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Aussie swimmers banned from giving interviews

July 20, 2013
Australia's swimmers have been kept away from the media before the world titles in Barcelona. Picture: Alex Coppel Source: DailyTelegraph

Australia’s swimmers have been kept away from the media before the world titles in Barcelona. Picture: Alex Coppel Source: DailyTelegraph

Australian swimming boss Michael Scott wants an ”under the radar” approach to next week’s world titles in Barcelona demanding his team creates headlines with actions rather than words.

Taking advantage of a low-key staging camp for the past week in Barcelona, Scott, the high performance director,  has declined interview requests for swimmers this week as they look to rebuild from the London Olympics disaster.

Public comments by James Magnussen and his relay teammates put unnecessary pressure on the team last year and the new ”performance culture” demands swimmers are more respectful in the media.

Magnussen and a select group of swimmers are scheduled to talk to the media on the eve of the event, which starts on Saturday, but for now Scott wants a distraction free preparation for his team in Spain.

”We’re just really having what I call a low-key, but professional camp,” Scott said.

”We want to focus in a relaxed and under-the-radar type approach.

”As a team we’re quite strong on the principle that we want to do our talking in the pool, not out of the pool.

”Obviously we will have our media conferences closer to the meet but at this stage we just want a relaxed and enjoyable environment where they can focus on their preparation.”

Swimming could do with some positive publicity right now. The sport lost its major sponsor just over a month ago and the world titles will not be screened on any Australian television network.

Scott said he would gauge success in Barcelona on two factors: individuals swimming faster than they did at trials and team unity.

If he gets both, he knows medals will flow.

”The key measure for me personally in year one of this journey is to achieve significantly higher than the 29 per cent that Australia achieved in London in terms of time improvements from the trials to the championships,” he said.

”It’s very important that we make steps forward in terms of our performance culture and our team unity, working together to individually improve but collectively as a team improve as well.

”If those two things happen, given the standard of athlete we have on the team, then I believe that the public expectation of medals and those sorts of things will come.”

Among some of the changes for the team has been the appointment of an integrity officer, sports psychologist and new head of sports science since London.

”We’re building a new team, it’s year one of a four-year journey,” Scott said

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