimmers is still a very heinous action. Althought Stopkotte is doing his best to deflect blame from the club, he has already likely damaged many of his young swimmers. Hopefully, they see this as an example of why not to cheat, rather than an example of how to cheat.