Sport

Schlanger: We'll win the public's trust back

Melanie Schlanger of Australia celebrates after she swam the last leg of the relay to win the Final of the Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay on Day 1 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 28, 2012 in London, England.
Melanie Schlanger of Australia celebrates after she swam the last leg of the relay to win the Final of the Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay on Day 1 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 28, 2012 in London, England. Adam Pretty / Getty Images

OLYMPIC gold medallist Melanie Schlanger says the Australian swim team will try hard to regain the public's trust after an independent review's slamming assessment of the squad's London campaign.

The Bluestone Review, conducted by Dr Pippa Grange and released yesterday, confirmed initial reports of disruptive behaviour and bullying within the swim team at the Games and described incidents there as "toxic".

Australia claimed just one gold medal in the pool in England, thanks to the women's 4x100m freestyle relay team.

Sunshine Coast product Schlanger, who anchored that relay, said the review's findings were expected and it highlighted "the fact we weren't a cohesive swim team over there".

"There's definitely things that have come out that we've all been aware of for a little while ... but until it is written down on paper and it's in your face it is an easy thing to brush aside," Schlanger said.

"But it (the review) is now in our face and we have to deal with it and that's something we will be doing."

The 26-year-old said the swimmers had already made some moves to improve the culture in the squad.

"I think the downfall for us in London was that we didn't really know each other," she said.

"We were all selected and spent about two or three days together and that was it. A lot of us were strangers and that's never going to be a good thing when you go to an Olympic Games.

"We've learned from that and we won't be making those mistakes again.

"Just in the last couple of months we have done a lot of things that will make up a team in the future, in terms of being a cohesive group and getting along."

After the Australian swim team converged on Perth in January for the lucrative Super Series, things took a turn for the positive.

"That was the first step in that direction," Schlanger said.

"I think everyone had a great time over there.

"We really did take ownership of getting to know each other a lot better. Then we followed it up with our national camp a couple of weeks later on the Gold Coast.

"We had 120 swimmers there, so that was great to get to know the younger swimmers and set that example for them so they know what sort of standard of behaviour is expected of them."

She acknowledged the sport had taken a battering in Australia but backed the national squad to earn the respect of the Australian public once again.

"Once we start performing at the level we expect of ourselves and set the example we expect of ourselves, that will lead to some changes in the perception of our team," she said.

"At this stage we don't deserve to be treated as a role model team because of our latest track record, but I think we have shown in the last couple of months we are taking that right step and we are changing and getting back to the swim team that Australians know and love."

Topics:  editors picks olympics swimming



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