The negative press about swim coaches can be disheartening, but progress has been made on at least one front to move things in the right direction.
This summer, USA Swimming added two names to its list of individuals banned from the organization for life.
Part-time coach Joseph Michael Diaz, 38, of Makos Aquatic Club in Gainesville, Fla., was arrested in April 2014, and accused of sexually battering a boy, and making another take explicit photos and videos.
Coming out of a period in which USAS was accused of delaying definitive action on such matters, the organization conducted an investigation within two months of the arrest, citing Diaz for violating three sections of its code of conduct. Though he has not been convicted, USAS considers arrest to be grounds for a lifetime ban.
USAS also added coach Christopher Huott, 53, to its banned list in June. The founder/owner of the Maryland Suburban Swim Club in Laurel, Md., was arrested in April and charged with one count of felony child abuse. A woman, now in her 30s, had come forward and told police that Huott, her coach and babysitter in the 1980s, had sexually abused her.
Huott has reportedly agreed to plead guilty. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors will recommend a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail. A judge must approve the agreement. Huott is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 11.
The total number of individuals on USA Swimming’s banned list now stands at 104.