Day After Report on Teri McKeever Conduct, Cal Swimmers Walk Out

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Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

Day After Report on Teri McKeever Conduct, Cal Swimmers Walk Out

Members of the University of California’s women’s swim team walked out of practice on Wednesday, a day after an investigative report on the conduct of coach Teri McKeever was published. The report was published by Southern California News Group, alleging years of verbal abuse, bullying and the creation of a toxic environment that led to attempts of suicide by swimmers and rampant transfers out.

Wednesday, swimmers in Berkeley met with McKeever and walked out of practice, per SCNG. A meeting later in the day was scheduled with Cal administration, at which time McKeever was placed on administrative leave.

Cal’s statement on the matter apparently provided little consolation to the community, or the 19 swimmers and six parents who spoke to SCNG. The SCNG revealed Wednesday that three additional swimmers came forward with abuse allegations, stretching back to 2005.

“We are deeply concerned by what our student-athletes have reported to the Orange County Register,” the University said, in part, Tuesday. “There is nothing more important to the university than the safety and well-being of our students, and it is that commitment which will guide and inform how we respond to all that has been reported.

“The allegations described are serious and deeply disturbing in that they describe behavior antithetical to our values and policies. We are now, as always, encouraging current and former students to report behaviors and incidents that run counter to our policies and our values. We are now, as always, encouraging current and former students who may have been impacted to seek out support and assistance. We stand ready to help students in need connect with the appropriate campus resources and offices that offer support, guidance and assistance.”

Per SCNJ, in lieu of what assistant coach Jesse Moore told swimmers still training in Berkeley Wednesday would be a team meeting, it turned into McKeever being on the deck and trying to proceed with a practice session. A majority of the swimmers chose not to participate in that session.

Pressure is mounting on the university to take action. McKeever has led Cal to four national titles and mentored a slew of international swimmers, for the U.S. and other nations. She was the first female head coach of an American Olympic swimming delegation at the 2012 Olympic Games. But Tuesday’s report calls into serious question the methods by which she achieved that success and the emotional toll extracted from swimmers, both those who became Olympians those who didn’t.

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Boot
30 days ago

Time for some major house cleaning.

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Anna Kalandadze
30 days ago

As one of the swimmers who experienced this abuse firsthand and came forward in the article, I can say that Teri’s favorite word was ‘accountability’, she preached it to us every day, yet there is absolutely no accountability about what was done to us coming from Teri or Cal.

When I was recruited, Teri and the team seemed like a close-knit family full of love and support. That is one of the main reasons I chose Cal. Found out it was the exact opposite my first day of practice. 

I was called a piece of sh*t at almost every practice. I was told I was too heavy to be swimming and publicly asked what my eating habits were multiple times. I was screamed at and berated by Teri in front of the entire team only to be kicked out of practice. When I tried to call Teri to resolve whatever issues she had, she would reply that she doesn’t want to see or speak to me so I didn’t even know why I was being targeted. The last words she said to me before I quit were “you sh*t on me, you sh*t on the team, you sh*t on your family, and your mom would be ashamed of you”. After qualifying for NCAAs at mid season in 2019, as a freshman, I was told that I did not work hard enough and did not deserve it in front of other teams and coaches. This is only the surface of my experience. I quit one week before PAC-12s because I couldn’t expose myself to Teri’s abuse any longer. 

Not only did I go through this but I watched my closest friend Dani be treated even worse than I was and I think the fact that we were friends made her abuse us more. It took me almost 2 years to recover from the ptsd I had after Cal and a lot of it is because of my new coach at Penn. I am outraged for every single one of Teri’s victims before and after me and I cannot believe that she is still being supported and allowed to be present in the swimming community. This behavior is entirely unacceptable from a person who is supposed to be a role model for young athletes.

Anna Kalandadze

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Swim Mom
30 days ago

You are incredibly brave, Anna. Thank you for coming forward.

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Madeleine Weinberg
30 days ago

Anna, thank you for sharing your story & I’m sure so much more. As a fitness swimmer I never could of handled that then or now. I hope you can get past the trauma you experienced and not let it define you. Swim for you & others that are inspired by your courage, talent & drive to live with integrity for all human beings.

Thank you for making it easier for the girls after you and bringing satisfaction to your peers. Mostly yourself. Your the best and keep growing as a whole human!! Proud of you and all I will see in your future.

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Women’s NCAA Coach
30 days ago

But… now you swim for a program that is allowing biological MEN to compete against WOMEN… so although I applaud you standing against this behavior, I’m curious why you don’t stand against the suffering of Women’s sports as MEN steal podium places from WOMEN in WOMEN’S events…? Confusing from where I stand.

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Dan
30 days ago

Ok please. Were discussing something else rn.

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JEFF OLSEN
30 days ago

C’mon… neither she nor the coach can control what administration mandated.

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Women’s NCAA Coach
29 days ago
Reply to  JEFF OLSEN

Talking a stand is taking a stand. I don’t know how you can be a fearless advocate for one wrongdoing, but not another. Wrong is wrong. Both situations are not okay.

Last edited 29 days ago by Women’s NCAA Coach
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Patricia
29 days ago

I would like to offer perspective….This KID personally experienced unnecessary abuse and trauma from a person that was supposed to be a mentor and teacher. You think she has the courage to then take another stand against a program that treated her well and helped her heal and the NCAA??!! Sticking up for oneself after experiencing that kind of abuse and trauma is difficult enough. Have some perspective coach and perhaps educate yourself on abuse and trauma.

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Julez
29 days ago

Be mad at the NCAA, not a traumatized kid!

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Mill Valley
29 days ago

Nothing like trying to shame the victim, but that’s where we are these days. Nice job.

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Nsl
23 days ago

Absolute nonsense. It the liberal woke movement that is stealing women’s podium places, not men. The movement started with inclusivity for all, starting with empowerment of women. This has created a monster where people can say they must be included no matter what and can claim whatever they like. It’s nothing to do with men. Presumably you are saying they aren’t women in that case? I thought gender wasn’t biological? You are creating MORE hate by looking to blame men who are not the party to blame here, it’s the liberal idiots who have created such a beast, irrespective of sex/gender (same thing).

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Julez
29 days ago

Focus, “Coach”!

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Peter Scott
29 days ago

I can see from your comment that you are part of the problem. Diverting one topic into another to further your own agenda. That topic might well be one that many of agree with you on but it not relevant in this context and is downright disrespectful to those would may have suffered

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paul
29 days ago

this is a great example of abusive behavior

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Dan
30 days ago

Anna, as the father of a D3, female swimmer I am so sorry for what you went through. Sports even a D1 level should be about positive experiences, memories and personal growth and achievement. Not to be victimized by an adult who appears to value her resume more that student athletes imo. My best.

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George
29 days ago

she sounds like a total gem

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K.R.
27 days ago

Hate that you went through this! There is no place for this kind of abuse in any sport! So happy you found a more positive and supportive environment at Penn.

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Jeff
30 days ago

I thought she was on paid administrative leave per the OC Register article? Why is she showing up on deck? That alone should be grounds for termination if so.

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Jeff
30 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

Unless it was lifted, it certainly is a very bad look. Definitely could be interpreted as trying to pressure swimmers to back her up.

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AEM
29 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

Cal allowed McKeever to coach yesterday. They only placed her on administrative leave after the team walked out and they were shamed into it. Cal AD failed them yet again.

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Julez
29 days ago

In what warped universe would any employer allow an abuser ANY contact with her victims?!?

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Perot Conservative
25 days ago
Reply to  Julez

The same University that is $450 Million in the hole from a colossal facilities project they can’t pay for, and recently gave their AD an 8-year extension.

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Hans Witolla
29 days ago

As surprised as some people would be that a respected coach has behaved this way without anyone reposting it up until now, ask yourself if you would have the courage to come forward. It seems that this abuse has been over a long period of time “normalized” if I can use that term and this was just the way it was. It is unfortunate for these athletes as they end up hating the sport and perhaps even themselves instead of experiencing growth and joy they experienced trauma. No winners here. I wish these athletes the best and hope they can recover from this.

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Mill Valley
29 days ago
Reply to  Hans Witolla

For as much accolades as legendary Texas coach Eddie Reese received over his career, most of the focus was on all the winning, which is awesome, but where Eddie truly excelled was in his mentorship of his swimmers and their wellbeing. So many people believe the only way to “get through to young people” is by yelling and through fear, but Eddie motivated by mentoring and building these young people UP, not breaking them DOWN… The winning took care of itself through the positive culture Eddie built. Too bad Teri got way too much credit for the results no matter the carnage she likely caused along the way.

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David P McCagg
27 days ago
Reply to  Mill Valley

Truth truth truth. I Swam for Eddie and have so many great personal mentoring stories……. Great coach but even a better man. He cared more about you as a person than athlete.

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Robert Strand
27 days ago

I swam for a lot of coach’s in my swimming career, Laurabell Bookstaver, Ron Noakes, Doc at Indiana, Doug Huestis at the Olympic Club and they were all different in style, but the coach has to be in charge. I was kicked out a few work-outs in my career, “either “do the work-out as planned or get out” as it should be.

Last edited 27 days ago by swimboy1
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