Maddie Groves accuses Swimming Australia boss of 'shocking' act

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Maddie Groves and Kieren Perkins, pictured here in their roles for Swimming Australia.
Maddie Groves has taken aim at Swimming Australia boss Kieren Perkins. Image: Getty

Aussie swimmer Maddie Groves has accused the sporting organisation's president Kieren Perkins of a shocking and irresponsible denial of cultural problems.

Groves pulled out of the Australian Olympic swimming trials in June and levelled some explosive claims against Swimming Australia.

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The 26-year-old cited a misogynistic culture in swimming in Australia, triggering a wave of controversy as others alleged abusive practices in the sport.

Swimming Australia has responded by forming an independent panel to investigate the claims, which will deliver its findings to Perkins and Australian Sports Commission chair Josephine Sukkar.

In June, Perkins said he would "defy anyone to suggest there's a cultural issue in swimming at the moment".

But in a series of Instagram posts on Friday, Groves took aim at Perkins' denial.

"To 'defy anyone to suggest there's a cultural issue" while there is an ongoing investigation is absolutely shocking and totally irresponsible," Groves wrote.

"How could anyone trust that Kieren will act on the report when he is already openly denying there are problems despite already being told about them?

"Is this the right person to lead Australia's premier Olympic sport into the future. I don't think so."

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Maddie Groves speaks out amid Swimming Australia investigation

Groves met with Perkins and SA's chief executive Alex Baumann, who will soon quit the role due to health reasons, in late June.

The swimmer, who won two silver medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016, said she alleged "some specific misconduct by current employees of Swimming Australia".

"I also mentioned that I had received a significant number of messages from people reporting misconduct in Australian Swimming (from roughly 78 people at the time, I've had many more since) and at that time several people were willing to sign sworn affidavits outlining misconduct," she wrote.

"Despite knowing this, and the fact there is an ongoing investigation going on into Swimming Australia, Kieren thought it was appropriate to say these things publicly.

Madeline Groves, pictured here at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Madeline Groves (L) with her silver medal after the 200m butterfly final at the 2016 Olympics. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

"When this article came out - I had people contact me saying they no longer felt comfortable making a submission because of these comments."

Speaking out last month, Groves admitted it was "disappointing" to miss the Olympics, but felt she needed to take a stand.

“I was calling a spade a spade. It’s something I have been wading through and dealing with for a few years, so it wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I had a lot of time to work out how I feel about things. One of the things I didn’t want to do was to go on and represent people I don’t feel comfortable working with.”

After withdrawing from Olympics contention, Groves took aim at "misogynistic perverts" in the sport.

"You can no longer exploit young women and girls, body shame or medically gaslight them and then expect them to represent you so you can earn your annual bonus. Time's UP," she wrote on social media.

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