Ariana Kukors, an Auburn native and former national and international swimming star, has told law enforcement officials that a former USA Swimming National coach sexually assaulted her when she was 16 in 2005 after grooming her for three years and continued to have sexual contact with her from 18 years of age until she was 24, according to a story in the Orange County Register.
Kukors told law enforcement that she swam for the coach at King Aquatic Club in Federal Way.
According to Swim Swam, the man coached Kukors when she made the U.S. National Team as a teen – first the Pan Pacific Championships in 2006 and Worlds in 2007. From 2009 to late 2010, the man coached a group of swimmers that included Kukors at a pro training hub in Fullerton, Calif.
The Auburn Reporter is not naming the coach because no criminal charges have yet been filed.
Kukors is a 2007 Auburn Mountainview High School graduate, a former Pac-10 champion at the University of Washington, a 2012 Olympian and a former world record-holder.
“I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough. I was able to leave a horrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself. But in time, I’ve realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten,” Kukors, 28, told the Register. “Not for the sake of you knowing my story, but for the little girls and boys whose lives and future hangs in the grasp of a horribly powerful and manipulative person. That they may not have to go through the same pain, trauma, horror, and abuse. That their parents, mentors, and guardians are better able to spot the signs of grooming and realize it’s tragic consequences before it’s too late.”
On Jan. 23 2018 the Des Moines Police Department received a report from the Seattle Police Department in reference to a victim alleging sex crimes that were determined to have occurred in part, at the Mt. Rainier Pool in the City of Des Moines. After reviewing the information provided, Des Moines Police Detectives contacted the King County Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor’s Office then notified Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) because of potential crimes occurring outside Washington State. Detectives from DMPD and HSI immediately opened a joint investigation exploring the allegations and other specifics of the case.
The Register reported that the Department of Homeland Security – with help from Des Moines Police – conducted a search warrant on the coach’s apartment, where authorities confiscated computers and cellphones, according to a person close to the investigation
A press release from Kukors’ attorney, Bob Allard, said Kukors worked with federal officials and local police to investigate the coach. At this time, detectives are working to determine what crimes fall within the statute of limitations, where else crimes may have occurred, and whether other potential victims or witnesses exist
Kukors narrowly missed making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, but qualified four years later to compete in the London Summer Games. Kukors finished fifth in the 200 IM final at London in 2014. In 2009, Kukors set a world record in the 200-yard individual medley at the World Championships in Rome, posting a blistering 2 minute, 6.15 second finish. She held the record until 2015.
Kukor earned two golds, three silvers and two bronze medals at several World and Pan Pacific championship meets.
In a 2008 interview with the Auburn Reporter, Kukors said she was disappointed to have missed the 2008 Games but was keeping a positive outlook.
“I think the most important thing I learned from 2008 is that I need to enjoy this experience, rather than thinking of the enormous goal of the Olympics at the end of road,” she said. “I just need to think of every day as a little victory and do everything I can in that day and then move forward the next day. I’ve just really grown up, as a swimmer and as a person. I’m more relaxed. There are no drastic things I need to do between now and then. I’ve put in the work, and I know what I have to do.”
Des Moines police said in a press release Feb. 7. that before the Seattle Police Department forwarded its report, the Des Moines Police Department “had not, at any time, been made aware of any illegal activity between the Kukors and the coach.”
“We’re also not aware of any other victims at this time,” Des Moines Police said in the release. “As the investigation continues, the Des Moines Police Department and HSI special agents are committed to keeping the community safe and informed. We’re asking that anyone with relevant information, questions or concerns contact HSI Seattle at (206) 442-1469 or email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.”