Australia’s swim team culture no longer toxic, says Alicia Coutts

alicia-couttsRead Canberra Times

Alicia Coutts says the Australian swimming team’s much-maligned culture was “so much better” at last year’s world championships in Barcelona and she’s confident it will stand up to its next major test – the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.

The 26-year-old was one of the few shining lights from the Australian swim team’s disastrous London Olympics campaign 18 months ago, when she won one gold, three silver and a bronze medal. It culminated in her being named Australian swimmer of the year in 2012.

An inquiry was launched into the swim team’s performance in the fall-out from the Olympics, with the men’s 100 metres freestyle relay team getting fined for their Stilnox escapades in a pre-Games training camp that involved playing pranks on some female members of the team.

It led to the team’s culture being labelled ”toxic” in a report and former national coach Leigh Nugent lost his job as a result.

But Coutts felt those dark days were behind Australia’s swimmers and pointed to the worlds in Spain last year as proof.

She managed five silver medals, while the team brought back three gold and 10 silver. Coutts is hoping they can continue to build on the renewed team spirit in Glasgow and possible Olympic redemption at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“In Barcelona everyone got along so much better than they had in previous years and everyone’s really working on bonding as a team and supporting the others in the squad and not being so independent and concentrating just on yourself,” she said. ”I think the atmosphere has come a long way.”

Read more here on Canberra Times


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