NEW BRUNSWICK — The coach of the Rutgers University women's swimming and diving team left the team after reports she verbally abused its members.

Petra Martin, head coach since 2015, was relieved of duty after reported she had "shamed athletes over their weight, used abusive language during training sessions and demanded they stop using medication prescribed by their doctors for anxiety and other issues."

Rutgers Athletics Director Patrick Hobbs told it was in the "best interests of the program for Petra to step away." According to the team website, diving coach Fredrick Woodruff has been named the team's interim head coach.

Petra Martin
Petra Martin (Rutgers Athletics)

In a statement to, Rutgers president Dr. Robert Barchi said there were "concerns" about the program discussed this week in a lengthy meeting with the team.

Rutgers has not yet responded to a message seeking comment.

Parent Michael Perrotti told that Martin used "Mike Rice tactics" on the team to verbally abuse members, which turned his daughter off to swimming. He accused Rutgers of ignoring calls made to a hotline established after the Rice situation

Rice is the former men's basketball coach caught on video in 2012 using what he later called "in your face" coaching methods, leading to his firing and a major shakeup of the school's athletic program.

A video that aired on ESPN showed Rice using racial and sexual slurs against his players and hurling basketballs at players.

The swim team is scheduled to host the annual Frank Elm Invitational Friday through Sunday at the Rutgers Aquatics Center.

According to Martin's bio, she came to Rutgers after five years at Bowling Green State University, and was a former member of the Czech National Team.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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