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.’
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.