Swim star Schlanger and coach leave UH
The University of Hawaii women's swimming team's top performer left the team Thursday, along with an assistant coach.
Sophomore Melanie Schlanger, the WAC's co-Freshman of the Year last season and defending champion in the 100 freestyle, returned to Australia and will try to make her country's national team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
Assistant coach Chris Mooney also left for Australia, and will coach Schlanger, head coach Victor Wales said. He does not expect either will return to UH.
Schlanger and Mooney were not available for comment. But a letter last week from Schlanger's father to interim UH president David McClain and three other university executives not in the athletic department indicated the parting is not on good terms.
Paul Schlanger wrote that his daughter received "unfair and unjust treatment" from Wales.
At her last meet in Austin, Texas, two weeks ago (UH's last before breaking for the holidays), Schlanger broke her own school record with an NCAA automatic qualifying mark in the 100 freestyle with a time of 47.94 seconds. She also tied for first in the 50 free (22.37) and was second in the 200 free (1:45.76), all NCAA automatic qualifying times.
Paul Schlanger wrote that Wales "advised Melanie that she was not welcome and was no longer part of the swim team" after that meet.
Wales said Melanie Schlanger "had asked for a transfer and contacted 10 schools. I said if you're not going to be a part of this program next semester, don't work out with the team."
He said he allowed Schlanger to work out under Mooney's coaching, apart from the rest of the team.
"She had 100 percent access to the facilities and trained with Coach Mooney," Wales said.
Wales said Mooney's departure was expected.
Wales replaced former head coach Mike Anderson, who was dismissed from the job with no explanation when his contract expired last summer. Mooney, who was an assistant under Anderson, applied for the vacant spot, but did not get it. He was retained as an assistant, and Wales said he was welcome to continue but chose to leave.
"Chris took a job in Australia when he was not hired as head coach," Wales said. "It was team knowledge this was going to happen."
Schlanger's leaving isn't much more of a surprise, either. She was unhappy with Anderson's firing.
"It became apparent very quickly that Victor Wales did not have the competence Melanie required to continue her tough swimming program," Paul Schlanger wrote.
Schlanger's letter was responded to by one from Wales' supervisor, associate athletic director Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano.
Wales said he knew there would be some rough patches taking over a program from a coach who had recruited most of the team and did not leave by his own choice.
"A lot of people felt one way or another," he said.
The team's schedule resumes Jan. 6 with a home meet against Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.