Michelle Collier 
Member since Sep 9, 2011


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Recent Comments

Re: “Oakland Swim Coach Hit with Allegations of Misconduct

OS Swimmer, I can tell that you are young and full of heart. The problem is, Ben is not. There are certain things you should not have to tell an adult to do, approaching his young charges for sex is one of them. I do realize that he did not approach the majority of the girls until their 18 birthday. Do you really think it is okay for someone to check you out as a potential sexual partner while you were 10, 11, 12 but wait until you were of legal age before he approached you? You see, some of the girls I do know about were that young when they started swimming for Ben. Flirting? That's a rite of passage for you girls, you are entitled to flirt, have crushes, think he's all that. What an adult is suppose to do is acknowledge that you are young and flirtatious and not make note of your birthday to hit you up when you turn "legal". I hope you remember your comments and put the to use on someone your own age, and give them a second chance to correct a mistake and not brand them because they are full of hormones. In this case, he deserves more than he got. He used his position to prey on young girls and he doesn't deserve the respect you are giving him. In some cases, he took full advantage over young girls that acted on his proposal because of that crush they had and thought he really cared for them all those years. Please do use it on someone who does merit your support. I hope you have shared this with your parents so they can offer you as adult perspective on adults who approach young girls for sex. And please understand, he did more than just flirt. You sound very young ans sweet, don't lose that one someone trying to take advantage of you.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Michelle Collier on 11/01/2011 at 5:21 PM

Re: “Oakland Swim Coach Hit with Allegations of Misconduct

Jack B
I am not anonymous, my name is clearly noted and if you read back, I originally noted your same point, proof before we judge. I will tell you that I have since had to apologize for those who did come forward that I was wrong. I don't think there needs to be hundreds coming out, one is too much for someone in his position however, in this forum alone, there is more than one. I can promise you that whether they come out here or to a friend, there are more, and I hate knowing that. I had always had the utmost respect for Ben as a coach and what he was trying to accomplish with kids. I sat at that pool for years, calling myself the eyes and ears of the kids. To find out later that he abused the right of passage for young girls to be infatuated with a person that they respected, I can only apologize again and be furious that my watching and comments only gave support to others (perhaps even you) in reading my them, that nothing was going on. There was.

Ladies, I believe you and many others (unfortunately) share in your pain, your anger and your right to privacy. All I ask is to make sure that if you ever see or hear of Ben in any position of being able to work with kids again, you do find the strength to come forward. Remember, you did nothing wrong and he had no right!

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Michelle Collier on 09/16/2011 at 3:07 PM

Re: “Oakland Swim Coach Hit with Allegations of Misconduct

I know this site is going around to almost everyone who has swam on any team in Oakland.

Please, lets stop this from happening to anyone else. None of you have done anything wrong, Ben has. You must speak up, whether you do it anonymously by simply posting that it has happened to you or by contacting USA Swimming, or talking to a parent. They only have four complaints and I know from kids talking to other swimmers since this has come out, there are more of you. You have to find the strength and give yourself the power to not let Ben get away in taking something as precious as your self confidence, and your self esteem away from you. The fact that some have blamed themselves for his unacceptable behavior is even more upsetting. I know some of you were 18 but that is still unacceptable and I know some of you handle the situation yourself but keep on mind, he was watching you, and others before you were 18. If he is allowed to continue, he will feel he cannot be touched and god forbid, he will go after younger kids.

Empower yourself and please talk to someone! Your are stronger than you think, you are a survivor!

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Michelle Collier on 09/12/2011 at 9:05 PM

Re: “Oakland Swim Coach Hit with Allegations of Misconduct

Please don't miss under, I watched to make sure I did not see a response from Ben or any of the coaches. It is completely understandable for young girls to be girls. It is not appropriate for anyone not there age to respond to their natural flirtation! I stayed because even though my daughter was much younger, the coaches were also young, not that much older than some of the older girls, but way too much older for any type of positive response to them. It is very upsetting to me because I would have responded to anyone asking that he does not behave in any inappropriate manner to the kids! How do you protect kids from someone making "mental" notes about his young charges? My other concern was that all of the kids, and my own, were getting coached the same and not being overlooked or ignored because they were not the typical swimmer (minorities) and were being given the same coaching attention as those from Claremont. Honestly, this was something different in what I grew up (young men would never be left in charge of young girls) with but wanted my daughter (who loved swimming) to have the opportunity to work with a good swim coach, something that was non-existent where I grew up. It's hard not to bring race into it. Was a white coach allowed to take advantage of minorities because we wanted better for our children?

Posted by Michelle Collier on 09/11/2011 at 1:21 PM

Re: “Oakland Swim Coach Hit with Allegations of Misconduct

I .. am .. in .. total .. shock! My daughter was in one of the first group of swimmers under Ben with Oakland Undercurrent. I also did not always see eye to eye with Ben however, he was one of the best technique coaches I had ever seen working with kids. For six years I watched him, two hours a day, 5 days a week work with swimmers. While I did observe many teenage girls flirt with him, he was always all business. I could never figure out how he could get swim techniques across to kids and never touch them, seriously, I never seen him touch or get close to not one kid. I never seen any inappropriate looks, gestures, stares, nothing even when he didn't think anyone was watching, and I did watch because of the obvious infatuation of some girls. I hope serious effort was placed on investigating this and that there is positive proof of these allegations. Like I said, I have had some issues with Ben however, this has never never never been one of them. I am shocked.
a swim parent

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michelle Collier on 09/09/2011 at 5:39 PM

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