COLORADO SPRING, Colorado, August 26. TODAY, USA Swimming announced that it has banned J. Michael Soderling for life from its organization. He joins a growing list of former members who have been added to the Banned for Life list by USA Swimming.
In July of 2012, Soderling was indicted in a drug conspiracy in Lawrence, Ks., that included a total of 35 people on the indictment list.
The LJWorld reported that the federal jury indictment was for charges of conspiring “to distribute five kilograms of a mixture containing cocaine and more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from 2005 to June .” The original indictment also sought a $16.9 million judgment, according to the LJWorld.
The drug sting netted a large variety of people allegedly involved in the drug ring, including a man who allegedly supplied marijuana to Kansas basketball players, as well as tanning salon co-owners who were raided as a cover for the drug proceeds.
Today, USA Swimming announced the ban in a Twitter post.
J Michael Soderling (KS) added to list of Individuals Permanently Suspended or Ineligible from @USA_Swimming: http://t.co/Q4XS64HUYy– USA Swim Safe Sport (@SwimSafeSport) August 26, 2013
The entire ordeal reads like a Breaking Bad remake, just without the anti-hero intrigue. Money laundering, drug dealing, and some high stakes efforts by a huge group of individuals.
For the record, Soderling was found to be in violation of codes 304.3.8, 304.3.17.
CODE OF CONDUCT (2011) – SECTION 304.3.8
The sale or distribution of illegal drugs or the illegal sale or distribution of any substancelisted on FINA’s recognized list of banned substances.
CODE OF CONDUCT (2011) – SECTION 304.3.17
Any other material and intentional act, conduct or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.
Soderling had served as the head coach of the Lawrence Aquahawks, before leaving to coach with the Topeka Swim Association. He then moved on to California, where his alleged drug connections caught up with him.
The LJWorld reports, “At some point, Soderling, originally from southern California, moved to Fort Bragg, Calif., with his wife, Sarah Soderling, and court documents allege that the two began supplying marijuana to others involved in the larger drug case. Soderling was one of several suppliers from the Northern California region, but he also handled some of the drug transporting himself. In 2011, authorities intercepted a mail shipment of marijuana and methamphetamine Soderling sent from California to a home he rented in Lawrence.”