2021 SWIMMING AUSTRALIA OLYMPIC TRIALS
With just days until the start of the Swimming Australia Olympic Trials, we reported how Rio silver medalist Maddie Groves had announced her withdrawal from the event. The 26-year-old had originally entered the Trials in the women’s 100m fly and 50m free, so repeating or improving upon her 200m fly silver from Rio wasn’t on the table to begin with.
“I’ve made the decision to not compete at Olympic Trials in Adelaide. I’m so grateful to feel so supported in this decision. I feel very relieved and I’m looking forward to racing at some other competitions later in the year (yeah sorry/not sorry, you haven’t got rid of me just yet!),” is what Groves originally posted on social media.
With heat sheets now posted, Groves represents the only scratch from day 1’s prelims, with her name still appearing on the heat sheets but she’s made it clear she won’t be there.
Subsequent posts from Groves pointed to a possible controversy within Swimming Australia. “Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers – You can no longer exploit young women and girls, body shame or medically gaslight them and then expect them to represent you so you can earn your annual bonus. Time’s up”, is what Groves posted on her personal Instagram account yesterday, June 10th.
Today, June 11th, Groves posted an additional opinion as follows, “Thank you so much to everyone for all the support! I’ve really been overwhelmed by messages and I just want to thank people so much for taking the time to show they care. I wish I could say I was surprised by the sheer Appalachian Trail of stories I’ve received from people explaining why they understand my decision.”
Her post continued, “It would be a mistake for anyone to reduce my decision to a singular incident. My decision is partly because there is a pandemic on, but mostly it is the culmination of years of witnessing and benefitting from a culture that relies on people ignoring bad behavior to thrive. I need a break. If starting this conversation will save even just one young girl from something like being told to lose weight or diet not going to the Olympics will have been worth it.”
With no other details being made public, Swimming Australia CEO Kieran Perkins responded by saying, “I don’t know who she’s talking about or what the complaint is apparently meant to be.
“I actually have no evidence of that and that’s really quite concerning. In terms of the culture of our sport, that is something that really does stab at the heart of everybody involved in swimming.
“We are a sport that has generationally been diverse. Every team has always had an even number of male and female swimmers and we work extremely hard to provide an open and safe environment for everybody.
“It doesn’t mean we always get it right. There have certainly been challenges over the years. I would disagree strongly with that view.” (Yahoo)
Perkins continued,”She has at no point contacted Swimming Australia, we haven’t been able to talk to her directly and go through her concerns with her to find out what’s going on,” he said.
“I could certainly reassure her and everybody that claims like these are of the utmost importance to us and providing a safe environment for all of our participants is absolutely paramount to us.
“Unfortunately though social media posts don’t constitute any actionable claim for us. We actually need to sit down and talk to people about this.
“We would love to do that and we’d like Maddie to come and speak with us if she feels that she can.” (Yahoo)