Swimming Australia says there is no silver bullet to the deep cultural issues revealed by a thorough examination of abuse in sport.
But SA President Kieren Perkins is promising immediate action to rectify “top-down” cultural issues in swimming.
SA on Friday released the recommendations of an independent review of swimming culture sparked by two-time Olympian Madeline Groves.
Groves withdrew from the selection trials for the Tokyo Games last year, citing a misogynistic culture in the sport, prompting other swimmers – mostly women – to make similar claims.
The review heard submissions from more than 150 people involved in the sport, including swimmers, coaches and administrators.
Perkins said the review’s final report would remain secret.
“There was too much risk of people being named or potentially targeted by releasing the details of the report,” Perkins told AAP.
“We are dealing with people who are vulnerable and have difficult circumstances in their experience of sport. The last thing we want to do is put them at further risk.”
But he promised SA would act on the review’s 46 recommendations.
Recommendations include banning skinfold testing, ensuring Australia will never again have an all-male elite coaching staff and introducing a quota of female coaches in national squads. ‘elite.
Other recommendations include forming a task force to promote gender equality, character testing for prospective coaches, and requiring coaches to be educated on health issues specific to women.
The review also recommended that SA prioritize behavioral standards over a coach’s performance standards, placing athlete welfare as the primary driver for coach selection.
“We can’t afford to let this all drift away, it has to be a concerted effort from the start.” said Perkins.
“We will implement all of them (the recommendations).
“The reality is…there will be some quick and easy things to do and others are going to take a lot of serious transformational cultural change to implement.
“We have to recognize that you don’t just snap your fingers and change the culture of an environment… it’s going to take us time and effort to do that.
“I don’t want to give the impression that this is a quick fix.”
SA, in a statement accompanying the report’s recommendations, again apologized.
“Comments were open and candid and there were experiences recounted that were difficult to read,” the SA statement said.
“Swimming Australia wants to reassure those who have come forward that the sport is committed to change to ensure these negative experiences do not happen again and apologizes unreservedly to those affected.
“It is recognized that, especially for young female athletes, some of their experiences have had longer term impacts.”
Australian Associated Press