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Former U of U swimmer says she reported coach’s abuse in 2008, nothing was done

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Posted at 4:30 PM, Mar 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-10 18:40:30-04

By Caroline Connolly

SALT LAKE CITY --Four years before the University of Utah severed ties with swim coach Greg Winslow, a freshman swimmer on his team said she came forward with accusations of abuse.

“There’s not one thing that I can say the University did after that,” said Lauren Hewson, who spoke to Fox 13 via Skype from her home in Colorado.

During what would be her first and only season on Winslow’s team, Hewson and her mother lodged a complaint with the school’s athletic department, stating Winslow had verbally and physically abused his swimmers.

“They had all of our documents,” she said. “They said, `Ok, we’re going to look into it, we’re going to do something about it.’ But then there was like nothing done.”

Throughout her 2008-2009 season with the team, Hewson documented a number of incidents involving Winslow, which she says were given to the school. Fox 13 was able to review the information, which includes one instance where Hewson claims Winslow made the team swim underwater with mesh bags over their heads as part of training.

The former Ute swimmer said, “If I couldn't make it, I would get kicked out of practice.”

Hewson also told Fox 13 she was present when a close teammate was on several late night phone calls with Winslow, which she felt were inappropriate. Hewson said that teammate is the same woman who has accused Winslow of sexually abusing her when she was 15, when he served as a coach at an Arizona swim club.

“It turned into, towards the spring of our freshman year, calling her and complaining about his marriage,” Hewson said.

However, according to her, none of the complaints led to action by the university, and instead, Winslow called her into his office to give his own response.

“He leaned across the chair, or across the desk, and pointed at me and told me, 'You’re full of sh**,’over and over and over,” Hewson said.

A couple of months after the exchange, Hewson’s mother sent a letter and email to athletic director, Dr. Chris Hill, reiterating her concerns, but Hewson said both went unanswered.
Fox 13 tried to reach Winslow at his home, but he had no comment.

In a statement, university spokesman, Keith Sterling, said: “Though we cannot comment on the specific allegations at this time, the University does not tolerate misconduct or inappropriate behavior by any member of our community.  Greg Winslow was suspended and his contract will not be renewed. He will have no further contact with our student-athletes.  The University is investigating the reported incidents and our previous responses to them.”

For Hewson, though, the school’s investigation comes years late.

“It makes me sick to think that just to save face and to not go into, or to not create a bigger mess, the university didn't do anything about it,” she said.

Hewson transferred to the University of Wyoming after her freshman year, where she finished out her college swimming career.