Swimming Australia kicking in wrong direction
Swimming Australia and its rag-tag bunch of misfit swimmers that supposedly “represent” Australia have sullied their reputations.
After their worst performance in 36 years, jealousy, bickering and bad behaviour have revealed a dangerous underbelly in Australian swimming that lacks character.
If you missed it last week, there was an explosion of accusations relating to poor behaviour and favouritism that had been simmering for a few months.
It started prior to the Olympics with reports suggesting that “comeback swimmers” such as Libby Trickett and Ian Thorpe were receiving more financial support at the expense of other swimmers who were performing well.
Tommaso D’Orsogna revealed on Channel Ten’s Late News last week that he and other relay team members had been involved in pranks during the pre-Olympic training camp that were of a disruptive nature to other teammates.
There have also been accusations of poor team discipline and favouritism towards certain “elite” swimmers.
And to cap off an explosive week, veteran Geoff Huegill and youngster Melanie Schlanger went to war on Twitter over income.
Makes you shake your head, doesn’t it?
What this week shows is that Australia has been represented by a bunch of petulant adults whose behaviour is more suited to a rom-com sorority house than to an elite sport organisation.
While I sympathise with Schlanger (I’ll get to Huegill), moaning on Twitter isn’t the right way to gain attention.
There are many people worse off than Schlanger who would love to have the opportunities that Schlanger has been given in her swimming career and she should remember that next time she wishes to complain.
However, if Roy and HG’s Monday Dump was still on telly, Huegill deserves to be named ‘Arseclown of the Week’.
Huegill’s criticism of Schlanger was not only hysterical, it was the height of hypocrisy.
Here is a man who has underperformed in his swimming career despite being mollycoddled and pampered during this time.
Never has Huegill had to worry about cash as his personal sponsors and Swimming Australia have consistently ensured that he is looked after to the determent of other talented swimmers.
Yet he has the gall to lecture to other swimmers on how much they earn by essentially telling them ‘be grateful’.
And in all of this commotion, where is Swimming Australia?
Well, the ostriches that make up the governing body have their heads deep in the sand.
They have failed to enforce a disciplined regime while allowing a petty, factional malaise to set in that fails to uphold proper values.
The management is so disorientated; it can’t even stick with a panel that will review our performance in London.
In the month since the London Games, three different panels (Susie O’Neill, Bill Sweetenham/Kieran Perkins, Tim Short/Warwick Smith) to review swimming have been assembled before being dismantled.
It shows that even Swimming Australia doesn’t know where to review its lacklustre performance.
In the end, all this looks like is a screwball comedy movie with no happy ending in sight.
Once a proud and unified cause, our swimmers have let both themselves and Australia down with their irritable behaviour.
It’s time to clean up and refresh before Rio, otherwise the rot will eventually become too great to overcome.