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Sussex/Menomonee Falls: Parents respond to swim coach's statements

Nov. 19, 2008

Public Forum:

This letter is in response to two articles printed in your publication regarding this year’s Menomonee Falls/Hamilton co-op girls swim team. Both articles contain numerous misleading statements and we would like to set the record straight.

The first article on Oct. 16 was headlined “Swimming: Despite defections, Indians still competitive in Sheboygan.” The article went on to quote head coach Jim Weitzer as follows:

“In this transition season with a small team that just got smaller last week as four members quit for personal reasons, Menomonee Falls/Hamilton co-op coach Jim Weitzer said it is time to get back to the basics.

‘They were people who just decided not to be here anymore,’ Weitzer said. ‘They decided it wasn’t worth their effort to work their tails off anymore. I’m not sure exactly why they quit; maybe it was a case of burn-out.’ ”

The second article on Nov. 13 was headlined “Falls/Hamilton co-op shut out of state competition.” Again, this article quoted Weitzer referencing the defections that took place mid-season as a contributing factor.

We, as parents of the student athletes referenced in both articles, can no longer sit by and allow these false statements to be made. Weitzer is fully aware of why each of these four athletes felt they had no other option than to leave the team with less than a month to go in the season.

Each swimmer spoke directly to him before their departure, provided him with their reasons for leaving and yet there were no attempts on the part of Weitzer to work toward a solution. Never was the reason “they had decided it wasn’t worth their effort to work their tails off anymore” part of the conversation.

Simply stated, they could no longer function in the negative atmosphere that Weitzer had created for this team inside the pool area. Unfortunately, this is not new — it is an all too familiar pattern that continues year after year.

Swimmers are extremely dedicated. They practice three hours a day, six days a week and have to balance school, homework and often a job during the swim season. With the exception of one, these swimmers were in their second and third years at the varsity level and had been a part of the sport for many years.

After numerous attempts to bring issues forward to Weitzer and both athletic directors with no resolution, these athletes decided they could no longer continue. It was one of the most difficult decisions they have had to make in their young lives, and one that we, as their parents, were frustrated they even had to consider.

Weitzer is quoted in the Nov. 13 article as saying many changes will have to occur for the Indians to improve.

Yes, indeed.

Dean and Christine Devine

Sussex

Gary and Jean Brunella

Mike and Lisa Mickola

Menomonee Falls

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