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Teri McKeever, Olympic swim coach, on paid leave from Cal after reports of abuse

Teri McKeever

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 23: Teri McKeever of the California Bears reacts after a race at the 2019 Division I Women’s Championship on March 23, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was put on paid administrative leave by Cal Berkeley amid an investigation into a report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

“This afternoon, in a meeting I held with team members I shared this news and expressed our commitment to support them in any way we can going forward,” Cal Athletic Director Jim Knowlton said in a statement provided by the athletic department and first reported by the Orange County Register, which also reported the abuse allegations. “As reported, these allegations run counter to our core values and the expectations we have for every member of our department. As the person entrusted with the well-being of more than 1,000 student-athletes, coaches and staff, I have no greater responsibility than ensuring we do the right things in the right way. We will follow all university policies and protocols for investigating and addressing these allegations. We are replying to everyone, including parents and former student-athletes, who has reached out to us as quickly as we can, while we are also providing resources for members of the program who are in need.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for the last 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy Franklin, Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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