James Magnussen has revealed the dog-eat-dog nature of elite swimming was a reason the Australian relay team at the London Olympics used the sleeping tablet Stilnox at a controversial bonding session in the pre-Games camp at Manchester.
However, he stressed it was not an issue among current swimmers, saying it was not prescribed to them and that he knew of no one who used the tablet now.
“In the current-day swimming, I don’t think it’s a problem at all,” he said on the eve of the NSW championships, which start in Sydney on Friday.
“We don’t get prescribed it, I don’t use it, people around me don’t use it. It’s something that is not even spoken about within Swimming Australia today. It’s not a problem as far as I can see.” […]
Magnussen, who was 20 when he competed at London, said the Stilnox was used that night as a substitute for the alcohol that was once traditionally consumed at team-bonding sessions.
”It wasn’t for sleep in that instance,” he said. ”It was, as it was reported at the time, an attempt at bonding and it, yeah … it went wrong. It’s really tough in a sport like swimming because the only times we come together as an Australian team is in the lead-up to big events and alcohol affects performance, so that’s not really an option for the swim team.