Australia’s most successful swimmer at the London Olympics, Alicia Coutts, almost quit the sport in the wake of the turbulent Games.
Coutts won five medals in London but says a harsh post-Olympic let-down almost ended her swim career.
“I honestly came back from London and I did go through a bit of a patch where I was like ‘I don’t know if I want to swim any more’,” she told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.
Coutts spent a month questioning a future in the pool before deciding to continue swimming.
Then came a scandal in January when her swim teammate Matt Targett reportedly bullied her at a tri-series meet in Perth.
“I am trying to put that in the past,” Coutts said when asked about the bullying incident.
Swimming Australia’s integrity panel last week said a team member had been reprimanded for inappropriate behaviour towards another swimmer at the Perth meet, but refused to identify those involved.
The panel also fined and issued suspended sentences to Targett and five other swimmers on Australia’s men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team for a Stilnox bonding session before the London Olympics.
The controversies came amid wider condemnation of the culture of Australia’s swim team at the London Games, but Coutts was reluctant to comment on the furore.
“I haven’t really been thinking about it. I have just tried to put it behind me and just worry about what I’m doing about this week,” she said.
While Coutts said an altered training regime had rekindled her enjoyment of swimming, she was yet to decide whether to race at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I’m not committing myself – I’m not saying I’m going to 2016,” she said.
“I’m just taking it as it comes. As long as I keep enjoying it and keep swimming well, then I will keep swimming.”
Coutts, who won a gold, three silver and a bronze medal in London, will race at the Australian titles in Adelaide starting on Friday, a meet doubling as selection for the world championships later this year.