Blame Swimmers Not Coaches For London Flop, says Nick D’Arcy

Controversial 25-year-old Nick D’Arcy believes his fellow swimmers have to take responsibility for the disappointing show of Australia in the London Olympic pool last year rather than blaming coaches and team management.

D’Arcy, who swam well outside his personal best to crash out of the 200 meters butterfly in the semi-finals in London, remarked the review of team culture released on Tuesday was deliberately inflammatory. According to the Bluestone review, team management had failed to prevent a “toxic culture” from developing in the swimming squad that produced the worst Olympic results by Australia in 20 years.

It was disclosed by the review that the abuse of prescription drugs and alcohol and flouting of curfews and bullying had gone unchecked and contributed to the under-performance.

D’Arcy added some of the things outlined there were designed to be more inflammatory than anything else and also went on to say he thinks we are just trying to look for excuses and trying to pass the buck. The swimmer added he certainly didn’t perform the way he would have liked to and takes full personal responsibility for that.

Meanwhile, Swimming Australia has appointed a panel to investigate allegations of drunkenness, misuse of prescription drugs, breaching curfews, deceit and bullying by members of the London Olympic team. In a news release, Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold said we have to investigate these allegations and deal with them appropriately by putting in place the right framework to establish the right culture. Nettlefold added he will be encouraging the panel to look at each allegation and we want to stop talking about rumors and act on the facts of what did or did not actually occur.

Swimming Australia remarked six members of the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team had come forward to discuss a team bonding session at a training camp in Manchester before the Games. The squad (James Magnussen, Matt Targett, Eamon Sullivan, James Roberts, Cameron McEvoy, and Tommaso D’Orsogna) arrived in London confident of winning the gold, but ended up fourth in the final.

The panel, comprising former Australian Rugby Union chairman Peter McGrath and three members of the SA board, will start work on their investigations immediately.

An Independent Swimming Review into the high performance program at Swimming Australia commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission made 35 recommendations for improvements and alleged that some team members had been subjected to initiation rituals involving Stilnox – a sedative banned by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) just before the Games. The prescription drug Stilnox was banned by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) just before the 2012 Games and James Magnussen and his teammates from the Australian men’s 4x100m freestyle relay squad who admitted to using the sedative now face sanctions from the governing body for breaching their Olympic team membership agreement. The six swimmers said in a statement read out at a news conference we stand here collectively to confirm that we did take part in a bonding exercise during which members of the relay team took Stilnox.

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