Connect with Us:  

US Head Coach Schubert Takes Paid Leave

Sep 15, 2010  - Craig Lord

News and Views

As swimming history tells us, swimming federations are capable of great acts of folly. The details of why Mark Schubert took paid leave of absence, effective immediately, from his job as head coach to the most successful swim team in the world are not yet clear. 

Initial reports from the US, at Swimming World, suggest that the hot issue is an Athlete Assistance Plan backed by by Schubert, rejected by the United States Olympic Committee and accepted by USA Swimming in watered-down version. The news filtered out from USA Swimming's annual convention in Dallas, Texas.

More on that at Swimming World, which notes the interference of marketeers in the ability of athletes to govern their own assets while receiving due support for providing the very reason why the federation and its marketeers are even in a job at all. If the Swimming World comment is a fair assessment of the flow on this issue, then some heads ought to be hanging in not a little shame right now. You can almost guarantee that those heads will be doing anything but, convinced that their display of power is appropriate. 

Wherever fairness and truth rests, suffice it to say that blazers want financial and other forms of control firmly in their own pockets and will often do what it takes to keep it right there, regardless of the detrimental effect on athletes and the ability of the US to retain its title: one of the greatest success stories in the history of world sport.

The record of Schubert screams for itself, both in terms of longevity of commitment and a pantheon of success with personal charges, let alone as the man at the helm of the national team, that is among the finest coaching careers in the world of sport.

USA Swimming said it cannot comment on "personnel" matters. Too bad. As always, truth is the key. First take from US sources: as in the vast majority of such cases where officials hide behind their "respect" for individuals, a poor decision that does not serve athletes and coaches well may well to be lurking in the wings. 

In keeping with the nature of the sport: time will tell.