MELBOURNE, May 2. THE long-delayed trial of highly-rated Australian swim coach Mark Thompson finally got underway yesterday at a preliminary hearing before Judge Felicity Broughton in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court.
Thompson, the 36 year-old coach of Olympian Brooke Hanson, was accused of having committed 21 child sex offenses, including "10 counts of sexual penetration of a child aged under 16 and 11 counts of committing an indecent act with a child aged under 16."
The head coach of the Nunawading Swimming Club, Thompson coached Hanson to a silver medal in the 100 meters breaststroke at the 2004 Athens Olympics and to a spectacular five gold medal performance at the 2004 Short Course World Championships in Indianapolis. Upon his arrest, he took a leave of absence from his coaching position.
Thompson's arrest last year on the child sex charges shocked the Australian swimming community.
The hearing will continue this week.