Nick D'Arcy. Photo: Nick Moir
EVIDENCE of a deal between Swimming Australia and disgraced butterfly star Nick D'Arcy can be found on the organisation's own website, retired swimming champion Simon Cowley said yesterday.
Cowley, 31, the Commonwealth Games triple gold medallist whose face was rebuilt after D'Arcy king-hit him in a Sydney bar in 2008, said an archived media release on the website undermined Swimming Australia president David Urquhart's denial on the weekend that a deal had been struck with D'Arcy, who has been selected to swim at the London Olympics.
Cowley said last week that the organisation's chief executive, Kevin Neil, had told him in 2009 that D'Arcy had threatened to sue Swimming Australia after it barred him from competing at the world championships in Rome that year.
Cowley said Neil told him that, in exchange for D'Arcy dropping the threat, Swimming Australia had shelved a judiciary committee inquiry into D'Arcy's behaviour, and guaranteed he would be welcome on future teams.
On Saturday, Swimming Australia president David Urquhart told reporters: ''There was no deal done with anyone about anything as far as I was concerned.''
But yesterday Cowley stood by his claim and pointed to a media statement released by Swimming Australia on April 23, 2009, in which Urquhart was quoted as saying: ''It was good to be able to speak to Nick and also his family and lawyers and come to an agreement that all parties were satisfied with.''
In a previous media release, on April 7, 2009, Swimming Australia had said the decision to bar D'Arcy from the Rome team would not affect an investigation being undertaken by its judiciary committee into whether he had breached the organisation's general by-laws.
But the April 23 statement said not only that Swimming Australia had ''come to an agreement with Nicholas D'Arcy regarding his swimming future'' but had decided ''that the referral to the judiciary committee is no longer required''.
Under Swimming Australia's behavioural guidelines, competitors are required to be ''ethical, considerate, fair and honest''; refrain from any form of abuse, harassment or victimisation of others; and ''be a positive role model''.
Cowley said the organisation appeared to have overlooked those requirements when it recommended to the Australian Olympic Committee that D'Arcy be included in the Australian team for London.