Sport & Culture

Australia Hoping for Swimming Reset

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Sport & Culture

Australia Hoping for Swimming Reset

In London, Australia captured just one gold medal in swimming with no individual gold medals.

Australia is rightly proud of its prowess in the pool, but the 2012 Olympics were not the finest hour for the nation’s swimmers.

At the London games, the team won just one gold medal, which came in a relay. It was the first time that the country was without an individual gold medal since 1976.

After six golds in 2008 and seven in 2004, it was a disappointment. 

The fall out is still settling and earlier this week, Swimming Australia CEO Kevin Neil resigned.

"I have witnessed great changes and seen how swimming continues to be Australia's premier Olympic and Commonwealth Games sport," Neil said in a statement.

"Following the below-expected results at the London Olympics, swimming is now undertaking various reviews to set the new course for the future and it is therefore appropriate to step aside to allow the sport to progress to its next exciting phase."

There has been a lengthy debate as to the reason for the relatively small haul.

Former swimmer Susie O’Neill put it down to a lack of dedication.

''It's really difficult in my situation to feel like I'm bagging the current athletes, and it's easy to do that as a past athlete, but what I've been hearing a little bit from different people is work ethic from Australian swimmers is maybe not the same as it used to be 10 years ago,'' O'Neill said during Fox Sports' Olympic coverage.

There were reports of unprofessional behavior by some of the swimmers in London as a ‘bonding night’ got out of hand.

The night out in Manchester ended with some members banging on the hotel room doors of team-mates and coaches. There were also suggestions of bizarre initiation ceremonies.

An independent body is reviewing what happened to a swimming team that was feared around the world not long ago and the problems within the teams. 

"The biggest problem about the whole situation was that some of the management and coaches found out about some of this stuff and nothing was said, and nothing was done," one swimmer told media.

"The cohesion was lacking. There were a lot of personal issues between the male and female teams, and within both of those groups.”

The Australian said that the 4×100 men’s relay team, the star of the show which actually failed to win a medal, was given special treatment by management.

So-called ‘Rock Star’ swimmers provoked resentment among some other members and pleasure when they failed to win the medals expected.

The bad atmosphere in the group has been laid at the door, by some, of Swimming Australia. One woman who did win gold, Libby Trickett, is hoping that the sport can learn from its problems and turn a corner.

"It's been a tumultuous period after the Olympics but probably in the last few weeks it's felt like the energy has changed around," Trickett said.

“Now it feels like we're working together, we're not tearing each other apart any more.

“We need to come together and start over. It's about the team, it's not about who's been copping flak."