Updated: Santa Clara Swim Club Head Coach John Bitter Fired For $600,000 In Financial Irregularities

Photo Courtesy: Catherine Ladd

John Bitter was relieved of his duties as Head Coach and Chief Operating Officer for the Santa Clara Swim Club (SCSC) after the club learned of financial irregularities with its account according to multiple Swimming World sources. A letter was sent out to the members of SCSC on Saturday indicating that over $600,000 was misappropriated.

September 29, 2018

Dear Membership,

Effective today, John Bitter has been removed from the Board of Directors and will no longer be with Santa Clara Swim Club. We realize that this may come as a shock to most of you, and please understand that there were solid circumstances that led to this decision. We are in the process of working with authorities and USA swimming has been contacted. We have gathered evidence that shows there has been a minimum of $600,000 misappropriated funds from Santa Clara Swim Club. We are working quickly to determine the interim needs of the club and will have further announcements to the membership as possible.

We intend on holding a meeting to provide what we can on this difficult announcement in the near future.

Should you have any questions, please reach out to one of the Board Members.

Kind regards,

Niko Meadors

On behalf of the Board of Directors

Please feel free to contact any of the Board Members with any questions.

Bitter was also the former Chairman for the Pacific Swimming Local Swim Committee and former Vice-Chair of Program Development for USA Swimming.

Bitter’s name was removed from the Santa Clara Swim Club’s web page and is not listed as an active coach.

Over the course of his 30 years in the coaching profession, Bitter had the opportunity to train, develop, and establish swimmers and programs throughout the United States.  He came to SCSC in September of 1995 as the Associate Head Coach, under Dick Jochums.  Working with Jochums, SCSC went on to win two National titles for men and one national title combined.

Following the retirement of Jochums in December of 2006, Bitter was elevated to the position of Head Coach of Santa Clara Swim Club.  In that position, the club saw tremendous growth in terms of both performance and number of swimmers and programs offered to the swimming community.  In September of 2009, John was also given the title of CEO of the organization.

As a coach, Bitter’s accomplishments have been numerous.  He was an Assistant Coach for USA Swimming’s Junior Pan-Pac team in 2010, a two-time USA Swimming Select Camp coach, and a USA Swimming Zone Development Camp Coach.

Bitter’s swimmers have produce multiple National, Junior, and Olympic qualifiers and he has had many former swimmers go on to compete in college at such schools as University of Georgia, University of Virginia, Rice University, Indiana University-Bloomington, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UC Davis, University of Arizona, University of Minnesota, University of Hawaii, just to name a few.

As a swimmer, Bitter swam for Jim Tynan at Sugar Creek Swim Club in St. Louis, then for Martha Tillman at Washington University in St. Louis. Transferring after his sophomore year, Bitter went on to swim for Dick Jochums at the University of Arizona where he was team captain his senior year.  He received his B.A. in History from the University of Arizona and has done masters work in Sports Management at the University of San Francisco.

Bitter was formerly the Chair of Pacific Swimming, and was the Vice-Chair of Program Development for USA Swimming.

Read Letter to Santa Clara Membership

5 Comments

5 comments

  1. avatar
    Quincy

    Why are you lauding his accomplishments, when he apparently has done something very bad.

  2. MK Mahoney

    Oh boy. And I hate to say this but I am happy that it was not an inappropriate sexual allegation

  3. avatar
    Kiana

    This is so incredibly sad. As a former swim family of this club, the entire SCSC staff including John Bitter has treated us with nothing but respect. And whether Coach Bitter is innocent or guilty of such serous allegations, please allow authorities to do their job and pray that no matter what the results may be, that we as a swim community come together to grow even stronger than ever.

Author: Andy Ross

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Andy Ross is the new man on board at Swimming World. He is based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is a 2017 graduate of Southern Illinois University where he graduated cum laude.

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