West Fargo High School varsity girls’ swim coach Ronald Hehn was fired after posting a video of a swimmer with 55 pounds hanging from weight belt early this week, and the school released more details Thursday.
The school initially cited “inappropriate coaching practices” as Hehn’s reason for dismissal. In the new report, it was revealed that West Fargo Activities Director Jay DeCann received an email from an unidentified Pennsylvania coach who said Hehn’s method “would be deemed criminal if it were used as part of our student training” after watching the video.
According to Inforum.com, the swimmer in the video was a team manager who wanted to try out the technique, which he had seen the girls’ team perform in practice. School officials interviewed four team members who had done it, and came to a few conclusions.
The first of which is that the equipment was not school-issued, the second was that swimmers asked to stop, and were denied; the third is that swimmers weren’t given a rationale for the method; the fourth was that lifeguards put a stop to the task because it “appeared dangerous.”
Additionally, the report alleges that team members were “afraid” during some of the tasks. Hehn denies that lifeguards put a stop to it, calling that part of the report “completely inaccurate.”
ValleyNewsLive says that West Fargo Public Schools released further documentation that detailed unrelated allegations of Hehn’s misconduct. SwimSwam has requested, but has not seen, those documents.
Hehn told Inforum that he plans get legal help to challenge the school’s decision and is working with USA Swimming to “pen an official response to his dismissal and use of weighted techniques,” but USA Swimming says that they are not working on anything with Hehn, and that he is not a USA Swimming member.
Update: USA Swimming denies that they are working with Hehn on a statement.