Olympian Marilyn Chua Calls Out “Toxic and Negative” Culture in Malaysia Swimming

Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

Olympian Marilyn Chua Calls Out “Toxic and Negative” Culture in Malaysia Swimming

Malaysian Olympian Marilyn Chua this week alleged that the nation’s swimming program suffers from a “toxic and negative” culture after its performance at the Southeast Asian Games.

Chua made her statements to The Star newspaper, lamenting the state of the nation’s swimming program.

“Regrettably, many of my swimmers upon joining the national team recounted with tears how toxic and negative the team culture is,” she said. “How can athletes perform their best when the environment they are in is not conducive for growth?”

Chua represented Malaysia at the 2000 Olympics. The sprinter excelled at UCLA in the U.S. college ranks. She is now a coach in her native state of Selangor.

Malaysian swimmers won just one of 39 medals on offer at the regional sporting championships in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. They totaled just eight medals in the pool, fifth-most among the 11 nations that competed, only six of which medaled.

The only gold went to Khiew Hoe Yean, who won the men’s 200 freestyle to go with silver in the 400 free and bronze in the 200 backstroke. He was also part of Malaysian freestyle relays that set national records en route to silver in the 400 free and bronze in the 800. Tan Khai Xin added bronze and a national record in the men’s 400 individual medley. The nation won just two women’s medals, via Phee Jing En (silver in the 100 breaststroke, bronze in the 50 breast.)

In her interview, Chua pushed for changes from the outside of Malaysia Swimming, which did not respond to a request for comment by AFP regarding Chua’s statements. She also raised concerns about a lack of spirit and morale within the program.

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