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Tri-Valley swimmers seek to reform 'toxic' sports culture

Original post made on Jun 22, 2020

Swimmer safety is back in the local spotlight after several former Tri-Valley swimmers recently came forward alleging years of abuse that they said either took place by or under the watch of area coaches.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 19, 2020, 8:22 PM

Comments (91)

Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2020 at 9:47 am

Something that has concerned me for many years is the former Foothill High School varsity swim coach had her teaching credential revoked pending misconduct.

Posted by Sueme
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2020 at 1:08 pm

I know Miranda. My child swam with the Pleasanton Seahawks. What Miranda says about the Seahawks and Steve M are true. I witnessed children being verbally abused by Steve, I witnessed a bullying environment being allowed and encouraged by the coaches and I was told by other parents and members of the board "Don't say anything or your child's swim career will be ruined by Steve." I applaud the bravery of these young people coming forward.

Posted by appalled
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2020 at 4:02 pm

Part of the problems with this organization, that has incidentally, practically taken over the Pleasanton public pool on Black Avenue, is that it co-opts the parents into subservience to the coaches.

What other Parent FAQ has the line "VII. Honor thy child’s coach" as if these coaches are some sort of disciples not to be questioned.
Web Link

The City of Pleasanton needs to get this organization out of the public pool before the City is indeed sued as well. If they are going to abuse children, let them find private property to practice....not the public pool.

Posted by Tax payer 1
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2020 at 7:18 pm

I raised two children in Pleasanton and I would not allow either of them to swim for this program. This organization is flawed to its core. It is heartbreaking to read this article and I pray for those young kids that carry this with them through their lives.
As a long time Pleasanton homeowner and tax payer, I have long been disgusted as the relationship between this team and the City of Pleasanton.
It’s long overdue for this team to be removed from the community aquatic center and the pool should be re-programmed to serve the community as a whole.

Posted by L L
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 22, 2020 at 10:21 pm

I’m not sure where to begin...Steve Morsilli changed my life for the better and I am forever thankful for the years I got to swim with him as my coach. Yes, he pushed us, but what good coach doesn’t encourage you to test your limits? He taught us how to focus (in and out of the pool), set goals, and how to self-motivate. My life was better because of Steve and his coaching, and it carried over to my career. I learned things in that pool that helped me be successful out of the pool in all areas of my life. It’s hard to read negative comments when I spent years in that pool being coached by Steve daily and have only positive things to say about the entire experience. I had to add my comment which is based on solid experience and not hearsay.

Posted by Seahawks is toxic and needs to go
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 23, 2020 at 10:00 am

It is true that the Seahawks is a toxic organizing. The city of Pleasanton is liable for their culture of abuse and needs to terminate the contract. Currently, only the Seahawks are allowed to use the community pool, keeping taxpayers hostages to verbally abusive coaches. We have a list of swimmers who are willing to step forward and share with the city how they were treated by Seahawks coaches and how severely they were penalized when requesting to change groups to avoid abuse. If the city wants to hear from swimmers who were mistreated, we have emails to prove our statemens. Open a safe channel of communication! And bring in a second swim team to the Aquatic center.

Posted by Sueme
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2020 at 10:15 am

@LL....I am so glad your experience with the Seahawks was positive. Unfortunately, many, probably most, did not have your experience. Telling what I experienced as a parent of a Seahawk is not hearsay. Telling what I saw my child experience is not hearsay. Miranda telling her experience is not hearsay. LL, be thankful that these experiences were not yours.

Posted by Past Swimmer
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Jun 23, 2020 at 10:48 am

I was on Seahawks for 7 years. I was never under Steve’s coaching but many of my friends were and I occasionally attended some morning practices. I have never seen Steve touch anyone inappropriately in all my years on Seahawks. Yes he can be hard on his swimmers sometimes but like any coach it’s because he cares about his swimmers. Whenever I passed by him on deck he would always smile and greet me daily. He’s changed and influenced so many lives for the better, including mine. Being on the team has drastically influenced my life and taught me life lessons that have helped me inside and outside of the pool.

Posted by Past Seahawk Swimmer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2020 at 12:03 pm

Steve Morsilli is and always will be a phenomenal coach and leader. I was on his team since I was 8 years old and I swam for him in his group for 3 years in the late 90s/early 2000s. A man that teaches his swimmers how to inspire and motivate others is not a toxic coach. A man that encourages enthusiasm and boosts morale - whistles and roots for you, and has other swimmers doing the same for each other - in the middle of the hardest sets, when you think you can’t get through them, is not an abusive coach. He teaches life lessons about grit, dedication, goal setting, recovering from losses, and determination. Hundreds of swimmers will agree with me. And for those that don’t, maybe Steve wasn’t your cup of tea. And that’s okay. There are many different ways to coach/teach and not all swimmers will succeed the same way. But to call him toxic and abusive is wrong. You could have left and swam for another team. Several swimmers have done so and found huge success on other teams with no malice towards them from the Seahawks. “He will ruin their career” is untrue. Plain and simple. His love for the sport far surpasses any one swimmers career. He just wants people to love the sport of swimming. As for the allegations from his former swimmer, I was not on the team at that time, but I know people who were. And taking her comments at face value without understanding her and the negative reputation she had among the other swimmers is not doing your due diligence.

Posted by False
a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2020 at 5:08 pm

Miranda didn’t leave the team. She was kicked off team for her narcissistic behavior. Long overdue. Pissed it didn’t happen when my kids were on the team. She doesn’t have a single friend on the team. Not now, not 9 years ago, and certainly not in the future. She made everyone’s life hell. It was awful. Let’s say this Apple didn’t fall far from the tree. To the person that said “I know Miranda” then you must have wondered why you were her only friend, the only person lending a ear, on a team of over 400 swimmers. You were probably a new family and she latched on to you! Most likely everyone stayed away from you due to fear?? We were probably just afraid. Even at Granada, with all her accomplishments, she was never liked or respected. Granada has several Olympic Trial qualifiers, national and world ranking swimmers and extremely accomplished individuals, also part of Seahawks, and they were highly respected then and now. Sadly she is not one of them. This story is not complete without knowing her destructive pattern.

Competitive swimming is like all sports, it’s competitive. I highly doubt you can just request to be on the Highest premiere Rage or Ballistic team when you are average or lack dedication. that’s life. Almost 100percent of swimmers in his group go on to swim in college. Do you know how rare that is!! Probably not.

Posted by Sally
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:20 am

I know Miranda, and one thing she is not is a narcissist! Hearing an adult speak so negatively of a child is disgusting and speaks volumes about the type of person you are. Let’s be clear, she was NOT kicked off the team. She left by her own choice. Miranda is a very sweet girl who has dedicated her life to swimming and always give it her all. She is thriving on her college team and has made many great friends. She has found a support system that she didn’t have while on the Seahawks. I personally cannot wait to see how far Miranda takes her swimming career...she’s a natural!

Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2020 at 12:11 pm

My children swam for the Seahawks, and I think Steve Morsilli is a great coach, vert strict but also very fair. Steve has changed so many lives in a positive way, and I do not think Steve is capable of the things he has been accused of.

Posted by Holly
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 24, 2020 at 3:19 pm

I have known Miranda and her family personally for many years. I have heard MANY stories about how this coach conducted himself and how he allowed horrible verbal abuse by swimmers on his team. I know swimming was utmost important to Miranda, and still is, she hung in there to achieve her dream but was treated atrociously. Her coach condoned bullying and abuse by other swimmers, while doing the same thing. Miranda is an extremely talented athlete, scholar and a very trustworthy young woman, she came forward to help other young people that are facing the same things she did and I’m so proud of her for doing so!

Posted by Kimberly
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 24, 2020 at 4:33 pm

What a brave young woman Miranda Heckman is. She is not attention seeking. She is not going after that coach ...she is simply telling her story and what happened to her and she witnessed. Miranda is no narcissist and I have never witnessed any narcissistic behavior EVER. She is a sweet. Hardworking young person that devoted her life to swimming DESPITE what she had to deal with from that predator. Even he admits he may have swatted her on The bottom with a clip board. Where there’ is smoke there’s fire. There is a lot of smoke here folks and lets be honest...thanks to the new climate young and old women are feeling able to finally tell there story. And thank god for that. Instead of lying about her and saying she was kicked off the team (lie) and calling her a narcissist ...let’s embrace Miranda and all the other women that are now coming forward to tell there stories about these men and the culture under which these women Were coached . It says a lot when people comment on here with THEIR lies in support if that coach And let’s be honest... the first thing that happens from the accused persons camp is lying and berating the victims. Let’s Be brave like these women and don’t stand up for that. Stand up for what is right !

Posted by Leann
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 24, 2020 at 8:58 pm

I’m glad that others did not have the same experience Miranda did. Just because you didn’t experience it, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen to her. Some of these comments prove the very reason of why people don’t come forward sooner!

Posted by Steal Peonies
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jun 24, 2020 at 9:07 pm

Well I've known Miranda and the Heckmans for years and they have my support. She's such a sweet girl and a fierce competitor... no surprise jealous people will come out of the woodwork to try to get one last shot at taking down a winner when they couldn't compete on the same level .

She was most definitely not kicked off of the team. Lots of fabrications from the naysayers and thats one of them . Go Miranda and the Heckmans.

Posted by Eric
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:56 pm

Unfortunately, we know this situation too well. My daughter was a victim of this same kind of toxic behavior and victim shaming in another Pleasanton sport. Even after her coach admitted to failing to protect her from physical harm and bullying (even encouraging it), other parents stood up for this coach and wanted her to be rehired because she was “wonderful for them”. Our child quit the sport. We fought for this coach to be held accountable for her actions (that she admitted to) to protect these other athletes. No one else cared that my child was irreparably harmed. They were willing to risk their own child being exposed to this kind of program; I was not. I was more personally hurt by these parents defending a coach that admitted to wrongdoing then the act of the coach herself. Just because a coach was a positive influence for you or your child, does not mean that they can’t be a nightmare for another. Please share your truth, and don’t discount another theirs.

Posted by Lisa
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:03 pm

Miranda shared her story independently (not associated with this story) and did not name names, although she certainly could have. She has the right to share her own personal experiences. She is not alone.

Posted by Maria
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:06 pm

Thank you to all these ladies for coming forward and sharing their personal experiences. I’m so sorry that you had to endure such things at such a young age. No one has the right to make you feel this way. Thank you for having the courage to speak up and protecting future generations of swimmers.

Posted by Ronnie
a resident of Grey Eagle Estates
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:46 pm

I’m disgusted that you’d publicly state that “This apple didn’t fall far from the tree”. My son was a part of another swim club and constantly heard of the toxic atmosphere on this team. Even though Miranda may now be 18, she is essentially a child and I’m appalled at how you would speak about a child and her family. To say that she was never liked or respected at Granada is a lie. Those of us that could get over ourselves and appreciate true talent were in awe.

The only thing I can say is, thank you for putting those hateful thoughts in writing so our community can see you for who you are.

Posted by AA
a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:58 pm

As someone who was part of the Seahawks for many years, I agree that the environment is toxic. Steve Morsilli allows this type of behavior to occur, and while I am reluctant to believe that he sexually abused Miranda, I am not surprised to read the other things that she experienced. Previous comments are correct in stating that bullying among coaches and swimmers is condoned at the Seahawks. I myself experienced bullying from other swimmers, and regret having ever joined the Seahawks to begin with. I would not recommend this team to anyone. My years at the Seahawks were awful as well, and I am glad that Miranda is speaking out about her experiences with the negative and abusive environment. It takes a lot of courage for a young person to stand up for what is right and share her story to help others. Good for Miranda for making it known what an awful environment the team is.

Posted by Reena
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:23 am

Just because you had a great experience, please don’t discount others experiences. I have witnessed the Seahawks behavior and demeanor (although it did not effect me or my athlete directly). We can definitely do better.

Posted by resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:35 am

Not feeling comfortable with the way a coach talks to you does not mean sexual abuse took place. A person whose mother was a very active volunteer would have noticed if their child was in distress. A swimmer accusing a coach of having sexually abused them should file a police report so an investigation can be started. My guess is that if this happened, Steve would be cleared since I truly believe that no sexual abuse took place. I hope they go to court so the truth can come out during the discovery process

Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:52 am

I just read the posts shared by the pleasanton weekly. One says "I faced various forms of abuse but the most heavy weighing ones personally was the amount of verbal and emotional abuse I faced" and the other one says the person was sexually, physically etc abused. I am a bit confused here as I would think sexual abuse would be worse than verbal abuse. I would want to see this case move forward in the legal system: if sexual abuse took place, by all means punish the perpetrator but if sexual abuse did not take place, then something should be done too as false accusations hurt not just the accused but true victims of sexual abuse as well

Posted by Swimmer
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 26, 2020 at 2:25 pm

I swam for Seahawks and graduated couple years before Miranda. I am surprised by these claims. He was very protective of her and often reminded us to be nice to her, and be the better person. We were told this ALL THE TIME! It was annoying because she was often in the wrong when it came to disputes with teammates and of course when you are a teenager you want him to take your side but he never did. He was alway the referee. He listened and helped her all the time. Does that make her a bad person, no. But she was not a good teammate. And if she didn’t have a good practice or meet, it was her mom that berated her and Steve had to step in and mediate. She had to be right, at all cost. She was a teenager, we all were and not news. As of late last August 2019 she was under Pleasanton at Junior Nationals. The results are on USA swimming database. So there’s no way she moved teams right after graduation. Plus, Steve is not friendly or charismatic enough to sexual assault anyone. You may not like the team, him or the program, or you want to have a different program for this city but that doesn’t mean he sexually assaulted anyone.

Posted by Wondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2020 at 8:53 am

I am surprised to read the swimmer's accusations against Steve Morsilli. Her parents were very active: the father was an official, the mother was very active. Did they not notice their daughter's alleged distress and alleged sexual abuse? Especially the mother, always seemed to be there, at practice, meets, emailing people in Steve's group (I just found an okd email from her).... Steve: please take this to court and clear your name. I do not believe the swimmer was sexually abused

Posted by Mike
a resident of Danville
on Jun 27, 2020 at 10:04 am

Aaron Becker the Varsity football coach at San Ramon Valley High was able to keep his job after walking away from a drowning boy. Aaron had told the kids that if they held on to the sides or touched the lane lines he would add 30 seconds to the treading water drill. Some kids held on so he increased the time and as Ben Curry was sinking to the bottom Aaron ended the drill turned his back and walked away from the pool. Aaron Becker had a great football season the following school year and has the support of many of the parents of football players. So yes a coach can get away with all kinds of abuse to kids and still find support of parents.

Posted by Wondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2020 at 10:20 am

Mike: yes, abuse does exist, but so do false accusations. Brian Banks was falsely accused and went to jail, the accuser later recanted but did so after receiving money from the school district and sending an innocent man to jail.

Abuse happens, false accusations happen. Let's get to the bottom of this by bringing this case to court.

Again, I do not believe these accusations against Steve Morsilli, and the very involved swimmer's parents know that as they were a constant presence in their daughter's swimming career.

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2020 at 3:34 pm

This swimmer in this article (a completely different swimmer) claims Morsilli changed his story about the incidents with Andy King.

Web Link

Read the article above.

Posted by Concerned
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 27, 2020 at 4:27 pm

Its sad to see so many people attacking Miranda and other victims over their personal biases in support of this coach. We, as a community, should be protecting victims and facilitating an environment where people can come forward without fear of backlash, and allow due process to determine innocence or guilt; not the court of public opinion.

Posted by Reality
a resident of another community
on Jun 27, 2020 at 5:03 pm

Being a head coach and being selected to USA swimming senior development committee should be someone that can lead by example. Because they are the role model for all other coaches and minor swimmers. But the reality is a recruit-driven, very low safe sports threshold elite group coach has becomes the model of success of today.

Here is the definition of emotional misconduct from US Center for SafeSport.
Emotional Misconduct
Verbal Acts
Verbal assault that repeatedly attacks someone personally (e.g., calling a person worthless, fat or disgusting; taunting a person for being too effeminate);
Coaches who did verbal misconduct should work in a different league. People need to follow rules to stay inside this organization, Coaches selected to senior development committee should have high standard for such a leading role.

Posted by Barbara Gennaro
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jun 28, 2020 at 11:19 am

It takes courage and integrity for Miranda to take a stand and speak out against the behavior of her coach and the organization as a whole. Exposing the circumstances is a step towards protecting future athletes from the abuse that she and others endured.
It's appalling to me to read the ignorant comments made by parents of a few of the other swimmers. What are they teaching their children by spewing hatred at their former teammate? Pathetic!

Posted by Fairness
a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2020 at 3:04 pm

if, like some people believe, emotional misconduct by an elite group coach can lead to a higher performance and eventually better recruiting result, then it will become a disadvantage for coaches who do not or can not violate safesport rules without consequences. The playing field is not level any more. It greatly tilts to coaches who can use emotional misconduct to break down and rebuild swimmer as a toolkit to achieve high performance and top recruiting. And there will be no consequences because of their elite position.

Posted by Abused Son
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 29, 2020 at 8:01 am

All these people who think it is "OK" for this coach to treat these swimmers in this abusive way are enabling a narcissistic abuser.

Having been raised by a father with the same metal illness as this coach has been a life long challenge for me.

Part of the challenge was to overcome by feelings of worthlessness instilled upon me my the terrible treatment by my narcissist abuser father.

The other part of the challenge has been having to put up with all of his enablers, who to this day can say only positive things about him.

Of course one of the main traits of a narcissist abuser is they focus all their anger, hate and abuse on a very small percentage of people - usually the ones that they deem "unacceptable" or "weak". They treat the other 99% of the people they know in a very respectful manner - so their "true" abusive persona is hidden (or accepted).

People have seen how this coach has treated some swimmers, and either due to their cowardice or relief that they are not in his path of abuse have remained silent. Or perhaps they have let him abuse their child in the hopes that he/she will be a "winner". These are the worst type of parents - losers themselves, trying to be come winners through their child's life experiences.

Posted by Debbie DeRuse
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 29, 2020 at 3:20 pm

I have no words for some of the comments above. I breaks my heart that we still question the victim, especially in a case like this with several accusers. At a time in someone’s life where they are trying to grow up in the shadow of abuse, it is almost impossible. Trying to deal with such loaded words as posted above are disheartening and absolutely disgraceful. How will anyone ever feel comfortable speaking up ever again. As parents, we trust these coaches to take care of our kids and they fail us time and time again.

I am confident that the truth will come out and this amazing young woman will continue on with her life’s work. She is brave and strong and is blazing the trail for so many other athletes that face abuse in the future. Fight on Miranda !!

Posted by Parent of a swimmer
a resident of Dublin
on Jun 30, 2020 at 2:59 am

I had children with the Seahawks program for over 10 years and also under Coach Steve.  You'll probably get a different narrative whether you had a swimmer who was successful there or not.  Our experience was positive. It surprises me when people complain about a club situation but choose to stay.  There is no perfect situation that works for everyone all the time. Every coach has their own style, and that's why you choose one program over another.  Just because it doesn't work for some doesn't mean it can't work for others. 

Regarding the criminal assault, I'm hoping the supporting facts will come out since everyone who really knows MH, also knows that her father is in law enforcement.  We all have our presumptions on the matter.       

My final comment here has nothing to do with the aforementioned concern but more on her attack on her teammates. My kids swam and traveled with MH in the same group/lane/pool/relay/meets/airplane for many years, and she's a key reason why the group was so difficult at times. It's not jealously, as there were similar sentiments from a number of swimmers equally if not more successful than her.  Flatly, MH didnt care about her teammates and as a result they ended up not caring about her.  A professional basketball player once said, "where I'm from bullies get bullied."  Not hearsay, just telling it how it was. 

Posted by Pleasanton resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2020 at 9:13 am

Let's remember that we all had to deal with the swimmer's family: if anyone verbally abused the swimmer for poor performance... it was not the coach or the teammates! Her father was an official and because of the nature of his job, he has a duty to report abuse, especially sexual abuse, and yet did not report his own daughter's alleged abuse? ; and her mother? You'd see he everywhere, a very involved mom. When did the alleged abuse happen that it escaped the watchful eyes of her very involved parents?

It seems to me like someone was just on social media looking for attention and it got out of hand. I am glad to read Steve M is pursuing a defamation lawsuit so the truth can come out.

And a comment above said many were accusing the coach: to the best of my knowledge, the only one alleging the crime of sexual abuse is the one swimmer. Another swimmer is saying Steve M knew of the past abuse from the two coaches already in jail and banned from the sport.... there are past reports of Steve M bringing wrongdoing to the attention of Pacific Swimming, Steve M is against any type of inappropriate behavior. Only the swimmer that posted the alleged abuse on social media is claiming sexual abuse, no one else is!

Posted by Be careful
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:56 am

Being an involved parent is great but pedophiles are very smart. I would encourage parents of swimmers to read up on the rules of what is appropriate and inappropriate touching from a coach to a swimmer. 2019 USA Swimming Rules and Regulations, Code of Conduct. My experience with swim was that parents will turn their heads to inappropriate and unacceptable behavior by coaches, get buddy-buddy with coaches for the benefit of their athlete. Sad but true. Parents, keep your head on a swivel.

Posted by Lauren Andrade, where did she go?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2020 at 9:01 pm

Curious why she stopped coaching and teaching. Her teaching credential is revoked.

Posted by Concerned Older Sibling
a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:22 pm

As an older sibling picking up my younger sibling from practice and seeing a tiny bit of the state of things enough so that the topic of what to do if you see someone getting bullied by other people on the team came up in the car on the way home, I do believe there was bullying going on on the team. I don’t think there is a question of whether or not bullying was going on or whether it was “deserved” it’s a question of whether those with authority addressed it in an appropriate way and how it should be addressed moving forward.

Posted by Nicole
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:00 pm

I haven’t seen this girl directly accusing this coach of anything sexual. It is quite possible that when she’s refered to a toxic environment in a “sexual” sense that she means things happened to her while on the team even by other kids, boys or girls. This could be anything including a dude on the team pinching your butt or saying sexual things to you which you decline and then they do not stop which does happen by the way. It could even be texts. Once I was on a swim team and a girl who didn’t like me texted me and when she realized I didn’t know who’s number it was she told me she was was a “priest” who wanted to do a particular sexual act to me, I didn’t respond but they kept texting me. This was before I even knew what that act was. Of course I never told my parents and found out the girls number through a friend who had that girl in their contacts. I never confronted her and just moved on. But I did feel humiliated and alone like I couldn’t tell anyone. If other people are reading this girls posts they should not jump to conclusions about what she is actually saying when she talks about her experience in a “toxic environment”. She is talking about HER experience from when she was a PRETEEN and then a TEENAGER. Not to mention she didn’t name anyone in the post that was taken and used in this article. If other people are taking her post and interpreting it into specific things that’s not her fault and let’s say she actually has a claim she wants to make of that nature. Then she’ll make it and she has a right to. Otherwise leave her alone.

Posted by Rick
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:07 pm

Does not matter how many support Steve M. A single victim is all it takes to be guilty of child abuse. The victims need to feel free to speak and not be shamed by the people that he did not abuse. This is not a popularity contest it is a victim speaking out and it is clear that more than one child is a victim. The reality is that it is common for children not to realize they were abused until they become adults and know that it was not proper behavior of an adult entrusted to protect them. Just as priest have been found guilty of child abuse yet the parents had nothing but praise for the attention the priest gave their child. The parents did not realize the attention went to far. So let the victims speak and stop with the rubber stamp of approval for the actions of Steve Morsilli. He needs to be held accountable for his actions and the victims need to come forward to support each other.

Posted by Lynette
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2020 at 12:44 am

@Swimmer: So if your coach was telling you to be nice to her then even he thought she was being mistreated enough that he tried talking to the swimmers... And you disagreed with him. Well you’re either a victim or a bully or a follower. And I don’t know the answer to that because I wasn’t there. But now I know one thing for sure, this coach new of the situation since he talked about it “ALL THE TIME.”

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2020 at 3:38 am

@Nicole: re read her social media posts, one of them says she was sexually abused by her coach , did not say a name but she only had one coach

Posted by Nicole
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 1, 2020 at 7:18 am

@resident all I see is she lists verbal sexual emotional and physical abuse and lists both head coach and teammates. The way that’s written it’s unclear who is associated with which of the abuses and to what extent. For all we know he could just be responsible for knowing about it and doing nothing. Or he could be responsible for 3/4 but not the sexual part of it. I’m just saying everyone is focusing on the coach like it couldn’t have been the kids. Like you can’t get gripped in the pool or in the locker room. I’m not saying it wasn’t him, I’m just saying y’all shouldn’t jump to conclusions about your own coach. It looks suspicious. But if she actually accuses him of anything sexual then I think you should be concerned not immediately sure everything’s perfectly fine. I get it you’re worried you’ll lose your coach and then your team and you like your team so Miranda can’t be right or you or your kids swimming suffers. But nobodies ever listed a single thing this girls actually done that was so bad to be such a bad teammate. And I think people including the newspaper may be skewing her words here for their own uses. And it sounds like this coach has a reputation. I personally heard him call a girl on in the team a hippo. I didn’t join the team because of that. You can’t get on here and say he was perfect, no one will believe you. But as far as sexual abuse on the team I still think it could have been the other kids and I still think there are degrees to this. We don’t know what they are because she didn’t say exactly or name names and everyone’s just jumping to different conclusions and going after her. It looks like you’re trying to hyper focus on a part of what she’s saying to make her look like she directly accused him of full on sexual assault. And we just don’t know that. But like I said, if she does directly accuse him of something specific the best response is to check not to automatically make a 10-19 year old the maleficent or the swim world.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:15 am

@Nicole: her accusations need to be handled in court as she is, as you said, accusing not just the coach but the teammates as well. I believe there was no sexual abuse by anyone towards her, and I want to see her questioned under oath. Lies cannot be tolerated, false accusations happen so let's figure out if there was abuse or if she is lying. I focused on the sexual abuse allegation as that is a crime, and she has accused people of that crime.

Posted by Nicole
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 1, 2020 at 12:34 pm

@resident She didn’t name anyone or anything. She feels she was abused in swimming. I believe her. She was owning her story and her experiences without naming names or places and that’s allowed. The public sees the team now because of how some of it’s members have responded. Like saying this girl had no friends for nine years and she’s what, 19 now? Wow what an evil 10 year old that you supported your children in ostracizing. Great parenting. I’m sure the coach doesn’t blame the parents of the other kids at all for what’s happening to him. Not a single bit. Or telling her the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree or that her post that didn’t point fingers was a cry for attention. Listen to yourselves! You have no room for any empathy at all. How could we believe anything you are saying. The public will be watching Pleasanton swimming and whether the culture was or was not toxic before it will be appropriate now. Pleasanton swimming and coaching will have to be because it can no longer remain hidden from the public eye.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2020 at 3:58 pm

@Nicole: her allegations are strong, of physical and sexual abuse, she did not say she felt she was abused, she stated her coach and teammates sexually and physically abused her. The coach was always there for her, in a mentor type of way; there is a reason she stayed for years with the Seahawks, and swims in College thanks to all that training/effort and the team's reputation certainly helped. As someone said above: she could have left the team, she lived in Livermore and there is a team there but she went to Pleasanton every day for years instead. And above someone said her father is in law enforcement; if that is the case, he had a duty to report abuse and if he says he didn't know: now he is aware of his daughter's alleged abuse, why isn't he reporting it? People like teachers, firefighters etc have a duty to report abuse. Failure to do so, or filing a false report results in penalties that include jail and fines.

I think she is just looking for attention and took things too far, accusing coach and teammates of physical and sexual abuse.

We need her to face the people she accused in a court setting. We also need the father , if he is indeed in law enforcement, to explain his failure to report the alleged abuse.

Posted by Nicole
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 1, 2020 at 9:07 pm

@resident Well I think you are wrong and the problem. This girl is no longer alone, now you have to justify your comments and actions to all of us. If you force her into having to come out and say exactly what happened to her and exactly who was responsible for each thing to whatever severity that may be (because their are all kinds of examples and degrees of events that fall under what she spoke of in her post and small things still matter and count by the way) AND when all the other swimmers come out and voice their stories, then when a jury finds you guilty for the part you played then you better accept it since you literally asked for it. No one will feel sorry because you have literally demanded her to speak out and be specific. You are asking for the attention of the court of law now you get it.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:06 pm

@Nicole: I have nothing to hide or fear, so yes, let's bring this to court. Have the swimmer give specific details, file a police report and let the investigation start.

Posted by Nicole
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 2, 2020 at 8:33 am

@resident Your sides call. She doesn’t have to do anything. But no matter what happens or she chooses to do in response she is no longer alone. It will not be the swimmer it will be the people. It’s no longer a group against 1 girl. It’s those that stand with her against those that stand against. Any child on the swim team who saw something and lies and says they didn’t see anything happen any child that did something and lies and says they didn’t do anything, any parent that doesn’t support their kid in saying the truth, that weight will weigh on them the rest of their lives, forever. It’s time the parents of these kids asked themselves is raising my child to be a fast swimmer the only important thing? What about being a good person? What about being honest? It’s not in her ballpark now, it’s in yours. That is the last I will say on the matter.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 9:01 am

@Nicole: yes, everyone needs to tell the truth and stop lying, make sure the swimmer and her parents get the message

Posted by Sophia Roth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 10:11 am

Wow @resident that sounds very threatening ! It is almost unbelievable that your making these comments. Are you one of SM minions or old coaches. How much is he paying you ? Part of his hefty salary ? Why not use your name ?

Posted by Richard
a resident of Dublin
on Jul 2, 2020 at 10:32 am

It is very clear that Steve Morsilli allowed a toxic culture. Just reading the mean and spiteful comments from parents which themselves are toxic we are learning what was allowed to take place and justified.

I feel sorry for the children of the parents that have posted such mean comments because they are going to grow up believing that you attack victims.

Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 2, 2020 at 11:43 am

He said/she said.

So tired of these types of allegations. If a man or woman claims to be strong, then when something illegal happens, SPEAK UP right then and there.

As a society we’ve really lost sight of innocent until proven guilty.

Beware of getting what you want. Some day, accusations will be all that’s needed to put you away for good.


Posted by Richard
a resident of Dublin
on Jul 2, 2020 at 11:57 am

We are not talking about adults when the abuse occurred. The laws have been changed because a lot of child abuse victims were not able to seek justice for what occurred because they did not even understand the definition of child abuse until they became older or had children of their own. A parent understands that a child can be convinced of almost anything if good is mixed with evil. Classic child abuse is to abuse the child then take them shopping. The coach was trusted by the parent why would a child believe that what a coach was doing was evil.

Posted by letter to Tim Hinchey
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Yesterday, this open letter from the attorney representing those swimmers who were abused to Tim Hinchey calls for USA Swimming to ban the coaches.

Web Link

Posted by Prison time
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 2:23 pm

I hope Steve is ready for prison time. I also hope that all of his coaches and former coaches that new about this are banned from USA swimming for life.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 5:25 pm

Ignore the headline. The article talks in more detail about what some have done

Web Link

Posted by letter to Tim Hinchey
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 7:05 pm

These court documents are a link to the Sentencing summary outlining Andy King's sexual abuse of female swimmers, some that were as young as 10 years old. Web Link

The attorney who wrote to Tim Hinchey claims that Pacific Swimming knew about misconduct in 2003 after a former swimmer emailed them in January 2003. The coaches then kept it a secret with emails stating that they should keep the email complaint in 2003 confidential. Andy King then continued to sexually abuse female swimmers for six more years.

Posted by FG
a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 8:41 pm

Steve Morsilli knowingly allowed a registered sex offender to serve as a board member of this program.
Facts are facts and the parents that support this organization need to open their eyes to them.

Posted by Worth reading
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 9:44 pm

A 2013 article about Suzette Moran's abuse:

Web Link

Posted by letter to Tim Hinchey
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 10:58 pm

A recent article Web Link about recent abuse and the 2019 $1.125 million settlement against Pacific Swimming where a coach (Fujishima) was sentenced for 12 years for sexually abusing a 12-13 year old girl....

In spite of years of sexual abuse, it appears nothing has changed in recent history.

Posted by Unbelievable
a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2020 at 7:19 am

The article posted above about Suzette Moran's abuse says:
"her parents were aware of the relationship and allowed it to continue with parameters. Ms. Moran admits that if her parents had not allowed her to continue her involvement with him, she probably would have run away and married him. But her mother wanted to keep her daughter close and the lines of communication open with the daughter she loved.
Ms. Moran holds herself completely accountable for her actions and does not see herself as a victim"
Why would any parent allow this?

Posted by Tax Payer 1
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2020 at 8:32 am

After researching on a deeper level the relationship between this program and the City of Pleasanton, it is now known that the City of Pleasanton is a Co-sponsor of this organization. The Mayor of Pleasanton as well as the City Council and the Parks and Recreation Department should immediately end this co-sponsorship agreement which has allowed for facility lease rates to be significantly reduced. One of the reasons this organization has been able to monopolize the Delores Bengston Aquatic Center and limit other programming is because of the severely discounted fees they are awarded in their contract.
It is long overdue to end this agreement with this team, and allow the Community Aquatic Center to provide programs to better serve the ENTIRE community.

Posted by We will not be silenced by Steve Morsilli
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 6, 2020 at 11:42 am

The only reason current and former PLS swimmers and parents are posting positively here and defending Steve Morsilli is because their kids benefitted greatly by covering up the toxic environment on this team. Simply stated, if your goal was to swim in college (even if you didnt have the grades to get into a D1 college) then you must comply with Steve's rule of law. Even when verbal and emotional abuse was brought up to PLS Board members and Steve, they dismissed it and then proceeded to make sure you stayed silent or were kicked off the team. When a USA Swim official parent outlined multiple cases of abuse, their family was kicked off the team, and then Steve demanded that this official not officiate at any of the USA swim meets at the aquatic center or at Amador or Foothill high school meets. Several coaches on the team have been accused of inappropriate behavior with minor female children and coaches remain on deck while the swimmers are no longer on the team. If your swimmer was a "star" then your parent could get away with erratic behavior and biased officiating and Steve would protect you (Charlotte Rooney, USA Swimming official and mother of Maxime Rooney). Board members were made aware of multiple allegations of abuse, but did not report as required by a mandatory reporter. Steve will intimidate anyone that points out the toxic environment. If an athlete is brave enough to come forward, then we ought to applaud them for their courage. Let's all wait to hear what the court says about her accusations. Steve Morsilli did not do enough when his athlete told him what happened to her with Andy King. He omitted the facts that she told him when he sent the information to USA Swimming. She told him about the "kissing game" and he deleted that part in his report. All of the PLS parents knew exactly how Steve runs his coach-owned team (no longer has a Parent Board). The parents on his Board that did not report what parents reported to them should also be worried. They are part of the cover up too.

Posted by Swim Swam article
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 6, 2020 at 11:49 am

Web Link

Posted by Kissing Game
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 6, 2020 at 11:50 am

article from 2014...according to Katie Kelly, Steve Morsilli changed the story and left out the "kissing game" when retelling the story to USA Swimming.
Web Link

Posted by Tyrant Steve's Toxic Team
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jul 6, 2020 at 12:31 pm

The toxic environment still exists at PLS. How Steve Morsilli is allowed to be on a pool deck coaching athletes after Miranda's public post is shocking.
It is sickening that Steve Morsilli has filed a defamation suit against Miranda. We support Miranda and her family as do her witnesses. Any family that dared to speak out about Steve's verbal and emotional abuse, was kicked off the team. He owns the team and his parent board does whatever he wants them to do so that their kid will be one of Steve's favorites - in order to give them their best chance of getting into a top college for swimming - even if they don't have the academics. Steve also has a special Senior Team travel fund that he can use at his discretion. He pushes parents to send their swimmers on international travel meets (to boost their swim resume), while he benefits from travel rewards for his personal travel (hotel, cruises, plane flights) He hires and retains coaches that also verbally abuse athletes: Coach Brian Holm, who recently came back to PLS after coaching in Reno, Nevada. While Brian coached at another swim team in the Tri Valley, the parent board from that team paid for him to attend anger management training - he regularly verbally abused swimmers and was reported to throw things at them in the pool. It is shameful that these parents have denied that this kind of abuse has been going on for years. One of Steve's other coaches, Jon Pallesen, had his own violations of misconduct with young women and was fired from Amador Valley High School. Steve fired one of the best coaches in the country because he probably disagreed with the environment that Steve ruled over - Todd Tucker. Todd started his own team at Ruby Hill Aquatics and the many swimmers that followed him there are lucky

Steve would tell his swimmers to not take AP classes in high school because they were a waste of time. Swimmers would cheat and pay other students to write papers at Amador Valley HS. I am not surprised his former swimmers are defending Steve, because they knows that they will be exposed now too. Steve instilled fear in anyone that tried to speak out about the bullying and abuse on the team. If they spoke out, their swimming aspirations would be ruined.

How ironic that Steve was asked to be a witness in the Andy King lawsuit! How ironic that Pleasanton Seahawks are one of the only Bay Area teams that has been designated as a Safe Sport team by USA Swimming. The environment at the highest competitive level is anything but safe for youth athletes.

Posted by It is true and more
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2020 at 12:36 pm

The bullying by other swimmers and Steve is horrendous. "I can't do anything if I don't see it". If a child is doing well the others gang up and bully. Can't they and their parents be happy for that child? Maybe next time their kid will do well. Kids don't make this up. If a parent speaks up he would take it out on the kids and threaten the kids and put down parents to the child. He destroyed our child who is still in therapy from years of bullying and verbal abuse and destroyed our family who went over the top volunteering for the team. Imagine a coach turning a swimmer against their family.The favoritism towards some swimmers at the expense of others is well known as was the ignoring bad behavior by the favored swimmer's parents. If there are positive comments they are likely from parents that had kids who received special treatment or they were mediocre swimmers and Steve left them alone, because he had low expectations. Steve, it is time to throw in the towel and admit what you have done.

Posted by Lauren Andrade???
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2020 at 3:19 pm

Where did she go? FHS varsity swim coach, FHS teacher. “teaching credential revoked pending misconduct investigation”.

Posted by Horrible environment
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2020 at 4:22 pm

I swam for the team for a number of years and am still dealing with the effects of bullying from other swimmers in the senior/senior-elite groups. The psychological trauma caused by this bullying has led me to question taking my own life on many occasions. When mentioned to the coaches, they dismissed it, since I was not one of Steve's favorites. The people who are defending him here are the ones who were favored and given special privileges. I am angry reading these comments, but I'm glad that many people are coming forward and sharing their stories. Enough is enough, and the City of Pleasanton, Pacific Swimming, and USA Swimming need to address these issues. Steve Morsilli needs to go. These swimmers deserve better.

Posted by Please report to US Center for Safe Sport
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2020 at 4:49 pm

My heart is breaking for the person who commented last. We have to listen and believe in their struggles. We have to protect children and make sure a safe environment is available to every single athlete. * There is no timeline to report any issue that you have with Steve Morsilli or any other PLS coach who did not provide a safe environment for you or your child * USA Swimming has confirmed that jurisdiction in all issues regarding Steve Morsilli are with the US Center for Safe Sports. It does not matter if it is sexual abuse or emotional abuse. If you have a concern, please report ( it can be anonymous) because we all know his abuse of power is through fear sadly. Web Link Use this link to report: Web Link YOU are not alone.

Posted by You can report but....
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2020 at 4:53 pm

As a parent you can report sexual abuse but if the victim won’t speak, nothing will happen.

Posted by Tax Payer 1
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2020 at 9:13 pm

It is time for us as a community to reach out to the Mayor, City Council, and Parks and Recreation and apply some political pressure to return this facility back to the community.
I encourage all who support this position to call, write and contact the elected officials as well as the City of Pleasanton employees and insist that it is time remove this program. Goodness knows this program violates our “Community of Character” values.
We need leadership from our politicians to step up and do what is right.

Posted by Tax Payer 2
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jul 6, 2020 at 9:47 pm

Good luck with reaching out to the Mayor (Thorne) and Vice Mayor (Narum). They both had kids on the team and gave Steve whatever he wanted at the aquatic center- including monopoly of the facility and the super competitive rates his team is charged. Many of the Pleasanton Rec Dept employees that were notified of Steve's verbal and emotional abuse did nothing. In fact many of the staff (lifeguards) and supervisors witnessed it and reported bullying with no consequences to Steve or his coaches. A few years ago, Steve actually sent dozens of swimmers and parents to the planning commission meeting to ask the city to build the Seahawks another pool on the Bernal Avenue site.

Posted by My 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2020 at 11:41 pm

Steve M has been accused of sexual and physical abuse by a former PLS swimmer, but he is innocent until proven guilty. It is the accuser's word (on social media) only so far because all of her supporters have only made comments without providing real names or proof of any kind. Sexual abuse is a serious accusation and deserves to be properly investigated. If it is true what someone said above, that there is already a defamation lawsuit going on, we will learn the truth soon as there will be depositions, etc. USA swimming is also being sued, but the individual coaches are not, so again we need to wait and see what they find out during the trial. In this case, from what I have read, Steve M is not being accused of sexual abuse but of failing to report, and we have to wait and see the evidence. It is important for the police to get involved so they can investigate both sides.

Posted by My 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2020 at 10:12 am

The lawsuit from Allard does not include Steve M:

"The suits, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, named two former coaches from San Jose — Mitch Ivey, a one time U.S. Olympic and national team coach, and King. Also named in the suit are USA Swimming, its Southern and Northern California associations, and former U.S. national team director Everett Uchiyama, who like Ivey and King has been banned.""

Web Link

Posted by FYI
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2020 at 1:31 pm

A friend just told me that the swimmer who accused Steve M of sexual abuse on social media has retracted her sexual abuse accusations and did so through her attorney.

I have no way of verifying this, but that is what I was told

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2020 at 3:57 pm

@My 2 cents: someone needs to tell Steve Morsilli that the swimmer's post accusing him of sexual abuse is still on instagram.

If the swimmer has retracted her claims, perhaps a public statement should be made, and the instagram post updated or deleted?

I think Steve's reputation may be damaged as long as the post is still on social media and the swimmer fails to publicly retract her accusations

Posted by She did not post a retraction.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2020 at 5:36 pm

Sadly when accused, desperate measures are taken by the accused. Being reported to Instagram is not going to make this go away. There is not just one victim but many. Miranda is at the forefront and as this unfolds, you can see in the comments here, that she is not the only victim. Here is Miranda's original Instagram post before it was edited without her permission. This action taken against her post is only proof that Steve wants to cover this up. Here is Miranda's original post......

'For those who know me, you are more than aware of the impact swimming has on my life. It has shaped me into the woman I am today. Many of the successes I have achieved have molded me into not only a better athlete, but a better all around person. But with all of these positive things that I consistently reveal to the public about growing up in the sport of swimming, I feel like the struggles are often overlooked. I have not reached the place that I am at today without having walked through struggle and pain. Towards the end of my club swimming I faced obstacles that are sadly common, that I continuously struggled with daily. I faced various forms of abuse, physical, verbal, sexual, and emotional. But the most heavy weighing ones personally was the amount of verbal and emotional abuse I faced. "You used to be fast, you used to be worth something". I was told this on a daily basis. I like to think of myself as strong, however those words manipulated my thoughts. I had simply diminished my self worth to the time on a stopwatch. Of course it was not just this one sentence that stuck with me, but it was one of significance. Without that negative figure in my club swimming career who uttered those words, I would not have learned so early on who I am. Once I completed club swimming, I moved on to continue my dreams at the University of Texas in which I have found a family that I know loves me dearly. A family in which both the staff and athletes only wish success for one another. However, after being in a toxic situation for so many years, I couldn't shake the negative voices from my head. It has been quite the road to building up my mental strength in a sport where your mentality plays such an important role. I am over the moon with the progress I have made, but am still working just as hard at this as I do when I am training in the pool. Most importantly what I want people to get from my story, is not sympathy for me, but for me to be able to empathize with those that have faced struggles similar to my own. I am a part of this huge family called the swimming community and I want to help in more ways than one. Thank you to my family and swim family. I wouldn't be able to tackle this without you."

Posted by Attacking the victims is never ok.
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jul 7, 2020 at 5:44 pm

I'm so disappointed in people here , the blatant lying and viscous attacks of this accomplished hard working sweet young woman and her family ... all for what exactly ? Bringing this horrid situation to light ... she was never asked to leave, removed from the team or quit . She swam for the Seahawks right up until college. And she never retracted any statements or posts no matter what the asshole Steve M. and his little cronies have tried to claim. They are just trying to take down a sweetheart , a fierce competitor and a wonderful family all to try to save a monster from being exposed. Some of you people are truly disgusting. Where is your support for young women coming forward to hopefully prevent others from having to go through the same terrible scarring treatment?

How many more girls need to come forward with their truths before you take them serious ?

Do not help Steve M escape the justice he deserves.

Posted by Where there's smoke ..there's fire.
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jul 7, 2020 at 7:03 pm

Here is Miranda's story as told on a separate Instagram where she was asked to share her story. She has not posted any retractions ... period.
Here's the link
Web Link

"My story is one that needs to be told over a 2 hour long coffee shop chat. However, here is what I'uhve been through, what I've learned from it, how I overcame it, and how I used my story to my advantage. I swam competitively on a swim team for 8 years. Throughout that time the team culture rapidly degraded and became severely toxic. My last three years in high school however, were the years of my worst nightmare. During that time I was physically, verbally, sexually, and emotionally abused by both my head coach and my teammates. I was referred to as an "it" instead of by my name. I was told by my coach , you used to be worth something, you used to be fast. I was told I would never surmount to anything. I was told if I spoke out about the abuse that my coach would end my swim career. I was groped and I was scratched.

There are too many stories and too many deep memories I can recall. But the memories I choose to share aren't to receive sympathy from others, but for me to empathize with those that have been hurt in their sport as well. I have learned independence, authenticity, and perseverance through my struggles. I have discovered who I want to be like, and held my head up around those that I don't. Thanks to my past, I am able to be an advocate for those in toxic situations in athletics. I refuse to hide, I refuse to stay silent, I refuse to be a victim. My self worth isn’t based off of what anyone says about me, it isn’t based off the time on a clock in the pool, and it’s not based off my grades in a classroom. My worth is what I decide it to be - I have control over that: no one else. I am a thriver, not just a survivor of abuse. I’m improving my mindset both in and out of the water, and I plan to help others to do so as well. And with this mentality, I have been able to push forward and am proud to be a 5x State Champion and State Record Holder and swimmer on Team USA. This is how I have #madeHERstory."

-Miranda Heckman, State Champion Swimmer (@miranda_swims)

Posted by Been there
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 7, 2020 at 7:43 pm

Offering my complete support to Miranda. She deserves to be heard and this should certainly be investigated by the proper authorities do determine what exactly took place.
I am a former member of this team for 3 years. The first two years were with a terrific and caring Coach who led by example and was a very positive influence on me as well as our training group. My third year, I shifted in Steve Morsilli’s practice group and was immediately turned off by the level of animosity and bullying behavior by both Steve and the more established swimmers in this practice group. This behavior was not only tolerated, it was encouraged. After a single year in this group, I made the choice to leave this program. I am so thankful I did because this environment was absolutely disgraceful.
Toxic program is an understatement.

Posted by Former PLS Parent
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 8, 2020 at 1:19 pm

Miranda did two posts: one on her personal instagram and one on madeherstory instagram. The original post has been edited - not by Miranda. Someone is trying to cover up for Steve Morsilli. This is not surprising because that is the toxic culture that he runs at the Seahawks. Countless swimmers and parents tried to tell him about the bullying, verbal abuse and emotional abuse and the potential inappropriate language and contact with minors on social media and in the pool space. Steve Morsilli silenced anyone that brought this to his attention. Steve and his parent Board kicked off an USA Swimming official and her family from the team and banned her from officiating at meets at the aquatic center and at Amador Valley High School just because she complained about the abusive environment for the kids on PLS. Miranda's dad is also a USA Swimming official. He devoted countless hours as a volunteer (not paid) to ensure the safety and fairness of swim meets for all athletes in the Bay Area.

Posted by History of cover up by Steve M.
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2020 at 1:20 pm

This is why Allard attorney names 8 individuals still involved with USA Swimming and Steve is on the list in an open letter. This link explains his history of trying to delete information that is shared with him - Katie Kelly explains how she told him her experience with Coach Andy King and that when Steve relayed the story to USA Swimming he omitted the most important part "The Kissing Game". Web Link Here is the open letter to USA Swimming that explains why Steve Morsilli and 7 other individuals are named: Web Link open letter: Web Link "Steve Morselli
o Morselli is currently the head swim coach for a USA Swimming member club in
Pleasanton, CA.
o Morselli was notified of the sex abuse complaint concerning Andy King in 2003 and stayed silent when requested by Clint Benton despite also being under a legal obligation to report King to the police and/or Child Protective Services (“CPS”). Morselli admitted that he knew King was prone to making sexually inappropriate remarks to minor swimmers and yet did nothing about it." When parents or former employees tried to report bullying by his elite group swimmers, they were intimidated by legal action or threatening letters to not to take any further action. So it is not at all surprising that all of this is finally coming out to the public. It took Miranda's courage and the CA bill that was passed earlier this year to allow for lawsuits to be filed regarding sexual abuse victims. Assembly Bill 218, which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year and went into effect January 1, created a three-year window to file past claims that had expired under the statute of limitations. The bill, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), also extends the statute of limitations for reporting childhood sexual abuse from the time a victim is age 26 to 40. The period for delayed reasonable discovery is also increased from three to five years. Steve Morsilli and his Board members that stayed silent in order to make sure their kids had preferential treatment from Steve should be extremely worried this year. Kennan Rooney (Livermore resident) is still a paid Boosters President (coach owned team with no volunteer parent board) and has been covering up complaints and concerns for years by following Steve's orders. Pleasanton should not allow Steve Morsilli to coach a team or have a team in your town!

Posted by $$look at Steve's financials$$
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 8, 2020 at 1:34 pm

take a look at the financials (including 990's) for Pleasanton Seahawks:
Web Link">Web Link
Pleasanton city council and Pleasanton families, are you sure you want Steve Morsilli to monopolize your community's aquatic center while making this much money and you're paying the property taxes for this? He lives here in San Ramon! Why are you allowing him to coach kids on your pool deck??
Web Link">Web Link

Posted by Question
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Removed pending verification

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 8, 2020 at 5:04 pm

Miranda Heckman is a straight liar. Her family is the one feeding her this false information about how she was treated on her team. (portion removed)

Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2020 at 5:49 pm

The people criticizing Miranda and defending Steve are disgusting. If you’ve been involved in the team in any way or even witnessed the environment, you’ll know that Steve Morsilli encourages an absolutely toxic and negative environment. Another local team, Orinda Aquatics, has a “Character First” motto. Sadly, Steve (and frankly many of the other high level coaches on this team) does not about give an ounce about character. It’s all about who can swim faster and make Steve look good. Disgusting. Do not let your child join this team.

Posted by B
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2020 at 2:24 pm

I swam at the highest level on the Seahawks. Has anyone else here in the comments ever have to call Child Protective Services? That’s what you do when you hear that a female swimmer on a team you swam on [removed pending verification].

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