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Curl-Burke Swim Club Founder Banned by USA Swimming

The swim clubs are changing their name following USA Swimming's decision, which are related to a reported inappropriate sexual relationship between Curl and a teenage girl in the 1980s.

Curl-Burke Swim Club Founder Banned by USA Swimming

Following allegations of an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl in the 1980s, Rick Curl, a prominent swimming coach and founder of the Curl-Burke Swim Club, has been banned for life by USA Swimming.

In addition, the swim club has a new name and new ownership—the Nation’s Capital Swim Club is now under the ownership of Thomas Ugast, according to a press release. There are Nation’s Capital Swim Clubs in Burke, Falls Church, Tysons Corner, Manassas, Manassas Park and Warrenton. There are also practice facilities in the Greater Alexandria area.

Earlier this summer, Curl, took a leave of absence from his position in the wake of the allegations he had a sexual relationship with a teen swimmer in the 1980s, the swim club announced. 

"In response to the article that appeared in the Washington Post in late July, Rick Curl has decided to take a leave of absence effective immediately," according to a  statement on the club's website posted in July.

"We strive to create an atmosphere that is safe and nurturing to all of our swimmers," the statement continued. "This article is painful for our club."

Curl-Burke trains thousands of swimmers in Maryland/DC/Virginia. The club has 10 training locations in Northern Virginia. Summer Olympics star Katie Ladecky is a Curl-Burke swimmer.

The relationship reportedly began at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda in 1983, when swimmer Kelley Currin was 13 and Curl was 33. Currin is now in her 40s and wanted to tell her story of the four-year relationship after signing a non-disclosure statement many years ago, according to an article in The Washington Post earlier this summer. Curl and Currin’s family reached an agreement in 1989 under which the family would not pursue the case publicly, The Post reported.

Noah Rucker, a coach also formerly associated with the club, was also suspended by USA Swimming last month after being accused of having sexual contact with one of his swimmers while she was a minor when he served as head coach at Madison High School a decade ago.

After a judge found probable cause last month to move forward three felony counts of indecent liberties with a child while in a custodial or supervisory relationship, Rucker was indicted by a grand jury in Fairfax County this week, according to SwimSwam.com.

A date for his trial has not been set.

Patch Editor Erin Donaghue contributed to this report.    

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