Swim England chief Jane Nickerson ‘truly sorry’ over abuse and bullying claims
Swim England’s chief executive Jane Nickerson has said she is “truly sorry” to those athletes who have endured negative experiences including abuse and bullying in the sport.
Nickerson was speaking to mark the launch of the organisation’s new safeguarding and welfare policy, ‘Heart of Aquatics’, which it hopes will ensure a positive culture.
A number of swimmers have recently spoken out about incidents of ‘fat-shaming’ that led to weight-loss issues and fears that speaking out would lead to them being kicked off their teams.
We have vowed ‘to create a better future’ for everyone in our sports as part of a cultural change journey which will put members, coaches, teachers, parents, clubs and swim schools at the heart of aquatics.
Find out more ⤵️ #HeartOfAquatics
— Swim England (@Swim_England) March 8, 2023
Nickerson said: “Recent experiences across society and within our sports have shown in painful detail exactly why Heart of Aquatics is needed.
“We have a zero tolerance approach to poor behaviour but we have to be open and recognise that sadly not everyone has had the positive experience we would expect from participation in our sports.
“For that I am truly sorry.
“If we are to be successful in this cultural change journey then we need everyone in aquatics, in any role at any level, to commit to collectively doing everything we possibly can to deliver the positive, safe, welcoming environment and culture that we all want to see.
We have a zero tolerance approach to poor behaviour but we have to be open and recognise that sadly not everyone has had the positive experience we would expect from participation in our sports. For that I am truly sorry.
Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson
“That change must start with us and everyone at Swim England is committed to playing our role in making this a success for the benefit of everyone.”
Open water swimmer Cassie Patten, who won a bronze medal for Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, said she suffered from “disordered eating” after years of negative comments.
Swim England says as part of the new programme it will listen to the experiences of those involved at every level of the sport in order to take “proactive formative action” where appropriate.
It will also refer to independent experts in order to ensure the continued successful delivery of the programme, in order that the organisation can continue to evolve and improve.