St. Peters Western Issues Formal Response To Bullying Allegations

The St. Peters Lutheran College in Indooroopilly, Queensland, Australia-based club St. Peters Western has formally responded to media reports that bullying and ‘fat-shaming’ of its swimmers take place with the organization.

As we reported yesterday,The Sunday Telegraph ($) reported that it had received anonymous letters alleging bullying and fat-shaming within the SPW coaching ranks.

The claims within the anonymous letters sent to Swimming Australia and The Sunday Telegraph have reportedly been supported by other parents, with one parent stating, “In the time I have been here, I am aware of at least 3 girl swimmers who left due to aspects of bullying and demands for results.”

The report also pointed to a parent of an un-named former Australian champion who quit the club who stated, “The girls, some just 14 and 15 years of age, had to weigh in on scales in front of everybody and if you had put weight on you were called fat.”

You can read more details of the allegations within the article appearing here ($).

When SwimSwam reached out for comment, St. Peters Western sent us the same response that was published within the Telegraph article above, verbatim.

However, the club has since posted on Facebook, saying that ‘the welfare of our athlete is the #1 priority of the club.’

The official statement also reads, ‘At SPW we do not tolerate the bullying of anyone. Speaking with other committee members, there has not been a single reported incident of bullying within the swimming program.’

It continues, ‘At SPLC (St. Peters Lutheran College) and SPW we do not tolerate fat-shaming of anyone by anyone. Being a high performance club, our Coaches will, at times, discuss fitness and body mass to our high-performance swimmers during training as part of their overall preparation major meets throughout the year, but this is always undertaken with sensitivity to ensure athletes understand this is part of the necessary development to achieve the best result for the swimmer.’

The tatement further says, ‘our club does not conduct public weighings ever.’

Our formal response to the media reports:- The welfare of our athletes is the #1 priority of the club.- If parents or…

Posted by St Peters Western Swim Club on Saturday, August 3, 2019

Based out of St. Peters Lutheran College in Indooroopilly, Queensland, Australia, St. Peters Western had been led by storied coach Michael Bohl before the 14-year Head Coach moved on to take over Griffith University’s new high-performance center.

Dean Boxall moved into the Head Coach role after Bohl’s departure in 2017, and the man who led Ariarne Titmus to a 400m free World Championships title is assisted by John Gatfield, Maxine Seearand Head Junior Coach Stewart Melton. 

In addition to Titmus, Mitch Larkin, Clyde Lewis and Jack Cartwright are among the elites who call the club home, as does Shayna Jack, the swimmer who is currently fighting a positive anti-doping test.

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1 year ago

Doping, bullying and a coach leaving…. quite a place

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Hmm....
1 year ago

bohl relocating likely isn’t because of the alleged behaviour, if anything bohl leaving allowed it to happen

Reply to  Hmm....
1 year ago

Bohly was always leaving. That’s unrelated to the other things.

1 year ago

don’t you just love “anonymous” allegations to ruin reputations…

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  Verram
1 year ago

Pretty sure that’s how the takedown of US Gymnastics began, so there’s that.

13 % Chinese person
Reply to  Ol’ Longhorn
1 year ago

As the car went further into the Texan woods , past the prison , sucking the last of their forbidden candy bars , each elite hopeful awaited their fate . At the end of a long road , there it was , Camp Gymnastikken As they passed under the sign , Geldenmedallen Macht Frei , they steeled their sphincters.

Reply to  Verram
1 year ago

It’s pretty understandable why parents would not want to risk further humiliation to their children by initially identifying themselves. Eventually there will be safety in numbers. Plus they are dealing with a swim coach in Boxall who seems to like to discuss “weapons” and “axes.” Probably best to be careful with him, given his apparent militaristic leanings.

1 year ago

Curious to hear what the SPW officials have to say about supplement use by team members, “purging” instruction given to younger swimmers by older swimmers, the “Hell Month” run by Dean Boxall, and about Boxall’s continuous use of military metaphors (much captured on his own videos), telling his swimmers to pick up their weapons and swing their axes. And the fact that Ariarne Titmus has stated that Boxall says things that aren’t appropriate to repeat publicly. And the allegation that Boxall compared a swimmer to a “cow.” The weighing of the athletes seems to be just the tip of the iceberg.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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