A young boy who was reportedly forced to wear a female swimsuit at swimming training because he was “training like a girl” was wearing his own bathers, according to Swimming Australia.
- A story in The Australian said a young boy was forced to wear the bathers as a punishment
- Swimming Australia said in a statement that the swimsuit was a Christmas present and the boy wore them by choice
- The statement did not address other allegations raised in The Australian’s report
After two-time Olympic silver medallist Maddie Groves’s allegations about the culture within the sport, The Australian published a photograph of a boy wearing brightly coloured floral swimwear and quoted a parent of another swimmer as saying it was used as a punishment at training.
“The boy did not achieve the time he was asked to do in training and the coach demanded he get out of the pool and put a pair of female bathers on, because he was ‘training like a girl’, in front of the rest of the squad and for the remainder of the session,” the parent was quoted as saying in The Australian.
“It was a humiliating experience for him while other swimmers, some of whom are Olympians, looked on and giggled.”
The report said the coach in question is currently working at the Australian Olympic Swimming Trials and had represented Australia as a team coach multiple times.
The Australian also included a number of new allegations, including a female swimmer being told to “get a boob reduction, coaches making pig noises at swimmers, and others being told they were “getting a lard arse”.
A statement from Swimming Australia on Monday night only addressed the photo of the young boy and said he was not forced to wear the costume as a punishment.
“We have identified the individuals involved and the circumstances surrounding this photograph, taken two years ago without the child’s permission,” a statement read.
“The swimmer was photographed wearing a swimsuit that was gifted to him as a Christmas present.
“This changing of swimsuits was not a form of shaming or punitive action, as confirmed by the parties involved this evening.
The report came as Swimming Australia deals with the aftermath of Groves’s withdrawal from the ongoing trials for the Tokyo games and her claim that there are “misogynistic perverts” in the sport.
“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,” she tweeted.
Swimming Australia is setting up an independent panel to investigate issues relating to the experiences of women and girls in the sport.
“Swimming Australia reiterates that any form of shaming behaviour will not be tolerated across any level of swimming associated with our organisation,” the statement read.
“It doesn’t matter if this is at a home club level or a national arena. This is the clear policy of Swimming Australia.”