Women on the Niagara University swim team had a strategy for walking out to the pool: stay together, wear headphones, don’t take off your towel until the last possible moment.
They had to be vigilant, said Nastassja Posso, a member of the women’s team. Because the men’s team would already be lined up on the pool deck. And you never knew what they were going to say.
“They’d call us ‘princess thigh gap,’ ‘whale,’ ‘water buffalo’ … They would start pointing and laughing, making moaning noises, orgasm noises,” said Posso. “And our coach is just acting like he doesn’t hear it.”
Three members of the Niagara University (NU) women’s swim team — Posso, Jaime Rolf, and an unnamed Jane Doe — filed a federal lawsuit against their school in late September, claiming that the university knew about the sexual harassment taking place on the swim team, but did nothing about it. They allege that their coach, Ben Nigro, who has been coaching NU’s swim team for 14 years, witnessed the majority of the harassment. When the female swimmers reported the verbal abuse, Posso said, Nigro would tell them to “grow thicker skin.” He’d say, “boys will be boys,” according to the complaint.
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