Swimming-Australia says 'unacceptable' treatment of swimmers dates back decades

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Swimming Australia (SA) on Saturday acknowledged historical abuses of swimmers, some dating back decades, amid complaints of mistreatment from former athletes.

Australian swimming has been under the microscope since two-time Olympic silver medallist Madeline Groves withdrew from Tokyo Games trials, citing "mysogynistic perverts" in the sport.

In response, SA said it would set up an all-female panel to investigate the experience of women and girls in the sport.

"We acknowledge some members of the swimming community have experienced unacceptable behaviour, some of this dates back decades," SA said in a statement on Saturday.

"The work to address and remedy this has been ongoing."

The Australian newspaper reported on Friday that six former swimmers had submitted allegations of mistreatment to SA and engaged a lawyer to represent them.

The allegations from the unnamed swimmers included being body-shamed by coaches and suffering health problems after being trained too hard.

SA said it was not aware of "the nature or specifics" of the allegations but was deeply concerned about them.

"Swimming Australia has ethics and integrity processes in place, including independent avenues," it said.

"We will always investigate any complaint with rigour."

The federation also said it had met with Groves and had "productive discussions" with her.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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