JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 7. THE South African swimming federation sent two swimmers home from a recent training trip in Italy as discipline for having sex multiple times in front of a minor, and one of the country’s top swimmers is speaking out on what he believes to be a light punishment.
The South African Press Association report, published today, did not name the two swimmers, but did say that the female swimmer who was sent home is part of the Commonwealth Games team. Swimming World has learned that she remains on the roster, a week before the team is set to gather in Glasgow for the competition.
Swimming South Africa CEO Shaun Adriaanse did not comment further on the matter to SAPA, only confirming that the swimmers were sent home from Italy.
The report adds another blemish to the laundry list of troubles facing the rising swimming nation in the past year. Most recently, the federation told the U.S.-based swimmers that only part of their travel costs to Scotland for the Commonwealth Games would be covered, only to announce days later that all travel expenses would be fully funded.
Gerhard Zandberg, who faced disciplinary action at the world championships last year for switching hotel rooms without previous authorization. He opted to share a room with his girlfriend as he was worried about catching flu from his roommate, Cameron van der Burgh. Zandberg told the South African Press Association that he believes favoritism is in play, suggesting that the swimmers’ association with two of the country’s top coaches is keeping them from more strict punishment.
For switching hotel rooms, Zandberg was handed a severe fine, was banned for two years and paid thousands of dollars in legal fees before winning his appeal.
“I somehow think there is favoritism involved here,” Zandberg said, “because the one swimmer trains with Graham Hill and the other one is with Igor Omeltchenko, who is also one of the top coaches in South Africa.
“At least I did win the case but for these swimmers just to be sent home and nothing else — I find it very unfair.”