RBHS swimming coach fired amidst controversial remarks


Abby Kempf

The RBHS swimming team finds itself floating in adversity and controversy, after disturbing statements made by the team’s head coach.
Yesterday, Jan. 29, girls’ swimming head coach Laura Wacker was fired for allegedly comparing swimmers to Holocaust victims and Nazi sympathizers. David Egan, the RBHS athletic director, confirmed that she is no longer coaching the team, but declined to comment why.
“She compared us to Nazis and the suspended swimmers to Jews, and went on a rant trashing MSHSAA for around 20 minutes,” a swimmer speaking under anonymity said.
The swimmer referred to certain athletes who were suspended for breaking dead week rules established by MSHSAA (Missouri State High School Activities Assoication.) Allegedly, Wacker said that the rules were unfair and those that did not follow the rule, which resulted in a suspension of both the girls and the coach, were acting against an unjust stipulation, comparing them to Holocaust victims.  Additionally, she said the girls who were unhappy with the swimmers who broke the rule were wrong to criticize them, comparing them to Nazi sympathizers.
[spoiler title=”Read more about MSHSAA’s dead week policy” open=”yes” style=”fancy” icon=”arrow”]https://www.bearingnews.org/2015/12/dead-week-causes-rift-for-rbhs-swimmers/ [/spoiler] The anonymous swimmer said the coach did not help the girls improve on their skills and was too caught up in dead week infractions.
“She was fired because she said things that were inappropriate and not conducive to the team environment instead of helping us become better swimmers,” the swimmer said.
Wacker said the decision was not discussed at all and came as a surprise to her.
“I am sorry to say that I don’t even know what to say at this point,” Wacker said. “I am shocked at the events that transpired yesterday after practice and the fact that my coaching staff and I were not asked to address the comments about what occurred at practice before the decision to fire me was handed down.”
Swimmer Elinor Stanley is disheartened by that the season long debacle has stolen the spotlight.
“It’s just that the season has been difficult for everyone and the situation has overshadowed the fact we are teams with good swimmers and good swimming has happened regardless,” Stanley said.
Despite the controversy, Stanley and the rest of the swimming team are trying to move forward and keep their eyes on the real prize: the state championships.
“There have been hard feelings, but we’re all trying to move on and focus on what we can effect, which is swimming our best and preparing to go as a team to state,” Stanley said.