Who elbowed Alicia Coutts in the Shanghai 2011 call room?


Wild story here on SwimNews.com (source Courier Mail), on how Australia’s Alicia Coutts was elbowed in the head and spat at by a European opponent on the way to her blocks for the 100m freestyle final at the Shanghai 2011 World Championships.

“I’d never had anyone try to psych me out before. It must be a sprint freestyle thing,” Coutts tells the CM. “I was sitting in the marshalling room next to a particular swimmer and she elbowed me in the head . . . then she continuously kept elbowing me. She just spat in front of me while I was walking … it was disgusting. People just playing mind games. It can’t be a fair race, I would never do that to someone. She obviously thought I was a threat, she felt she needed to put me off.”

Here is a video from that event – as mentioned on Speed Endurance Swimming Blog, Alicia Coutts doesn’t look too happy.

Suspects are these Europeans in that final: gold medalist Jeanette Ottesen (DEN); gold medalist Aliaksandra Herasimenia (BLR), bronze medalist Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), 4th placed Francesca Halsall (GBR), and 5th placed Femke Heemskerk (NED).

Heemskerk has already reacted on Twitter, saying she didn’t do it.

Halsall saw it happen

Kromowidjojo doesn’t think it was her, but says sorry just in case

Coutts says no, it wasn’t Kromowidjojo

But now it is suddenly in plural ? (hey, there are only two left by now)


About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)


  1. She blogged about this already in August:

    I experienced something very different that I am not used to and have never been subject to before this meet! While I was sitting in marshalling I experienced my first ever psych out attempts. I was sitting there ready to go out for my 100 free final when I was actually elbowed in the head by one of my opponents. Then after she didn’t apologise and elbowed me numerous other times I realised she was doing it on purpose! I did my best to not let it worry me and even moved to one side of my chair to try and get away from her, then when walking up the stairs to walk out on to the pool deck she actually spat in front of me as I was walking. It was definitely a different experience for me and something I had never seen before.


  2. Ottesen didn’t do it either …

    The Danish sprinter denied playing any role in elbow gate (Alicia Coutts, of Australia, says she was elbowed “multiple times” in the head in the Shanghai 2011 world title final call room and spat at on the way to her blocks), which means that all Europeans in the frame, including the other joint world champion, Aleksandra Herasimenia (BLR), once banned for doping, have now denied the charge, the Belarus swimmer stating that it never happened.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.