On Friday afternoon shortly before half past two, the German Swimming Association sent a press release that consisted of only one sentence: The national coach open water swimming in the DSV, Stefan Lurz, had declared “to the incumbent DSV board” the “immediate resignation from his office “It said, without any further background.
The person concerned was” in accordance with our guidelines for action in suspected cases with immediate effect Effect on leave without hereby carrying out a preliminary conviction “.
The 43-year-old is not just anyone in swimming: at the successful Würzburg location, he has looked after numerous medal winners for 15 years, not least he was behind the successes of his brother Thomas Lurz, winner of twelve World Cup gold medals – now president of the local swimming club . On a fee basis, Stefan Lurz was also the national trainer for open water swimmers, as such he was also responsible for the 10-kilometer world champion of 2019, Florian Wellbrock, and his girlfriend Sarah Köhler, who train in Magdeburg on a daily basis.
Of the Spiegel now states that he could document several “cases in which the national coach harassed or even sexually coerced protégés”. For example, a former swimmer submitted SMS messages from Lurz to the magazine, which – assuming their authenticity – would clearly prove that the boundaries were exceeded.
The athlete is said to have been 16 years old at the relevant period.
The magazine also rolled out well-known allegations from 2010. Even then, an athlete supervised by Lurz reported the trainer: He had raped her in the training camp. In the course of the interrogations, the athlete came under pressure, she withdrew the accusation, and the proceedings were discontinued; Stefan Lurz was considered rehabilitated in the DSV. in the Spiegel said the mother of a teammate at the time that she lied to protect Lurz.
Stefan Lurz has not responded to several written and telephone inquiries from SZ about the allegations since Friday, including the question of whether the documented SMS traffic actually came from him. in the Spiegel Lurz had denied the allegations, and Lurz had always denied all allegations in the past.
The re was a criminal complaint in 2019, but the investigation was quickly closed. As in 2010.
The question is, however: could the swimming association have acted earlier and more specifically? A note is documented that reached the DSV in March 2019. A swimmer had turned to Thomas Kurschilgen with allegations against Lurz, the director of competitive sport, who in turn had – as the guidelines dictate – called in the “Commissioner for the Prevention of Sexual Violence”, Kai Morgenroth. A number of measures were taken:
The umbrella organization DOSB and other associations and clubs were informed, Lurz was temporarily released and asked to comment, and a criminal complaint was also initiated. However, the investigations were stopped a few weeks later because the investigators had no initial suspicion of a criminal act. Responsible bodies in the DOSB and DSV continued to check – and soon afterwards Lurz was back at the pool edge, including at the 2019 World Cup in South Korea.
The dependency relationship between coach and athlete is considered particularly sensitive. At the same time, it is often difficult to substantiate allegations. This time too there is a testimony against testimony. Apart from the former athlete who signed up in 2019, the DSV is not aware of any names of alleged victims. For the time being, President Marco Troll only stayed that Spiegel to ask those affected “to encourage them to contact us or the responsible public prosecutor immediately”. That would actually be the prerequisite for clearing up the new allegations.
The resignation of Stefan Lurz on Friday was received with relief by the DSV.