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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Olympic swim team investigation

The Aussie Olympic swim team is in the news again.  Swimming Australia will meet today to discuss the team's worst Olympic performance in 30 years.  It's suggested they were suffering from low morale caused by events that occurred at their training camp in Manchester before the games began.

Brenton Rickard, Olympic medalist and president of the Australian Swimmers Association said he had personally spoken to 90 per cent of the 44 member London team and was "alarmed and disheartened by the feedback."

Today the board will hear that bullying, favouritism and disturbing behaviour damaged the team's morale so badly, it affected their overall disappointing performance.

It's alleged that senior members of the 4 x 100m freestyle relay team carried out a bonding "initiation ritual" that involved pranks and taking the banned sleeping pill Stilnox.  And when a younger member of the team was bullied so badly, some of the swimmers were pleased that the men's 4 x 100m relay team failed to win a medal.

Favouritism was rife, according to some.  When punishment was meted out for bad behaviour, many were punished but the elite swimmers were not.

An anonymous international swimmer said that the team spirit has been in decline since 2009, the result of poor leadership from the Swimming Australia board and head coach Leigh Nugent.

Leigh Nugent