Tracy Stockwell (Caulkins) To Lead Independent Female Panel To Investigate Swimming’s Ongoing Issues

SA AQ AND LEISURE CENTRE

Tracy Stockwell (Caulkins) To Lead Independent Female Panel To Investigate Swimming’s Ongoing Issues

Celebrated US Olympic champion, leading sports administrator and Swimming Australia director Tracy Stockwell (Caulkins) will head  an independent female panel to investigate the sport’s ongoing issues related to women and girls experience and advancement in swimming.

Swimming Australia is grappling with the management of the well publicised misogyny and pervert claims brought to the public arena last week by Olympic silver medallist Maddie Groves, who SAL has again reached out to – offering various avenues for her to feel comfortable in her approach.

SAL’s newly appointed CEO Alex Baumann and Stockwell – both experienced sports administrators as well as Olympic gold medallists – fronted the media in Adelaide  just hours before the start of the first night of the Olympic Swimming Trials.

Stockwell, who has significant personal elite athlete experience and organisational experience with Swimming Australia, will help establish the process with the independent female panel and their focus will be on the sport’s future.

In a statement SAL said: “Our Board of Directors is committed to the wellbeing of our swimmers and to the work it takes to create an environment of success and safety.

“Our new CEO Alex Baumann has proactively begun a strategic structural review of Swimming Australia, five weeks into this role.

“Our Board will meet at the end of the month to have this strategy session.  In addition to this planning, our Ethics and Integrity Committee of the Board will be closely examining all matters relating to issues raised this week.”

Baumann then appealed to Groves to engage with the governing body, also sighting independence and whistle-blower options, having again reached out to Groves but with no response.

“It would be great if Maddie could engage with us. It’s really up to her,” said Baumann in response to Groves’ accusations made on the eve of the meet on social media.

“Under the Safe Sport Framework we don’t necessarily have to investigate it. Obviously it can go to our head of integrity (Lydia Dowse) but it could be an independent person or it could be a tribunal as well. But it’s really up to Maddie.”

“We have tried to make contact with Maddie but she has not replied. Similarly to what we did in December when she (published) Tweets as well.

“And if there is an issue, (we want her) to come to us and we will certainly investigate it. But unfortunately she never responded…

“We have no record of any complaint and that is why we tried to contact her on December 20 and that was done by Lydia Dowse our Head of Integrity, and obviously with those tweets just recently I contacted her by email with a similar kind of message, that we would investigate but we need the information, we need the evidence to be able to really investigate.”

“But obviously with some of the communication, some of the Tweets, I think we have to investigate some of those issues. And also, some of the articles that have been published as well. I think we are trying to be as proactive as possible.

“But we need to get a little bit more information, do more due diligence, get the right people involved to assess the situation and what investigations need to be done.

“This has been prompted by Maddie and the ongoing attention to it and it’s concerning and when we have any accusations of misbehaviour or inappropriate behaviour, we take that very seriously.

“And so in light of the fact that we don’t have her coming forward, we need to look at our complaints processes to see is there some reason why she’s not coming forward and get to the bottom of it.”

Asked whether Swimming Australia had a problem, institutionalised poor attitudes to women, Baumann said: “I don’t think we do but this is what we are setting up to really try to find so we’re setting up this panel to exactly take a look at that.

“We have done a lot of work on integrity and the Safe Sport Framework since the Royal Commission. We have made lots of improvements but we need to do a little bit more looking into this to see what the issues are and are there issues ?

And what do we do moving forward to protect our athletes?

“The terms of reference review panel will look into how narrow and how broad it is and what is appropriate,” Baumann said.

Stockwell said: “We do have a whistle-blower avenue and we’re always looking at our processes and what the level of independence, whether police need to be involved, there’s a whole process that we believe has been operating pretty well but we can always do better and we always need to review our processes and see if we can do something better.”

Baumann said he was investigating whether or not the organisation should join up for the National Integrity Framework.

“I think we really have to do our due diligence. We do believe that our Safe Sport Framework (and we have been doing this for about 10 years now) is quite robust but the question is, do we need more independence and I think that is what the National Integrity Framework does. But that work is going to be done in the next couple of months.

“If there are issues, let’s try and address them and let’s try and find solutions collectively …..And in the last few years, the culture has been much better in terms of that transparency. If  there are issues, let’s do it together rather than us and them.”

3 comments

  1. avatar
    Mark Hazell

    Good evening. Sorry but how can Tracy Stockwell be considered as an independent in relation to this proposed investigation?
    Surely for clarity a person or persons from outside Swimming Australia would be the appropriate person/s to facilitate this inquiry?
    I think it is remiss of Swimming Australia to continue down this road with a person who has link to the organisation being reviewed

    • avatar
      David Burbridge

      Couldn’t agree any more Mark.

  2. avatar
    Kristen

    How can I submit information to the investigation team?