Former Olympian says the current generation of stars have lost their way.
Geoff Huegill has launched a scathing attack on the Australian swimming team that competed at the London Olympics, saying they have tarnished the country’s once golden reputation in the sport.
The sport is in crisis after Australian Head coach Leigh Nugent fell on his sword after an abysmal Olympics, where rumours of team members breaking imposed team rules were rife.
Huegill said swimmers of his generation said they cannot believe what is happening to the national team, adding much of the goodwill earned a decade ago is all but gone.
“The upsetting part is (the damage) to the sport we spent so much time building and creating, not only the culture but the brand the sport represents,” Huegill told News.com.au.
“When I speak to the guys I used to swim with in 2000 and 2004, that’s the part where we all shake our heads and say, ‘What the bloody hell is going on?’
“The kids today, and the management, and the coaches, have destroyed what was built and the credibility and the hard work that was built from that era.”
Australian swimming it set to go through more suffering before the healing process begins with two reports into athlete’s conduct in London set to be handed down shortly.
Information expected to become public relates to the alleged “inappropriate behaviour” towards some female team members and the misuse of alcohol and the sleeping drug Stillnox.
As part of Pippa Grange’s Bluestone Edge Review into the sport an “ethical framework: has been suggested with relay swimmer Matthew Targett in favour of such a policy.
“We could at least listen to those who are invested in and judging our short time as members of the Australian swimming team,” Targett said.
“It’s going to be one of those things we are going to have to judge retrospectively.
“If we perform well in 2013, every initiative made from London onwards is going to be viewed positively. I hope this helps.”
In the short-term, the national squad does not have a head coach in the lead up to one of the more important Olympic-cycle events, the world championship trials, with a world-wide search currently underway to find Nugent’ss replacement.
Huegill had one last piece of advice for the current generation of stars, if they wish to get back in the good graces of power brokers and the wider community, hard work and results are all that matter.
“My only piece of advice is now is the time where action speaks louder than words,” Huegill said.
“The guys have got no credibility. They have got nothing. Their reputation, their credibility is shot.
“Fundamentally if anything it is the best time the team can come together – 2013 is a new year, new challenges, new competitions and new goals.”