Slap on the Wrist for Australian Relay Members, Harsh Words for Head Coach

SYDNEY, Australia, August 23. THE six men who participated in a night of pranking during the Australian swim team’s pre-Olympic training camp last year will not see more financial punishment for their actions, while Swimming Australia was given a scathing notice about its leadership in a report received by the Australian Olympic Committee.

A 60-page report, created by Bret Walker, focused mostly on why the Swimming Australia administration did not act quickly to reprimand the members of the men’s 400 free relay who disturbed teammates during a night of prank calls while taking a banned pill called Stilnox. According to the report, several coaches became aware of that night and reported it to then-head coach Leigh Nugent, who did not act on the complaints until the Olympic were nearly over.

Nugent has since resigned as head coach of the Australian national swim team.

In his response to allegations that Swimming Australia did not properly handle the situation, Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said, “I was disappointed that we didn’t find out about it, that they decided to keep it to themselves, the management. That’s not very smart.”

Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson praised the report’s findings, and in a statement, said, “Ultimately, we are working towards instilling a much stronger culture within the sport — a performance culture underpinned by respect, accountability and integrity.”

Though it was believed that the six relay team members who participated in the night of pranks — James Magnussen, Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett, Tom D’Orsogna, Cameron McEvoy and James Roberts — would be fined by the AOC for their actions, the organization did not issue any financial sanctions for them or anyone associated with the incident. However, the AOC said that in light of the report that all six would have to pay a fine of up to $150,000 and be ineligible to compete in the Rio Olympics in 2016 if they “bring themselves or their sport into disrepute” in the next three years.

Sydney Morning Herald article

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