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Oct 31 20

Canada Artistic Swimming plans to ‘rip off the band-aid’ to create better environment

by ZwemZa

Canada’s artistic swimming team celebrates on the podium after a gold-medal performance at the Pan Ame Games in Lima, Peru, on July 31, 2019. (Moises Castillo/The Associated Press)

Canada Artistic Swimming says it plans to “rip off the band-aid” in a widespread effort to build a better culture and safer space for its athletes.

The national sport organization released results of an independent investigation on Friday, after complaints of harassment and a culture of fear in the team’s training centre in Montreal.

While the investigation, which included interviews with all 18 athletes, plus 10 members of the coaching and support staff, found no instances of physical abuse, sexual abuse or hazing, 44 per cent of respondents said they’d witnessed or experienced psychological abuse by coaches, staff or other athletes, while 39 per cent of respondents said they’d witnessed bullying.

Jackie Buckingham, CEO of Canada Artistic Swimming (CAS), said this is an opportunity for change.

“We’re going straight through the organization, right down to the club coaches that teach recreational programming, everybody is going to be impacted by this,” Buckingham said. “Because we really believe that this is much bigger than just what’s happening at our national team. This is coaching in general, it’s coaching in our sport, it’s coaching in all sport.”

Training centre remains closed

Montreal’s national training centre for the sport – formerly known as synchronized swimming – closed for the review, and will remain closed until the CAS has ironed out plans for its reintegration process.

“There’s a lot of emotional damage that’s been created, so we’re going to spend some time and try to rebuild those working relationships,” Buckingham said. “We’ve got a process of facilitated sessions that we’re mapping out, to work through what we know is going to be those emotional after-effects.

“So we haven’t put a target date on the return. We don’t want to put pressure on that process, we want that process to evolve at a pace that it needs to so when we do come back to the training centre, everyone’s in a good mental state. . . and some of those working relationships have hopefully been repaired to the point where when they do get in the pool there will be some trust again.”

There won’t be an immediate change in the national team’s coaching staff, however.

“The coaching staff will remain in place as CAS implements its action plan,” the organization said in a statement.

New mandate for national sports organizations

All national sport organizations funded by Sport Canada must adopt and integrate Canada’s new Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport.

The recommendations from the CAS review include improving coach and support staff’s commitment to reporting mechanisms; mental health awareness and education; diversity and inclusion awareness and education; harassment and bullying prevention; and coach education around respectful communication.

“The best thing that we can do is to take the opportunity that we have, and make the most of it,” Buckingham said. “Let’s reinvent our whole entire organization, because this is our one chance when the spotlight is on it. And we have a reason to bring this messaging through our whole sport, So we’re going to do it.”

With the COVID-19 restrictions, and the recent closing of the national training centre, athletes are largely training on their own in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Saskatchewan.

The Canadian Press

Oct 31 20

Pool employee saw ‘nothing suspicious’ during swim lesson, court told

by ZwemZa

Mr Daniels, 20, with his parents James and Janine ahead of his court appearance.Credit:James Brickwood

A former worker at Mosman Swim Centre has told a court he was approached by a concerned mother in mid-2018 and told her daughter thinks she was touched inappropriately during a lesson with swim teacher Kyle Daniels.

Mr Daniels, 22, is on trial in the NSW District Court accused of assaulting nine young girls by touching them on or near the genitals during swimming lessons at the pool in 2018 and 2019. He has pleaded not guilty to 26 charges relating to 23 alleged incidents.

On Friday, Mitchell Dean told the court he was employed by Aquatic Leisure Management, which owns the swim centre, as a training venue manager in 2018.

He said on one occasion he was approached by a mother at the centre who told him her daughter believes she was touched by Mr Daniels “in the region you’re not meant to”.

Mr Dean said he raised this complaint with his superior and was told to watch Mr Daniels teach his next lesson. In this lesson he observed Mr Daniels to be “very energetic and playful with the kids”, including engaging in “harmless throwing [of] the kids around”.

“There was nothing suspicious I saw, absolutely,” Mr Dean said. “He was very energetic, he tried to have fun with the kids … I didn’t see anything wrong with what he was doing.”

Mr Dean said one criticism of Mr Daniels is he was maybe a bit on the playful side, with not enough constructive teaching.

Crown prosecutor Karl Prince read out part of Mr Dean’s police statement, in which the pool employee described Mr Daniels’ style as being “too hands-on” and “too close-contact”.

The court previously heard Mr Daniels was counselled after the complaint and was advised to keep an eye on the way he held children during lessons.

Mr Daniels’ barrister Leslie Nicholls read out an email sent by Mr Dean after the conversation with the mother, in which Mr Dean said the girl “was allegedly being touched inappropriately by one of our male instructors – Kyle”.

“She said it was the child who told her, the mum didn’t actually see it,” Mr Dean said in the email. “She just wanted to bring it to my attention and to flag the situation and doesn’t want to cause any trouble or make too big a fuss.”

Mr Dean said the mother’s concern is “obviously” something the swim centre would look into and “it’s not something you’d laugh off”.

The mother told the court she wanted the swim centre to record the incident, but decided with her husband that it was the “right course of action” to not take it any further.

She repeated her earlier evidence, that her daughter said she had been touched “on the vagina” and demonstrated this touch by placing three fingers on her mother’s arm and moving them around.

“I don’t think I’ll ever forget what she said to me,” the mother said.

Mr Nicholls said if the child described a male swim teacher putting three fingers on her vagina and moving them, “you would have been disgusted about that, would you not?”

“Yes,” she said.

Mr Nicholls asked why, in that context, the mother did not want to make a fuss. She denied using those exact words and said she wanted the incident recorded by the swimming centre.

The trial continues.

By Georgina Mitchell | The Sydney Morning Herald

Oct 31 20

Italian swimmers being confined to Alpine resort

by ZwemZa

The Italian Swimming Federation says world champion Gabriele Detti is among those who contracted COVID-19 at a high-altitude training camp in Livigno. AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

The high-altitude training camp in the Alps was supposed to represent ideal preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.

Instead, a large portion of the Italian swimming team — 13 elite athletes — has been locked in tiny hotel rooms for nearly two weeks with the coronavirus.

Meals are left on trays outside their doors, and the athletes are not permitted to leave.

“I don’t know exactly what prisoners’ lives are like, but we are confined,” Gabriele Detti, a gold medal contender in both the 400- and 800-meter freestyle, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s a bit like home arrest.”

Italian swimmers have been traveling to Livigno, which is located near the Swiss border at an altitude of nearly 6,000 feet, for years to acquire a performance boost for their muscles through the addition of more red blood cells.

Now, though, the question is what effect remaining virtually immobile for so long at high altitude will have on their fine-tuned bodies.

“I’m afraid that everyone could lose muscle mass,” said Stefano Morini, one of three of the team’s staff members to also test positive and be put in quarantine. “When we restart, we’ll have to start all over like it’s an entirely new season.”

The hotel rooms are so small that the most the athletes can do is some basic floor exercises.

“If we put an exercise bike inside, then we would have to get out just to make room,” said Morini, who is also Detti’s uncle. “We gave them some exercises to do, and some of the athletes have told us they are doing them. But we can’t go in to check. I have to talk to them by phone.”

Simona Quadarella, a world champion like Detti, is also among those isolated inside the Hotel Primola.

The others are Federico Burdisso, Martina Rita Caramignoli, Marco De Tullio, Stefano Di Cola, Sara Gailli, Edoardo Giorgetti, Matteo Lamberti, Alessio Proietti Colonna and Mattia Zuin. Simone Sabbioni and Alice Mizzau, two more Italian swimmers from a different club, are quarantined in another hotel.

All of the swimmers tested negative when the training camp began on Oct. 11. Then Sabbioni and Mizzau started feeling sick and Giorgetti came down with a bad case of diarrhea, so new tests were ordered for the entire team.

They tested positive again in the latest round of tests Thursday, although they are now all asymptomatic.

Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini, who was not in Livigno, also had the virus for two weeks before finally testing negative Thursday.

“It’s part of the game,” Detti said. “So many people are getting it, it’s almost more of a surprise not to get it.”

Italy hit another record of confirmed new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, approaching 27,000, a jump of nearly 2,000 in one day. The first Western country engulfed by the pandemic, Italy’s death toll of 37,700 remains second in Europe behind Britain.

“Fortunately I’m feeling fine and I don’t have any symptoms, but it’s starting to drag on,” Detti said. “On the other hand, it’s the right thing to do, because we present a danger to the healthy people outside.”

The problem is that the clock is ticking for the Tokyo Games, which were already postponed by a year because of the pandemic and are now scheduled to start July 23, 2021.

“If this all ends by the middle of next month and we can get back in the water fairly soon, then we’ll just train straight through to July and I don’t think we’ll be affected all that much,” Morini said. “But it all depends on what effect this has on their bodies and their lungs and how much muscle mass they lose. … It’s a big blow.”

Detti, who won gold in the 800 free at the 2017 worlds after collecting bronzes in the 400 and 1,500 free at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, remained optimistic that the Tokyo Games will be held and wasn’t overly concerned about losing too much training time.

He appealed to the IOC and Japanese organizers to set up a clear and efficient protocol for holding the Games.

“I hope that if they do decide to hold it that they know how to organize it,” the swimmer said. “Once they say they’re going forward with it should mean they know how to organize everything. We’re counting on that.”

In the meantime, Detti has been patting himself on the back for deciding to enroll in an online university class before traveling to Livigno. Detti is spending his mornings studying, then he performs his floor exercises before relaxing in the afternoon, staring out at the snow-covered landscape.

“There’s three of us on this floor. Every now and then we step out onto the balcony and we say hello to each other, just to see each other’s faces,” Detti said. “Somehow, the time passes.”

Oct 31 20

London Roar take early control of Match 5

by ZwemZa

London Roar overcame a slow start in Match 5 of the International Swimming League (ISL) Season 2020 to grab the initiative after a gripping battle with LA Current throughout the day.

The Roar had to wait until the seventh race of the match for their first victory but then added five more individual wins to keep the Current in check.

At one point, the lead in the standings swung back and forth three times until Ws for London’s Alia Atkinson and Adam Peaty in the women’s and men’s 50m breaststroke set the Roar up for a strong finish.

However, while London head coach Melanie Marshall will decide the strokes for the women’s 50m skins elimination race after victory in the women’s 4x100m individual medley relays, LA’s win in the men’s 4x100m individual medley relay means that LA’s David Marsh will make the choice for the men’s skins race that closes tomorrow’s match.

The Current secured the important win in the 4×100 thanks to Maxime Rooney, Tom Shields, Felipe Silva and Ryan Murphy. Shields’ butterfly leg was crucial for the win, and all indications are that the butterfly could be the stroke of skins for LA tomorrow, which would be an ISL first.

London finished 65.5 points ahead of the Current on 283.5 points. LA has 218, Tokyo Frog Kings is third with 214.5 with DC Trident fourth on 163 points.

London Roar

London’s first win came in dramatic fashion when Marie Wattel touched home just ahead of LA’s Abbey Weitzeil in the women’s 4x100m freestyle.

Andreas Vazaios gave London their second with victory in the men’s 200m individual medley, before Peaty showed his class to win the men’s 50m breaststroke, having finished sixth in the 200m breaststroke earlier.

Atkinson matched her teammate in the women’s 50m breaststroke to put the Roar into the lead, which was then followed by a mental and physical triumph by Kira Toussaint to reach the wall first (25.96) in the women’s 50m backstroke, having already swum the 200m backstroke.

Toussaint, Wattel and Atkinson then teamed up with Freya Anderson, who anchored the 4x100m individual medley relay team to victory.

LA Current

Beryl Gastaldello continued her rich vein of form from Match 3 when she opened the day with victory in the women’s 100m butterfly, touching the wall in an impressive 55.84. She later added a win in the women’s 50m freestyle.

Shields matched her victory in the men’s 100m butterfly when he held off London’s Marius Kusch, the American becoming the only swimmer so far in Season 2020 to break the 49 second barrier (48.94).

In the 200m backstroke, Murphy was challenged by compatriot Jacob Pebley of the DC Trident and Ryosuke Irie of the Frog Kings, but collected the points for the Current in style by posting the fastest time in ISL history: 1:48.03.

Will Licon kept the Current’s run going with their fourth win in the opening six matches by touching home first in the men’s 200m breaststroke, while Kristian Gkolomeev used his international experience to get the victory in a field full of stars, being the only swimmer under 21 seconds (20.97).

The men’s 4x100m relay victory put the team ahead by half a point with three races to go, but LA stayed within touching distance with their relay victory in the men’s 4x100m individual medley.

Tokyo Frog Kings

Sakiko Shimizu claimed Tokyo’s first win of the day, in the 200m breaststroke, and Yui Ohashi added their second when a late kick gave her victory in the women’s 200m individual medley.

Leah Smith and Chihiro Igarashi gave the team a boost with a one-two finish in the women’s 400m freestyle, and while Tokyo did not match the highs of its ISL debut a few days earlier, six second-place finishes and five third-place finishes showed their competitive potential.

DC Trident

Amy Bilquist set DC going when she won the women’s 200m backstroke, but DC had to be patient for its next success: DC’s Zane Grothe and Velimir Stjepanovic led from the start in the Men’s 400m freestyle and never looked back, closing with amazing speed and great endurance to finish tied for first with a time of 3:41.

46 in what was one of a number of highlights on Day 1.

Match 5, Day 1 Results


100 Butterfly – Beryl Gastaldello, LA Current – 55.84
200 Backstroke – Amy Bilquist, DC Trident – 2:01.29
200m Breaststroke – Sakiko Shimizu, Tokyo Frog Kings – 2:18.88
4 x 100m Freestyle – London Roar (Hopkin, Anderson, Kameneva, Wattel) – 3:27.48
50m Freestyle – Beryl Gastaldello, LA Current – 23.76
200m Individual Medley – Yui Ohashi, Tokyo Frog Kings – 2:05.26
50m Breaststroke – Alia Atkinson, London Roar – 29.66
50m Backstroke – Kira Toussaint, London Roar – 25.96
400m Freestyle – Leah Smith, Tokyo Frog Kings – 4:00.18
4 x 100m Medley – London Roar (Toussaint, Atkinson, Wattel, Anderson) – 3:47.85


100 Butterfly – Tom Shields, LA Current – 48.94
200 Backstroke – Ryan Murphy, LA Current – 1:48.03
200m Breaststroke – Will Licon, LA Current – 2:03.92
50m Freestyle – Kristian Gkolomeev, LA Current – 20.97
200m Individual Medley – Andreas Vazaios – 1:52.65
50m Breaststroke – Adam Peaty, London Roar – 26.10
4 x 100m Freestyle – LA Current (Rooney, Shields, Gkolomeev, Carter) – 3:06.24
50m Backstroke – Guilherme Guido, London Roar – 22.86
400m Freestyle – Zane Grothe, Velimir Stjepanovic (tie), DC Trident – 3:41.46
4 x 100m Medley – LA Current (Murphy, Silva Franca, Shields, Rooney) – 3:20.95

Match 5 MVP Standings

1 – Kira Toussaint, London Roar – 27.0
2 – Beryl Gastaldello, LA Current – 26.0
3 – Ryan Murphy, LA Current – 23.5

Team Standings

1 – London Roar – 283.5
2 – LA Current – 218
3 – Tokyo Frog Kings – 214.5
4 – DC Trident – 163


Oct 30 20

Gastaldello buoys LA Current’s chances as Season 2020 heats up

by ZwemZa

Beryl Gastaldello is used to overcoming challenges in her career, and her success in doing so is allowing her to swim at her best during Season 2020 of the International Swimming League (ISL).

The French sprinter is part of the LA Current team, who along with the other nine ISL teams are staying in the Budapest bubble for the five weeks of action taking place at the Duna Arena.

Gastaldello won the 50m butterfly in Match 1, and then found another gear altogether in Match 3 when she won five individual races and two relay races.

Such form has not come easily though, with Gastaldello having to work hard away from the pool to be both physically and mentally fit for the ISL season.

“All the mental work I’ve been doing is paying off right now,” she said. “I have been working hard with my mental trainer and we are having a lot of fun.

“I have changed my diet. I realized I had some diaphragm problems which were related to my mental health problems. It is mainly the mindset. I am here to do the best with what I have and that is what I do. I get the job done for the team.

“I have been working hard and have been through a lot, but the more trials I go through, the stronger I become.”

It has not always been this good for the 25-year-old. In 2017 she took five months off the sport after suffering from anxiety and depression.

Work with a psychiatrist and a psychologist helped her recover, but the issue means she is conscious of keeping an eye out for her teammates, especially while living together for over a month in Budapest.

“That is all in the past, thankfully,” she said. “We have everything we need [inside the bubble]. That is why I proposed some activities to check on people and check that everything is good.

“With my past experience, I can feel if something is not right, looking at people and their behavior, attitude, and body posture. If I see something that is not right, I will do something about it.

“I’m enjoying the ISL bubble because I get to see a lot of people all day long. We are having a great time together … The island we are on is pretty big and there is even a zoo to go to.”

Gastaldello comes from strong swimming stock. Her mother Veronique Jardin represented France in swimming at the Los Angeles 1984 and Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games; her grandmother Amelie Mirkowitch swam at Rome 1960; and her father Eric Gastaldello also represented France.

Despite her Olympic lineage, Beryl says her family did not push her towards swimming. In fact, she initially showed great promise in athletics and gymnastics.

But her swimming talent began to shine through in her early teens, and at 14 she moved from her home near Marseille to Nice, where she could combine swimming with her schooling.

At 18, and with minimal English, she began competing and studying at Texas A&M University, winning the Southeastern Conference Female Freshman of the Year award in 2015. She continues to live and train there to this day.

“[My parents] knew what it takes to get to the highest level,” she said. “I had to leave home when I was 14 to live in Nice so that I could study and swim at the same time.

“I believe I was able to do that because they know what it takes and wanted to put me in the best environment possible.

“It was the same going overseas to the US when I was 18. It was a big shock to the system. I did not realize what I was doing. I had not visited before, and I did not know anything about the team.

“Everything is so much bigger, especially in Texas. I did not speak more than high-school English and could not speak for almost two weeks, especially going to class. It was an amazing experience, but it took a lot out of me health-wise.”

These days, Gastaldello is one of LA Current’s leading swimmers along with triple Olympic champion Ryan Murphy and Rio Olympic gold medalist Tom Shields. Murphy currently tops the MVP standings, with Gastaldello fourth.

After the Current finished third in Match 1, Gastaldello’s heroics helped lead the team to a win in Match 3, leaving them in joint second in the standings behind fellow US outfit Cali Condors. LA is next in action in Match 5 on Friday and Saturday.

Gastaldello says the ace up the Current’s sleeve is the experience the coaching staff brings to the team. Head coach David Marsh led the US women’s team at Rio 2016, while General Manager Lenny Krayzelburg is a four-time Olympic champion.

“Lenny is an amazing person. He is very calm. He knows a lot as he has been there for a long time at the highest level. He is a calm spirit, but a very wise person,” Gastaldello said. “He is a role model for many of us, so it is amazing to have him on our team. He has a good energy, and we all love having him around.

“We have a lot of new people who haven’t been in the ISL before, so it is quite diverse, but I do feel that we have bonded really well.”

Frightening words indeed for the LA Current’s opponents heading into Halloween weekend.

Oct 30 20

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Life in the ISL ‘Budapest bio-bubble’ and coping with ‘invisible illness’

by ZwemZa

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (British Swimming)

“If I can compete at a home Olympics with horrendous undiagnosed symptoms and achieve what I have then I can get through anything,” says Siobhan-Marie O’Connor.

Over the past eight years the swimmer has overcome almost all challenges thrown her way to secure 24 major honours at Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth level.

Hungarian Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu, who edged their encounter at Rio 2016, may be her biggest rival, but her toughest opponent is arguably her own body.

Shortly after London 2012, O’Connor was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and “serious flare-ups” have seen her hospitalised twice in the past three years.

The disease, which affects the lining of the large intestine, weakens an individual’s immune system and the 24-year-old unsurprisingly admits she was “really scared” about the potential impact of coronavirus on her health.

“My immune system basically doesn’t function that well, so there’s a chance I could react to Covid worse than someone of my age usually would,” she tells BBC Sport.

Despite the potential risks of travelling abroad during the global health pandemic, she joined 300 of the world’s best swimmers in Hungary for the International Swimming League (ISL) earlier this month. Now established in the ‘Budapest bio-bubble’, she has no regrets.

“Stress can be a big factor in flare-ups and it was such a hard blow when the [Tokyo 2020] Olympics were postponed so having the ISL to focus on has given me a real purpose,” says O’Connor.

“We knew the racing would be great, but we didn’t know what else we were signing up for out here and there were worries, so we’re really fortunate they’ve made us feel really safe.”

Living with an invisible illness

O’Connor says that for many years she tried to hide her condition “due to embarrassment” but that she has benefited from opening up and sharing her story in recent years.

“Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s are invisible illnesses and that’s part of the problem because you can look really fine on the outside, but be really poorly inside,” says the 200m individual medley specialist.

“Speaking out has given me strength and I know now that if I’m having a massive battle with chronic fatigue or the pain is really severe that it’s OK to tell people and not bottle it up.

“It’s also important for me not to take any unnecessary risks, so I’m always careful with my hygiene and my diet which I’m being helped with here by the team in Budapest.”

Life in a ‘new lockdown’ – the Budapest ‘bio-bubble’

Siobhan-Marie O'Connor takes a selfie wearing a green embroidered cape

“I love the cape – we look like superheroes!” says O’Connor

For the safety of those involved in the ISL and Budapest’s citizens, swimmers are isolated in hotels on Margaret Island, which is in the middle of the Danube river that runs through the city.

Each of the 10 ISL franchises have formed their own ‘bubbles’ for training and competitions, meaning mixing between teams, even during downtime, is banned and rules are strict.

“We’re allowed to go out for a walk around the island for 90 minutes each day, but we can’t leave the island or go anywhere else,” says O’Connor, who races for London Roar.

“Fortunately we’ve found a safe way of ordering in food for occasional treats, but the rest of the time I’m mostly sleeping or watching Disney movies like the Lion King or Ratatouille that I loved when I was younger!

The arrival in Budapest of four Bath-based swimmers was delayed after they came into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK, but so far no-one within the UK franchise London Roar has contracted the virus.

“We were tested before leaving, then every 12 hours for a couple of days when arriving here and now it’s every five days,” says O’Connor, who has mixed feelings about the swab tests.

“The throat one isn’t so bad, but the nose one seems to go up so high that I feel it’s at the back of my brain, which is pretty painful.

“It might sound strange out here, but we’re just so happy to be racing and we’ll do anything to make it happen.”

ISL bubble offers ‘glimmer of hope’ for Olympics

As it stands the postponed Tokyo Olympics will begin on 23 July 2021, a year after they were supposed to take place.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 organisers have both spoken about the rescheduled Games being a “scaled-down” version of what should have taken place this year, although the number of sports and athletes included is not expected to change.

O’Connor, who hopes to compete at her third Olympics next year, believes lessons can be learned from the methods used to successfully run the ISL’s second season.

“Obviously there’s something like 600 people here for the ISL and it would be tens of thousands for the Olympics, which is harder to organise, but so far it’s run smoothly here and shown it can be done,” she says.

“No-one knows what the circumstances will be next summer as things are changing so quickly, but I know all the athletes want it to happen and the ISL has given us a glimmer of hope that maybe it will be OK for the Olympics to go ahead.”

By Nick Hope | BBC Olympic sports reporter
Oct 30 20

CEO Leigh Russell to depart Swimming Australia

by ZwemZa

Leigh Russell (Twitter)

Swimming Australia today confirmed that CEO Leigh Russell has advised the board she will be stepping down as CEO at the end of November this year.

Swimming Australia deputy board chairperson, Tracy Stockwell, said that Leigh had been a strong leader for the organisation and for the sport over the past three years.

“Under Leigh’s leadership, we have built a strong executive and a high-performance team. There is also a clear strategy and vision,” Ms Stockwell said.

“As Australia’s number one Olympic sport, we are well placed going into a disrupted but highly anticipated Tokyo Olympics and the Paralympics in 2021 and then on to the 2024 Games.

“The Board and Leigh agreed that the revised timing of the Tokyo Games means that now is the right time to find a new CEO with the passion and drive to lead the sport into the future.

“Leigh’s leadership and commitment to high-performance and integrity has driven major changes in the organisation and has set Swimming Australia up for success both in the pool and out of it.

“As one of the few female sports leaders in the country, Leigh has championed inclusion and a culture of high-performance, support, mentorship and leadership that is underpinned by strong values.

“We wish Leigh all the very best and thank her for her significant contribution to our sport.”

Russell said she felt now was the right time to step down from the role.

“With the revised timelines pushing Tokyo out by a year, meaning an immediate kick off post games to preparations for Paris, I felt it was in the best interests of the organisation and the sport to allow a new CEO to take the reins now,” Ms Russell said.

“I’m proud of what has been achieved over the past three years and I feel Swimming Australia is now in the strongest position it can be going into Tokyo and Paris.”

Swimming Australia will be appointing an interim CEO shortly and the search for a CEO to lead Swimming Australia to Tokyo, Paris and beyond will commence soon.

Swimming Australia

Oct 29 20

Swimming teacher’s hold on young girl during freestyle lesson made her feel ‘weird’ court hears

by ZwemZa

Former swim coach Kyle Daniels. Credit: Dean Lewins/AAP

A young girl told police she didn’t like how her swimming teacher was holding her and that it felt “weird”, a Sydney jury has heard.

The child told the detective in March 2019 that he began holding her in the deep end of the pool while correcting her freestyle.

“It felt really uncomfortable … because I didn’t like it,” she told police.

When asked how it made her feel, she replied “weird”.

The girl began the interview by answering questions accurately about the difference between a lie and truth, while she was stroking a special toy.

Kyle James Henk Daniels, 22, has pleaded not guilty to 26 charges, including multiple counts of having sexual intercourse with a child under 10 and indecently assaulting a person under 16.

On Thursday the District Court heard the girl describe her teacher propping her up in a Mosman pool on Sydney’s north shore, around her stomach and vagina, for about two minutes.

She then told her mother she wanted to move her swimming lesson day because “I didn’t want him to hold me like that again”, she said.

While she couldn’t remember his name she described “the man in swimming lessons” with brown hair who touched outside her swimmers.

In his opening statement, defence lawyer Leslie Nicholls said the real dispute of the trial was whether his client “deliberately and unlawfully touched the private areas” of the girls he taught.

“(He) absolutely and totally denies that he did so.”

“This is not a case involving an accused person saying “don’t tell mum about what I just did …. are you OK, did that feel OK?” Nicholls whispered to the court.

He also criticised the detective in charge of the investigations saying she may have influenced the girls’ responses.

Crown prosecutor Karl Prince said Daniels touched nine of his students on or near their genitals while teaching between February 2018 and February 2019.

The trial continues before Judge Kara Shead.


Oct 29 20

Wood gets winning moment in ISL

by ZwemZa

Abbie Wood powers clear during the 400m IM (British Swimming)

A maiden International Swimming League (ISL) victory for Abbie Wood was the undoubted highlight for British athletes as match four of the 2020 season ended with another Cali Condors victory in Budapest on Tuesday.

Wood’s New York Breakers side were narrowly pipped to second place by Team Iron after a strong finish from the Hungary-based outfit – but the versatile David Hemmings-coached athlete certainly did everything she could for the Breakers’ cause.

After recording an impressive second in Monday’s 200m Individual Medley contest, Abbie gave an insight into what was to come the following day with another brilliant swim in the Women’s 100m Individual Medley, leading at halfway before touching behind winner Melanie Margalis – and clocking a lifetime best in the short-course category in the process.

Better was still to come for the National Centre Loughborough competitor, though, in the 400m Individual Medley. Leading from halfway, Wood closed the victory out with confidence, having surged out to a three-second advantage after the breaststroke leg. She is now ranked fourth for this event across the entire ISL so far this season.

So what has she made of the competition to date?

“I’m really loving the ISL so far! Even being here with everything going on makes me feel so lucky – and how I’m swimming is a bonus of the whole experience,” says Wood.

“Being on the Breakers has made this experience way better than I thought it would be. Everyone gets on so well and it’s such a laugh, which is definitely a big contributor to how I’m swimming in the pool. Finally getting a win for the team was good after coming second so many times and, without sounding too greedy, it would be nice for it to not be my last!”

Joe Litchfield has been another Brit to catch the eye of the ISL audience this year – and he achieved another ‘podium finish’ here, this time in the Men’s 50m Butterfly, where he came third. His time also moved him up to third in the all-time British short-course list, with the David Hemmings cohort continuing to impress in the Duna Arena as athletes build up following a lengthy spell away from competition.

A dramatic couple of skins contests – with the Women’s 50m Backstroke and Men’s 50m Breaststroke – saw Cali Condors cement their second overall win of 2020, finishing with 610.5 points.

Team Iron narrowly snuck into second with 418.5, just ahead of New York Breakers (394). DC Trident ended fourth with 287.

Up to 15 British athletes could be in action across Friday and Saturday when London Roar return to action with their second match of the campaign, facing off against LA Current, DC Trident and Tokyo Frog Kings.

British Swimming

Oct 28 20

Improving Your Flipturns – Mistakes, Fixes and Drills

by ZwemZa

Although swimmers might perform hundreds of flipturns or open turns during the course of a single swim practice, it can be more beneficial to break down a turn even further to emphasize proper timing and lightning-fast execution. After all, faster turns can cut tenths of a second or even full seconds off a swimmer’s time!

Head coaches Monique Shelton (Beach Cities Swimming/California) and Meghan O’Leary (Seward Tsunami Swim Club/Alaska) are here to share their knowledge on what it takes to have great turns – with common mistakes and how to fix them from Shelton, and a couple of fun turn drills from O’Leary.

Common Mistakes: Freestyle Flipturns
1. Slowing down going into the wall
2. Breathing into or out of the turn
3. Not getting into a small enough ball to rotate around quickly and get the feet into a powerful position

How to Fix It:
1. Speed before air. “You will hear our coaches saying this out loud every day,” said Shelton. “When that breath occurs in or out of the turn, you are losing valuable race and turn speed. Think speed before air.”
2. Plan your breathing pattern. “This shouldn’t be a surprise “ask” of your body on race day,” said Shelton. “Plan where you breathe and train it.”
3. Flippush. “Carry speed into your turn, look at the “+” on the wall, tuck that chin and whip the feet around to plant them on the wall for an explosive push – flippush – one fluid move,” Shelton said.

Common Mistakes: Backstroke Turns
1. Slow approach – fear of the wall, or missing the wall
2. Losing the last two strokes into the wall
3. Too shallow on the push-off
4. Circle swimming on the turn

How to Fix It:
1. Consistent stroke count is key, and performing turns at race speed frequently!
2. Work on mid-pool turns with no wall – make sure the lead arm grabs water before the trailing arm comes around for the final pull on the stomach.
3. Getting under the wave of water brought into the turn is critical – practice getting into that calm, deep water.
4. “Because of how we have to train, our kids habitually come in one door and leave out another – circle,” Shelton said. “Spend time having them go down the center of the lane and drive a straight line in and out of their turns.”

Common Mistakes: Open Turns
1. Loss of speed going into the wall – either caused by a short stroke or a long glide
2. Hanging out on the wall
3. Getting too high on the turn and turning sideways
4. Shallow push-offs coming off the wall

How to Fix It:
1. Know your stroke count!
2. This is usually a bad habit from practice – take time to do race pace turns and make fast turns an expectation in training.
3. “Go out the same door you went in” – keep your shoulders wet! Hold a kickboard at deck height and have the swimmers execute the turn without hitting their head.
4. Compare push-offs on the surface vs. deeper; have the swimmers race each other with one swimmer pushing off too shallow – this is always eye opening!


Coach O’Leary has her swimmers practice these drills to improve their timing and speed on both open turns and flipturns.

#1: Focuses on not windmilling the arms during flipturns, and tucking the chin to the chest to flip while using their core. The swimmer holds a kickboard in each hand with the palms up, and they push off the wall for momentum while leaving the board in the same spot through the flip.
Flip Turn 1

#2: A similar drill but for open turns, focuses on the knee drive to create a pivoting action. Swimmers lay on the surface and drive their knees toward their chest, slip arms to their sides then pivot onto their backs.
Flip Turn 2

#3: Anther open turn drill – push off the bottom to create the speed that is redirected during the turn. The goal is to slip under the wake of water, and use the speed to turn.
Flip Turn 3

#4: Underwater turns – these can be done doing full distances and for open turns or flipturns. Swimmers can dive down at the flags, kick into the wall and then do the turn deep enough underwater that their feet don’t break the surface. The water resistance slows them down and they’ll feel a lot of drag if their kicks aren’t tight. Also good for working on breath control!
Flip Turn 4 trim

by Emily Sampl | USA Swimming Contributor

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