Stony Brook University has fired the coach of its women’s swim team following allegations of emotional abuse.
The names of both head coach Janelle Atkinson and assistant coach Jordan Bowen have been removed from Stony Brook’s website. The coaches were accused by a former swimmer, Arianna Rodriguez, of severe emotional abuse.
Rodriguez is one of six swimmers to have left Stony Brook since the program started up in fall 2017 after being on hiatus since maintenance issues closed the Stony Brook pool during the 2012-13 season. This was the first season of varsity women’s swimming competition since the 2011-12 season.
According to SwimSwam, the swimmers have alleged emotional abuse that included what they described as “intense screaming, degradation and regular use of profanity that became unbearable.”
Atkinson was accused a litany of incidents, including telling swimmers that mental illnesses and anxiety were being faked or signified weakness. Rodriguez says that she was forced to swim underwater while having a panic attack. Atkinson also said that Rodriguez’s anxiety was due to her own mishandling of being sexually assaulted.
Rodriguez also alleges she and other team members were ignored when they had physical injuries. SwimSwam reports that one team member was allegedly locked into the pool deck area after stopping in the middle of practice and being unable to move due to physical injury.
Rodriguez reportedly brought her complaints to the Stony Brook athletic director on multiple occasions over a three-month period and no changes were made until both Atkinson and Bowen were dismissed.