Area coach banned

USA Swim­ming places Michael Pliuskatis on its per­ma­nently banned list for sex­ual mis­con­duct.

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY LIZ CLARKE clarkel@wash­

USA Swim­ming has placed a Washington area swim coach on its per­ma­nently banned list, cit­ing four rules vi­o­la­tions that re­late to sex­ual mis­con­duct be­tween 2010 and 2012.

Michael Pliuskatis, for­merly the head coach at Loudoun County-based Snow Swim­ming, ini­tially was banned in early Au­gust and has been re­moved from the team’s coach­ing ros­ter for some time. His ap­peal was de­nied, lead­ing to an of­fi­cial ban that was is­sued by USA Swim­ming on Fri­day.

Pliuskatis is the re­gion’s third lo­cal swim coach to be banned for life by USA Swim­ming in the last eight months for sex­ual im­pro­pri­eties with swim­mers.

Ri­ley Ea­ton, gen­eral chair­man of Po­tomac Val­ley Swim­ming, con­firmed Satur­day that he had re­ceived a let­ter from USA Swim­ming on Fri­day in­form­ing him of the ban. The ban, and the four code vi­o­la­tions cited, were con­firmed Satur­day in an e-mail from a USA Swim­ming spokesper­son.

As such, Pliuskatis may not coach any ath­lete who is a USA Swim­ming mem­ber nor in­ter­act with them on any di­rect or fre­quent ba­sis.

Snow Swim­ming is well known in the sport, hav­ing pro­duced Olympian Matt McLean. The club was founded by Pliuskatis but now is owned by his ex-wife.

Hall of Fame coach Rick Curl, who ran one of the na­tion’s largest swim clubs (the former CurlBurke), was banned for an im­proper re­la­tion­ship with a teenage swim­mer in the 1980s that started when she was 13 and he was 33. Curl was charged in Oc­to­ber with felony child abuse. The club has since changed its name to the Na­tion’s Cap­i­tal Swim Club.

Last month, Noah Rucker, a former coach at Vi­enna’s Madi­son High, was con­victed of a misdemeanor of­fense for al­legedly hav­ing sex with a 17-year-old fe­male mem­ber of the high school’s var­sity swim team. Rucker was sus­pended by USA Swim­ming in July.

In a tele­phone in­ter­view, Ea­ton said that the three re­cent bans, although all re­lated to sex­ual mis­con­duct, were not con­nected in any other way.

“They are to­tally sep­a­rate — not only by lo­ca­tion but by age, when they oc­curred and other fac­tors,” Ea­ton said. “It’s not like some ca­bal that three guys got to­gether and were prey­ing on young women. They are very sep­a­rate.”

Ea­ton said that USA Swim­ming and lo­cal of­fi­cials were do­ing all they could to en­sure ath­letes are safe in the fu­ture.

“Ev­ery­body is a lit­tle more aware now,” Ea­ton said. “We want to make sure our kids are safe. And we’re work­ing really hard at it so we don’t just dis­count things on face value any­more. That is some­thing we’re do­ing a bet­ter job of.

“The ills of the past are hopefully just that. They are the past, and we are mov­ing for­ward enough to make sure that we do a bet­ter job.”

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