Para-Swimming Bullying


The BBC ran a report yesterday on the apology by British Swimming as regards the bullying complaints against coaching staff   

These complaints include according to the BBC:

“The governing body said the unnamed member of staff – understood to be ex-head coach Rob Greenwood – was found to have been “communicating with athletes in an abusive manner, as well as using derogatory terms to describe athletes”.

As if para–athletes did not have enough on their plate to contend with – including a Government that takes away their mobility cars  (see also here and here) when they need to get to training for example- one of the athletes who complained said in the same article:

“”It’s good that it has now been recognised, but it also feels as if nothing has really happened. I don’t have much confidence things will really change.

She says that she saw athletes being “screamed at” and “verbally abused and bullied” and “swimmers broken-hearted, crying their eyes out, and completely destroyed as a result of what had been said to them”.

“These members of staff would talk down to the swimmers; make us feel pathetic and useless. We were traumatised and belittled. It began a year before Rio and carried on constantly,” she added.”

It becomes clear that some able–bodied coaches did not always understand disability, and have used inappropriate language and contempt for those who are not like other athletes as regards their abilities.

I note from the British Swimming website that a vacancy is advertised for a Para-swimming coach.  Maybe this time they should look to the Para–Swimmers themselves, and employ a suitably qualified, but more empathetic coach who understands disabilities, maybe because they themselves are disabled.  This vacancy is maybe still available at the time of writing as the closing date was the end of August 2017. Then again maybe they cannot find a “suitable” candidate.


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