USA Swimming Sends 7-Page Response to WSF’s Protest of Wielgus Hall of Fame Induction

On Thursday, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) made a formal protest against the induction of USA Swimming CEO Chuck Wielgus into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF). On Friday, USA Swimming has provided us with a 7-page document that they provided to the ISHOF. The document consists of a 2-page letter from a group of past USA Swimming Presidents, along with a 4-page rebuttal of the points made in the WSF’s original letter, detailing why they believe Wielgus’ induction is warranted; and a 1-page “Personal Note” from Wielgus.

The first two-page letter is signed by the same 5 presidents, including current president Bruce Stratton. The group made a briefer statement on Thursday and in the longer version still does not address sexual abuse with any specificity. It addresses 6 specific areas where they feel that Wielgus has been successful in his tenure as CEO: leadership, respect, compassion, openness, as a bridge builder, and with personal accountability. They also refer to the petition as having “missed the mark” and that it “recklessly misrepresented” Wielgus.
The attached 4-page rebuttal, being listed as USA Swimming’s response, does specifically address the matters brought forth in the petition. That includes a comparison of the Safe Sport program in USA Swimming to those in other National Governing Bodies; a specific rebuttal to the handling of the cases of 6 banned coaches (including Rick Curl, Mitch Ivey, Andy King, and Everett Uchiyama); an explanation of USA Swimming’s opposition to SB 131 (LINK); and a response to several other of the accusations in the petition.
The 7-page document concludes with Wielgus’ personal response. In that response, like in USA Swimming’s 4-page response he does also address some of the points that was made in the WSF’s petition and ensuing comments from foundation advocate Nancy Hogshead-Makar.
That includes a response to the accusation that USA Swimming has only responded because they’ve been forced to.
“While I always try to be better each day, I know in my heart that pressure has made us better, whether from the media, victims, or victim’s advocates,” Wielgus reflected. “I pride myself and this organization on being able to listen and learn.”
Wielgus also personally issued an apology, something that he was criticized by the WSF for not doing.
“I will be the first to admit that I wish I would have expressed my feelings better to share how truly sorry I am personally, and we all are as a sport, that sexual abuse by a coach could happen to any young person.”
Wielgus does not address the specific call for him to withdraw from the Hall of Fame class of 2014.
Click here to download the full document.

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The link wasn’t working for me…

Here’s another interesting website that covers the debauchery of USA-S:


Well… looks like the legacy of Jack Nelson/FLST is about set to brace itself for another hit. Such a shame considering the legacy of athletes coming out of that program. I suppose the events some 10+ years ago at FLST have slowly led to the overhaul of the club and repatriation to brazil of involved parties. From your article linked above – in verbatim: “Next week a major media piece is expected to be published on our investigation of Alex Pussieldi, a Florida coach who did not dispute the charge – in 2004 – of one of the many foreign swimmers he housed that he recorded them through a video camera concealed in the bathroom of his house. Pussieldi “retired”… Read more »

Richard S

I’m so glad that the Current and Past Presidents wrote this letter. The original letter of objection written by Nancy is full of half truths and outright lies – all told because of a personal agenda. I know about Nancy’s past and understand why she has her agenda, but I wish she would have taken the time to explore all the facts (as any good lawyer should) before presenting a skewed view.


That’s an outrageous assumption about Nancy, and also an extension of the “blaming the victim” mentality used in rape culture to invalidate victims, a mentality pervasive in society and in US Swimming, obviously. I’ve read both the original letter and the reply, and find the reply less compelling and less credible. If all was well and good, then why all the changes in policy in 2013 instead of 1983?? Wielgus admits to being responsible for not making victims feel supported, but it was not just his failure to express empathy, it was a huge failure in policy, obviously, otherwise the policies would have remained the same. Sadly, the pattern is clear and the clear failure to protect is very similar… Read more »

Richard S

I stand by my original comment as the facts support them. The original objection IS filled with half truths and outright lies. That is irrefutable. Am I saying that Chuck Wielgus is a saint and we should erect a statue? No. But let’s agree that he is human and has acknowledged his shortcomings. I think if there was anyone within the USA Swimming community who has specific knowledge of Chuck condoning inappropriate behavior and fighting against policy changes then I might reconsider – but until that time, I feel like this is all a little over the top.


I did not read WSF letter but in my personal opinion the guy does not deserve Hall of Fame… He is credited for a growth in sport but the growth occurred thanks to the popularity of swimming super stars that just happen during his era. The national team stipends, even after recent raise, are still very low. The Grand Prix series price money is low as well. The tv coverage of swimming events is very poor…Many controversies how he handled questionable characters working at the top of USA Swimming…Very high salaries for top brass combined with ever increasing membership fees…I really do not see him doing anything special deserving recognition.


Tom – I agree… particularly around USA Swimming’s ability to effectively leverage the growth of both youth participation and interest among the general public to extract maximal sponsorship revenues, revenue from media rights, image rights and subsequent licensing, and support for national team members, and the growth of the grand prix series. As the predominant swimming nation in the world, the ability for our athletes to support themselves financially through participation in the grand prix series and from national team stipends is embarrassing. Furthermore, if you break it down and look at the assets at his disposition… Phelps, Lochte, Missy, Coughlin, Adrian, C.Jones, Ervin, etc and the story-lines around each of these individuals, it really makes you think about how… Read more »


USA Swimming Facts:

2012 USA Swimming Annual Revenues: $31.7 Million

2012 USA Swimming Annual Expenses: $30.7 Million

2012 USA Swimming Net Income: $995k — Nice!

2012 USA Swimming Expense Breakdown:

– Chuck Wielgus Salary: $908k OR 3% of total expenditures on a the salary for a single individual. (As a point of reference… even in the private sector Lloyd Blankfein the CEO of Goldman made $13.3 million in 2012 but only equates to 0.0001% of total revenues generated in 2012 by Goldman Sachs)

– Total Salaries at USA Swimming in 2012 $8.5 million or 26% of total revenues!!!

coach A

His involvement has nothing to do with USA SWIMMING growing.
split his salary half to national TEAM members and half to building some pools,
we will be way ahead.
Most European countries have higher salaries (3 times to 7times )for national team members.
Elite swimmers get abuse for Olympic idea and for idea of representing this country for free.


Sad that USA Swimming didn’t use a tiny little piece of this money to fulfill the commitment that the National Team Director made to Dagny to pay for her college tuition and support her swimming through 2016. I still don’t understand how they live with themselves after pulling the rug out from under her just a few months after their representative promised her the funding. And then they made a “deal” with an 18 year old athlete under their care, and changed the rules on her. And they use money that we pay to USA Swimming so our kids can swim to legally protect USA Swimming from it’s failure to protect kids from sexual abuse. This man is making $900,000… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

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