Para-swimmers verbally abused and bullied in coach’s “climate of fear”

Para-swimmers verbally abused and bullied in coach’s “climate of fear”



The scandal involving the Olympic and Paralympic sport has gone to a whole new level. The British Swimming has officially admitted that disabled swimmers, including several vulnerable teens have been subjected to abuse while training for Rio 2016.


It was British Swimming the one to find out that the head coach had created a climate of fear after the swimmer’s families faced some unacceptable behaviors towards the vulnerable swimmers.


Former head coach of the British Para-Swimming category, Rob Greenwood, left his post once the scandal took off. Soon after that, the governing body made a hard decision to go on and publically apologize to every athlete and their families for the climate Greenwood had created.

According to the governing body, the ex-head coach, Rob Greenwood, was found to have been “communicating with athletes in an abusive manner, as well as using derogatory terms to describe athletes”.



“In the pursuit of excellence, we recognize there have been failings in the culture and communication within British Para-swimming”. The national governing body’s chairman Maurice Watkins, said.




“These members of staff would talk down to the swimmers; make us feel pathetic and useless. We were traumatized and belittled. It began a year before Rio and carried on constantly,” an anonymous para-swimmer said.


“I didn’t suffer as much as some of the others. We won plenty of medals, but they took it too far. If we have less pressure and stress and targets, we are happier and are able to win even more.”


The swimmer is referring to the success the British Para-swimmers team had during Rio 2016. With Greenwood’s leadership, the country’s Para-swimmers squad was able to become one of the most successful teams. They won 47 medals – including 16 golds – and setting eight world records.


Greenwood first took his leading position in 2013. Last year, he received the prize of Sport Coach UK’s ‘High Performance Coach of the Year’.



The future


British Swimming admitted that it is now committed to “a robust action plan… to make sure transparent procedures are followed and adhered to… and a closer working relationship with the BAC.”


It will now review the staff code of conduct, safeguarding policies and the whistleblowing policy in order “to ensure they continue to be fit for purpose and widely communicated”.


“Our goal continues to be medal-producing performances, consistent with medal targets, in a positive culture,” it’s official declaration said.


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