Swimming Australia Responds To Maddie Groves ‘Misogynistic Perverts’ Post

2021 SWIMMING AUSTRALIA OLYMPIC TRIALS

With just days until the start of the Swimming Australia Olympic Trials, we reported how Rio silver medalist Maddie Groves had announced her withdrawal from the event. The 26-year-old had originally entered the Trials in the women’s 100m fly and 50m free, so repeating or improving upon her 200m fly silver from Rio wasn’t on the table to begin with.

“I’ve made the decision to not compete at Olympic Trials in Adelaide. I’m so grateful to feel so supported in this decision. I feel very relieved and I’m looking forward to racing at some other competitions later in the year (yeah sorry/not sorry, you haven’t got rid of me just yet!),” is what Groves originally posted on social media.

With heat sheets now posted, Groves represents the only scratch from day 1’s prelims, with her name still appearing on the heat sheets but she’s made it clear she won’t be there.

Subsequent posts from Groves pointed to a possible controversy within Swimming Australia. “Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers – You can no longer exploit young women and girls, body shame or medically gaslight them and then expect them to represent you so you can earn your annual bonus. Time’s up”, is what Groves posted on her personal Instagram account yesterday, June 10th.

Today, June 11th, Groves posted an additional opinion as follows, “Thank you so much to everyone for all the support! I’ve really been overwhelmed by messages and I just want to thank people so much for taking the time to show they care. I wish I could say I was surprised by the sheer Appalachian Trail of stories I’ve received from people explaining why they understand my decision.”

Her post continued, “It would be a mistake for anyone to reduce my decision to a singular incident. My decision is partly because there is a pandemic on, but mostly it is the culmination of years of witnessing and benefitting from a culture that relies on people ignoring bad behavior to thrive. I need a break. If starting this conversation will save even just one young girl from something like being told to lose weight or diet not going to the Olympics will have been worth it.”

 

With no other details being made public, Swimming Australia President Kieran Perkins responded by saying, “I don’t know who she’s talking about or what the complaint is apparently meant to be.

“I actually have no evidence of that and that’s really quite concerning. In terms of the culture of our sport, that is something that really does stab at the heart of everybody involved in swimming.

“We are a sport that has generationally been diverse. Every team has always had an even number of male and female swimmers and we work extremely hard to provide an open and safe environment for everybody.

“It doesn’t mean we always get it right. There have certainly been challenges over the years. I would disagree strongly with that view.” (Yahoo)

Perkins continued,”She 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.

“Unfortunately though social media posts don’t constitute any actionable claim for us. We actually need to sit down and talk to people about this.

“We would love to do that and we’d like Maddie to come and speak with us if she feels that she can.” (Yahoo)

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Coach D. Ling
10 days ago

“Unfortunately though social media posts don’t constitute any actionable claim for us. We actually need to sit down and talk to people about this.” — perhaps they should consider re-thinking this policy. This situation clearly should count as an actionable claim regardless of how it was made.

Patrick
Reply to  Coach D. Ling
10 days ago

But how can it be actionable with no specifics about who did what?

IU Swammer
Reply to  Coach D. Ling
10 days ago

I don’t think she means a social media post is never actionable, but that this post in particular doesn’t give them enough to be able to take any action.

Huh
Reply to  Coach D. Ling
9 days ago

“Sitting down and talking to people” is actually the best action for this. What else are you supposed to do with a super vague social media posts? How can you bring about change if you don’t even know what is happening?

GOMMFL
Reply to  Coach D. Ling
9 days ago

Once again, for people in the back: allegations on the internets are not actionable claims and should not be treated as such.

BearlyBreathing
10 days ago

Hot take: she realized she wasn’t ready to compete at Trials and made up an excuse not to compete.

Hswimmer
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
10 days ago

Tbh…

SCCOACH
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
9 days ago

Yeah I think that take is pretty hot take considering there are a lot of pervert coaches out there and to just assume that the athlete is using this as an excuse is pretty out of line.

SCCOACH
Reply to  SCCOACH
9 days ago

And the fact that I’m getting downvoted shows a lot about the type of people that comment on this site and exist in the swimming community.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  SCCOACH
9 days ago

agreed with you …

SCCOACH
Reply to  ERVINFORTHEWIN
9 days ago

I assume my comment was on the political
spectrum where half the forum supports what I’m saying while the other half views it as snowflakey. Kind of sad that women speaking out against men in power is a part of this political impasse.

BearlyBreathing
Reply to  SCCOACH
9 days ago

To allege systematic abuse — and it’s unclear whether this is physical, sexual or emotional — at the hands of her coaches and ignored by SA is a big claim. Big claims require big proof. Names. Dates. Pictures. Emails. Letters. Transcripts. So far I’ve seen none of that. Just wild and vague allegations peppered with hot-button trigger words like “lewdly”, “misogynistic” and “body shaming”. Does anyone really have a definite idea what transpired? Because I sure don’t and I bet you don’t either. I know that staring was alleged. And here’s another hot take: Staring? Really?
Abuse can definitely ruin the lives of young swimmers but the knife can cut both ways. False and unsupported allegations can ruin the… Read more »

SCCOACH
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
9 days ago

If she has names but doesn’t have proof she could get into major legal trouble… and that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

I’m not even taking anyone’s side here because I’m not in Australia and I don’t know specific details, however I think criticizing her and accusing her of making things up with the vague details that we have been provided is not ok.

Last edited 9 days ago by SCCOACH
BearlyBreathing
Reply to  SCCOACH
9 days ago

I’m not in Australia either. I’m glad you and I could find some common ground.
If you don’t have proof, you don’t go shouting about it on Instagram. I wrote a whole amazingly eloquent paragraph explaining this only to delete it when I realized it didn’t need explanation.
That major legal trouble is there for a reason. If you’re going to ruin lives with accusations, you better mean it.

swimapologist
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
9 days ago

Two points:

1) In Australia, she has the burden of proof to prove that what she says is true. In the US, the burden of proof would be on the person accused of the misogyny, etc. to prove that it was false (which is much harder to do – because most people have said something mysoginistic at some point in their life, ill-hearted or not). That’s important context for a readership that is more American than anything else. This could explain why she’s not been more specific.
2) If there’s nobody named, there is no plaintiff. Nobody can prove they’ve been defamed.

BearlyBreathing
Reply to  swimapologist
9 days ago

>In the US, the burden of proof would be on the person accused of the misogyny, etc. to prove that it was false
Are you talking about in a court of law? Because that’s not correct.

SCCOACH
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
9 days ago

So if something bad happened to her, but she can’t prove it, you think she should stay quiet? That is what I’m reading.

Last edited 9 days ago by SCCOACH
BearlyBreathing
Reply to  SCCOACH
9 days ago

>stay quiet
There’s ways to make yourself heard that don’t involve Facebook.
The NGB’s protocols for reporting abuse, the national legal system, and established media organizations (print, TV, radio, internet) to name only three.

Chad
10 days ago

This is a big decision to make for her and I’m glad she felt comfortable making it. Hopefully, and only if she feels comfortable, we can get more information about what she’s experienced and who, in her eyes, is the problem so the innocent people involved with Swimming Australia don’t remain associated with all this.

LaBlom
Reply to  Chad
9 days ago

She named nobody. Worry about “innocent” should be the least of one’s concerns, I’d say.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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