(Part-2) Teen accused of smacking teammate on behind jeopardizes swimming career

The adolescent may register for a USA Swimming event in autumn 2023, but he had to be chaperoned on the pool deck and could not see his accuser. In November, the swimmer's mom, who now coaches him full-time, temporarily left him on the pool deck at a swim event. A meet referee told him he was breaching the rules and couldn't return for the second day.

That prevented the adolescent from swimming in his greatest event, where he had previously swum timings that may have qualified him for a December junior national tournament. Linda Eaton, the referee who pulled the youngster, declined to speak to AP. “I appreciate your efforts to understand a SafeSport concern,” she emailed. I propose you contact the U.S. Center for SafeSport. The SafeSport letter said the swimmer bullied.

The adolescent stated he, his friend, and another child who observed the event had previously accused each other of bullying. His mom stated the boys' schools and swim clubs rectified the issues before SafeSport. The accuser's mother told the AP she filed a complaint for her son but declined an interview.

When SafeSport's letter arrived months after the boys' fight, the accused swimmer's mother said, “we had no idea what the accusations were, and we had no idea what was going on.” Unknown to SafeSport, a local police investigator approached the accused adolescent and his family in early July 2022 to ask about the incident. Police dropped the case in October 2022.

Nemchik said the center uses a “lower standard of proof... which at times allows it to act on cases law enforcement may not” to make choices without law enforcement interference. She claimed the center was founded because of law enforcement's failures, such as a 2021 Justice Department study that showed the FBI failed on numerous levels in processing the Nassar charges.

Nemchik also defended the center's grassroots goal, claiming many of Nassar's victims were club gymnasts not pursuing Olympic careers. “The center is fully committed to its mission to end abuse in sport, which goes beyond national teams and elite athletes,” she added. "Any proposal to limit athletes' accountability goes against our mission."

She said, “the center needs more financial resources to support the growing number of reports.” In 2023, there were 7,000 accusations, up 30% from 2022 and 350% from 2020. At the pace we are getting more stories, I think we are staring down a barrel of, like, what's going to happen next? SafeSport Center CEO Ju'Riese Colon told a September congressional hearing.

The family's greatest chance to settle the SafeSport case came in November 2022, when the center offered the youngster a “informal resolution”: if he admitted to hitting the other child, he could swim again with a six-month probation. We asked my kid, ‘Are you OK with this?’ mother stated. “He said, ‘No, I’m not going to admit to something I didn’t do.

The teen's punishments haven't kept him out of high school swimming, where he swam a whole season his freshman year, but the family worries that missing club events may hurt his future. Whether the matter is pending or resolved, the family worries that college recruiters will see it and worry. “It’s just really frustrating thinking that it’s still causing problems,” the adolescent added

Watch this space for further developments.