Swimmer admits to childish pranks
Tommaso D'Orsogna. Photo: Lyn Mills
MEMBERS of Australia's swimming team behaved more like schoolboys than Olympians in camp before the London Games, according to a member of the under-fire men's 4x100-metres freestyle relay team.
Heat swimmer Tommaso D'Orsogna has spoken out about allegations of misbehaviour within the team and said a deterioration of team cohesion in recent years contributed to its underperforming in London.
D'Orsogna also claimed some members were ''putting themselves up higher than the rest of the team''.
Admitting he was among those who ''misbehaved'', D'Orsogna told the Ten Network that members of the men's relay team engaged in ''disappointing'' behaviour during the team's pre-Games training camp in Manchester, including making prank calls and knocking on bedroom doors.
''I suppose the thing is, people are kind of saying 'it's just boys being being boys' but unfortunately I come back and I look back on that kind of thing and maybe that would be acceptable in schoolboys rugby … but this is the Australian Olympic team,'' 21-year-old D'Orsogna said.
''That kind of behaviour shouldn't be tolerated, nor should it be allowed.
''I can definitely confirm that there's no way that any other Australian team that went away to the Olympics would have been mucking around and doing that stuff.''
Asked about allegations members of the six-man relay team, also featuring James Magnussen, Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett, James Roberts and Cameron McEvoy, had also devised an ''initiation ritual'' that involved taking sleeping drug Stilnox - which was banned from the Australian Olympic team - D'Orsogna said: ''I'm not going to be the guy that stands up here and lies to Australia, but at the same time I'm just not going to comment.''
Australia's swimmers claimed only one gold medal in London, their worst haul since the 1992 Barcelona Games. Favoured for gold, the men's 4x100m freestyle relay team failed to win a medal and finished fourth in their final.
The Swimming Australia board is preparing to launch a review of the performance, expected to be headed by former swimmers and board members Kieren Perkins and Tim Ford.
Veteran Libby Trickett described the behaviour as childish.
''I did hear about the knocking on doors and prank phone calls,'' Trickett said yesterday.
''I kind of look at this and think this is very childish.
''I'm all for having a good time and being light-hearted, but I just think there's a time and place.''