Former Swimming Coach Defends Self After Controversial Video Goes Viral

A former West Fargo swimming coach has publicly defended himself following accusations that he was improperly using social media when a video of his went viral. West Fargo coach Ronald Hehn posted a controversial video online of one high school swimmer in a pool with a 55 pound weighted belt around his waist, prompting some outrage and accusations that he was putting the minor in question in an unsafe scenario.

Hehn is the coach for the high school women’s team in West Fargo, but it was a male teenager on the boy’s team who was the star of his video, which he posted on a private Facebook page before it leaked and went viral. After the digital masses first saw the video, wherein a minor puts on a weight belt with substantially more weight than normal before struggling through a swimming pool.

Former West Fargo swimming coach Ronald Hehn.
Ronald Hehn

According to USA Today, Hehn was fired after the video went viral and local administrators called him in to discuss his improper behavior. Administrators alleged he was improperly using social media, and hadn’t been following standard training protocols when he allowed the boy in question to attach such hefty weights onto him before entering the water.

Hehn has since made a statement to the public regarding his firing on his email coaching site, where he came out swinging against the administrators in question and asserted he’s committed no wrongdoing. Releasing a statement to Valley News Live, Hehn noted that the training style in question was backed up by other successful professionals in the field.

“The facts are that this training style was presented at the 2014 North Dakota Coaches Clinic by Sam Freas, head coach at Oklahoma Baptist University,” Hehn told Valley News.

As part of his firing, Hehn won’t be permitted to have contact with student athletes in any future official capacity. Administrators who alleged his inappropriate coaching practices were dangerous noted that student swimmers were being asked to sink to great depths with the weights attached, and that the potential for disaster was clear to see.

Hehn partially defended himself by noting that the athlete in question wasn’t on his team, and that he hadn’t forced the boy to wear the weights. Rather, the student athlete in the infamous video chose on his own to wear the weights to test his skills and show his prowess off to coaches and his fellow swimmers, Hehn asserts.