Australian swimmer Maddie Groves lashed out at 'misogynistic perverts' in sport

Sydney (AFP) - Blaming “misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers”, dual Olympic silver medallist Maddie Groves has pulled out of Australia’s swimming trials for the Tokyo Games.

The 26-year-old, who came second in the 200-metre butterfly and 4x100 medley relay at the 2016 Rio Olympics, made the shock decision ahead of the trials starting in Adelaide on Saturday.

“Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers,” she said on Instagram late Thursday in explaining the move.

“You can no longer exploit young women and girls, body shame or medically gaslight them and then expect them to represent you so you can earn your annual bonus. Time’s UP.”

The target of her comments was not clear, but last November she complained on Twitter about “a person that works at swimming making me feel uncomfortable the way they stare at me in my togs”.

She also wrote days later about a “creepy comment” made by an unnamed coach, who she said apologised 15 minutes later “possibly cause the team psych told him to”.

Swimming Australia said in a statement it attempted to make contact with Groves late last year.

“Swimming Australia reached out to Maddie in December 2020 to enquire about a tweet sent by her that referenced potential abuse by someone connected with swimming,” it said.

“Maddie declined to provide further information nor do we have any previous complaints on record from Maddie.”

“All allegations concerning child abuse or sexual misconduct are taken seriously by Swimming Australia,” the governing body added.

Despite withdrawing from the trials, Groves indicated she was not calling time on her career, saying she looked forward to “racing at some other competitions later in the year”.