Cal Swimmers Walk Out of Practice amid Abuse Allegations Against Coach Teri McKeever

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMay 25, 2022

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)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Cal women's swim team walked out of a scheduled practice Wednesday after a brief meeting with head coach Teri McKeever, according to Scott M. Reid of the Orange County Register.

The demonstration comes one day after Reid published an investigation into verbal abuse and bullying allegations from more than 20 current and former student-athletes and parents who said McKeever has created a toxic environment within the team.

Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated reported McKeever has since been placed on administrative leave.

Those interviewed by Reid "portray McKeever as a bully who for decades has allegedly verbally and emotionally abused, swore at and threatened swimmers on an almost daily basis."

McKeever not only allegedly pressured student-athletes to compete despite injuries and chronic illnesses, but at least six women since 2018 "made plans to kill themselves or obsessed about suicide" as a result of the coach's bullying, per Reid.

Former swimmer Danielle Carter said McKeever laughed in her face and called her "pathetic" after discussing her suicidal thoughts.

"The allegations described are serious and deeply disturbing in that they describe behavior antithetical to our values and policies," Cal said in a statement.

Three additional women came forward with allegations since the report was published Tuesday, while current and former athletes have called for McKeever to be fired, per Reid.

After Wednesday's walkout, the team is scheduled to meet with Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton, associate AD Gordon Bayne and director of high performance and well-being Graig Chow.

McKeever finished her 30th season at Cal in 2021-22 and has won four NCAA titles and nine Pac-12 Coach of the Year awards. She was the United States Olympic Team head coach in 2012.