We reported earlier this month that 2016 Olympic silver medalist Maddie Groves of Australia withdrew from her nation’s Tokyo Trials, citing her decision as being a lesson to ‘misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers’.
With no other details being made public at the time, Swimming Australia President Kieran Perkins said, “She [Groves] has at no point contacted Swimming Australia, we haven’t been able to talk to her directly and go through her concerns with her to find out what’s going on,” he said.
“I could certainly reassure her and everybody that claims like these are of the utmost importance to us and providing a safe environment for all of our participants is absolutely paramount to us.”
“We will continue to communicate the progress of this panel to our community and stakeholders.”
Flash forward to today and Swimming Australia (SA) has released an additional statement regarding the matter.
“We acknowledge some members of the swimming community have experienced unacceptable behaviour, some of this dates back decades,” SA said in a statement on Saturday, June 26th.
According to ESPN, at least six former elite swimmers will reportedly soon detail their experiences of abuse in the sport, experiences regarding which SA said it was, as yet, unaware of their nature.
“Swimming Australia is deeply concerned and understands the gravity of such claims … we will always investigate any complaint with rigour. The most important thing we are working on right now is ensuring Australia has a safe swimming community, ” said the organization.
Additionally, ESPN reports that SA has appealed to any concerned swimmers to come forward and will create an independent all-female panel to investigate any incidents of abuse.
“In the coming days, we’re due to announce the chair of the independent, female-led panel,” SA said.
“We have proactively spoken to a number of parents and swimmers across various levels of swimming and invited them to make submissions to this new panel.