2021 Independent Panel Report Response

Swimming Australia Response to the Independent Panel Report

In June 2021, Swimming Australia commissioned an independent report to better understand the experiences of women and girls within the sport. With female involvement at 60% of the 6 million participant base, this was a critical step in enabling a positive experience for all.

The Independent Panel’s report and recommendations have now been received and Swimming Australia is very grateful to the Panel and the participants who came forward to share their experiences.

The feedback was open and frank and there were experiences recounted that were difficult to read. We want to reassure those who came forward that the sport is committed to change to ensure these negative experiences are not repeated and apologises unreservedly to those impacted.

The Independent Panel was tasked with a solution-focussed inquiry to understand issues facing participants in swimming within a performance environment.

The key areas of inquiry included:

  1. The current structures and systems within Australian swimming that influence and impact the experience of participants, particularly girls and women in swimming
  2. The overall experiences of swimmers in relation to the behaviours, conduct and practices of persons in positions of authority
  3. The impact on the experience of women and girls of having few or no female coaches in the swimming environment
  4. The communication to female swimmers by coaches and others about physiological benchmarks of elite sport such as weight, skin folds and body shape and the psychological impact that has on the wellbeing of swimmers
  5. The effectiveness of the current complaints process, including any perceived or real barriers to making complaints or the handling of any complaints.

The six month review was comprehensive, with more than 150 participants spanning former and current athletes, parents, coaches, technical officials, volunteers and administrators.

In accordance with the Terms of Reference, the Independent Panel of Chris Ronalds AO SC, Ms Katherine Bates OLY and Professor Alexandra (Alex) Parker submitted their confidential written report to the Chairs of Swimming Australia and the Australian Sports Commission on 17th December 2021. The Panel recently presented findings to the full Swimming Australia Board.

Broadly, the review found that Swimming Australia must address the coaching gender imbalance, coaching culture, education and accreditation, governance structures, and the complaints process.

The key findings and recommendations from the report cover a range of themes including:

  1. Systems, structures and processes
  2. Coach accreditation and education
  3. Assessment and management of body composition
  4. Cultural change and leadership
  5. The complaints process

The report also identified issues that affect athlete experiences and wellbeing at all levels of the sport, including a fear and pressure to perform, speaking out, and more broadly control and the coaching culture. It is acknowledged that, particularly for young female athletes, some of their experiences have had longer term impacts. We again unreservedly apologise to those members of the swimming community who have had a negative experience.

A total of 46 recommendations were identified by the Independent Panel. Swimming Australia commits to addressing each and every recommendation from the Independent Panel report. In the interests of transparency and accountability, the full list of recommendations are available below and will remain on the Swimming Australia website and updated as progress is made in each of these areas. We believe the report and recommendations will provide a strong roadmap for our organisation to improve across all five key themes identified in the report.

While a number of recommendations have highlighted areas in which Swimming Australia requires significant work, there are a number of recommendations where progress has already been made. These include Women in Performance Coaching programs, the agreement to adopt the Sport Integrity Australia National Integrity Framework with a full suite of policies and procedures, including the independent complaint handling process, and the Female Performing Physique program, that takes into consideration positive psychology, risk of disordered eating/eating disorders, positive language and culture, LEA and RED-s consequences, measurement and monitoring as part of the workshop based education program for coaches. We also have gender equality across our Board and senior management staff.

An Implementation Steering Group has been tasked with the important role of addressing these recommendations. It will be Chaired by Doctor Michelle Gallen (Director, Swimming Australia) and include Sally Howe (Director, Swimming Australia), Matti Clements (Acting CEO, AIS), Jason Hellwig (CEO, Swimming Victoria), Narelle Simpson (Former Australian Swimming Coach and Owner, NS Swim Schools), Greg Shaw (General Manager, Performance Support Swimming Australia) and Ellie Cole (four time Paralympian and Australian Swimmers’ Association Executive) with secretariat provided by Ana Croger (General Counsel, Swimming Australia). Some information on the members and their respective qualifications and experience is found below.

Swimming Australia President Kieren Perkins has reaffirmed our steadfast commitment to enact genuine change.

“The Swimming Australia Board acknowledges the ultimate collective responsibility and commitment in addressing these recommendations rests with the Board and the Executive Team in delivering and committing to meaningful and enduring change, being transparent and regaining and earning the trust of our athletes and our entire community,” Perkins said.

“The Board is committed to leading the organisation through this process of positive cultural change. They look forward to driving long term change alongside the community including the athlete cohort, participants, parents, Member Organisations, stakeholders, coaches and staff.”

Independent Panel member, Chris Ronalds AO SC, expressed the Panel’s gratitude to all those who participated in the review and supported Swimming Australia’s path forward to meaningful change.

“We’d like to thank everyone who came forward with their submissions and gave us their time to talk through their experiences. We acknowledge their courage for agreeing to talk with us,” Ronalds AO SC said.

“We’re very encouraged after our conversation with Swimming Australia that they are committed to taking these steps towards creating positive change. We acknowledge the Swimming Australia Board and their openness in listening to our findings and creating accountability around the implementation of the recommendations to ensure the sport and all participants are in the best place moving forward.”

The Implementation Steering Group will meet regularly to ensure each recommendation is thoroughly reviewed with a plan of action and timeline documented, with the initial meeting being scheduled for late January. They will hold the Swimming Australia Board and Executive to account for the implementation.

With a number of the recommendations including the grassroots and junior levels of the sport, we also look forward to working with state & territory associations, clubs, the athlete and coach community and key stakeholders at the Australian Sports Commission and Sports Integrity Australia as part of this process.

While we cannot release the full report due to the confidentiality guaranteed to participants, the themes of the report are clear in the recommendations and provide public accountability for our steps forward.

Swimming Australia appreciates that this has been a challenging time for athletes, coaches, staff and the broader community. We thank everyone that has contributed and remain resolute in our commitment to continually improving our sport to ensure it is a safe and thriving environment for all participants from grassroots through to the elite level.

Support for participants continues to be made available. If participants or any member of the swimming community would like support or to report any matters, please contact the free and confidential AIS Be Heard hotline (1800 565 965), email (aisbeheard@coreintegrity.com.au) or ais.gov.au/AISBe-Heard

Recommendations

  • Recommendations
  • Recommendation #1: That the various Codes of Conduct and the Member Protection Policy be amalgamated and then divided into sections with a clear delineation of the coverage, including:

    1. a single clear title - the Code of Conduct,
    2. the position or title of the persons covered by the general provisions such as currently set out in clause 5.4 of the Member Protection Policy,
    3. the rights and responsibilities imposed through the Code of Conduct on the conduct, performance and behaviour of all persons covered,
    4. the specific provisions where further rights and responsibilities are imposed with clear indication of when and where they arise for specific nominated positions, such as clause 4 of the Swimmer & Team Member Code of Conduct,
    5. the rights and responsibilities for bystanders who observe a breach of the Code of Conduct,
    6. the complaint process and procedures,
    7. the disciplinary process,
    8. the range of potential outcomes.

    Recommendation #2: That Swimming Australia staff employment agreements are amended to ensure confidentiality for swimmers are maintained.

    1. Conversations and disclosures made by swimmers to SA staff members who are bound by professional registration and practice standards such as any allied health practitioner, remain confidential in line with regulations and expectations whereby the practitioner cannot disclose confidential information unless there is an immediate and specific risk of harm to the swimmer or other identifiable person/s. This includes medical records, or data kept by the practitioner (commonly referred to as “support staff” by Swimming Australia) or by Swimming Australia.
    2. All other Swimming Australia staff, by way of their employment agreement, should be bound by the same standards of confidentiality and disclosure as above mentioned professional standards.
    3. Any disclosure of confidential information, unless under circumstances permitted by professional standards such as addressing an immediate and specified risk of harm, should be considered a direct breach of their employment contract.

    Recommendation #3:

    That Swimming Australia review, update and maintain their policy regarding the storage and ownership of information relating to swimmer health and performance, including testing results, biometric information and performance data. This policy should be readily available on the SA website, and shared with swimmers.

    Recommendation #4:

    That clause 15 of the Swimmer Agreement is amended to ensure that:

    1. When seeking access to health files or other information shared with medical and support staff and when such information being sought is considered confidential, Swimming Australia should:
      1. Provide written notice to the swimmer, detailing the reason they are seek access to medical files, including the specific concern they are seeking information on, as well as the provider they will contact.
      2. Where access is agreed to by the swimmer, the swimmer will sign an authority to proceed with such information gathering.
      3. Provide for swimmers to reasonably refuse such a request.
      4. Allow for swimmers to provide permission in a limited form, for example, by specifying who will have access to the information or for how long the information can be stored.
    2. With each request for access to information, Swimming Australia should provide the following information to the swimmer:
      1. A proposed list of people who will have direct access to the information, including names and positions in the organisation, and a short explanation of the reason for that access
      2. Where the information will be stored and who will have direct access to those files.
      3. The length of time the information will be stored for.
      4. Permission to access such information should be done on a case by case basis, with each request for access to be treated as a new request for the medical information.

    Recommendation #5:

    That the process of the collection of Swimmer Agreements is amended so that:

    1. Swimmers receive their agreement with their name printed on the document, including on the front page, as well as the execution pages.
    2. There is a seven day period within which the swimmer can review and properly consider the agreement before executing and returning.
    3. Swimming Australia provide a mechanism for swimmers to seek clarification and further understanding

    Recommendation #6:

    That the re-accreditation process for coaches be revised to an annual requirement.

    Recommendation #7:

    That as part of re-accreditation, all coaches must have current appropriate insurances, including a minimum of $5,000,000 for professional indemnity and $20,000,000 for public liability.

    Recommendation #8:

    That the mandatory curriculum requirements for accreditation and re-accreditation be immediately reviewed by the education provider and then regularly reviewed on a 3-4 year cycle to ensure that all content is relevant, informed by the available evidence base and best practice guidelines, and has internal integrity and rigour.

    Recommendation #9:

    That the Coaching Courses provided by Swimming Australia be revised by the education provider to include additional content specific to:

    1. Female specific health concerns, with content developed in consultation with or drawing on the resources provided by the AIS Female Performance Health Initiative, to address:
      1. Menstrual cycle and associated dysfunction including endometriosis and Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), including the physical and psychosocial impacts of menstruation during training and competitions,
      2. Medical conditions impacting female athletes
      3. Adolescent development and body changes during puberty, including early warning signs of any issues that may develop during this stage of life, and
      4. Additional female health concerns including pelvic floor and breast heath, pregnancy and returning to sport, where relevant.
    2. Comprehensive skills training in conducting respectful conversations regarding menstruation onset and managing menstruation during training and competitions, including when and how to involve parents, as well as general skills in conducting conversations from a place of understanding and empathy.
    3. Physical and mental wellbeing issues that include:
      1. Replacing content that addresses the Female Athlete Triad with the new term endorsed by the IOC, Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED- S), including education on the detection, diagnosis and management of RED-S,
      2. Challenging the misinformed view that lean body mass predicts performance,
      3. Including the directions from the AIS on Body Composition Assessment and Disordered Eating Early Identification and Prevention Policy, once this is adapted for its context by Swimming Australia,
      4. Training in using humanising and non-objectifying language in managing body image concerns.

    Recommendation #10:

    That the Swimmer Welfare online learning module that is currently included as an Elective Unit within the Advanced and Performance Coaching Courses be expanded from its focus on ASADA regulations and anti-doping content to include physical and mental wellbeing. Further, this module should be a Core Unit for both the Advanced and Performance Coaching Courses

    Recommendation #11:

    That specific enhancements are made by the education provider to the existing Coaching Courses that are run by Swimming Australia, including the addition of:

    1. Interactive learning through videos and a broader range of case studies to reinforce theoretical content, addressing topics such as physical and mental wellbeing, puberty and menstruation,
    2. assessment of body composition and transitioning out of swimming, to be co-designed and co-created with swimmers, parents, support staff and content experts.
    3. Experiential learning activities (for example, the use of role plays and other methods of “learning by doing”) in the Advanced and Performance course workshops.
    4. Practical assessments (for example, submission of audio or video recordings) to demonstrate knowledge, skills and development of core competencies, to supplement the written assessments and online quizzes.
    5. Pre-determined topics for the Mentoring Connections in the Advanced and Performance Coaching Courses to include key issues such as managing puberty, assessing body composition, preventing disordered eating and developing skills in using understanding and empathy to engage in sensitive topics and potentially challenging conversations.
    6. Setting a threshold for the minimum hours required for direct observation of the practical coaching hours, to be observed by the mentor or another appointed Performance Coach.
    7. Amending the language in current coach education materials to be more inclusive and respectful towards women (for example, remove existing descriptions such as “large thighs” when describing the bodies of female swimmers.)
    8. Integrating training on how to “be an ally” to increase the capacity of all coaching staff, but especially the male coaches, to understand the impacts of bullying and exclusion of female coaches and enhance opportunities for creating meaningful change for gender equity.

    Recommendation #12:

    That all levels of coaches and support staff are required to complete the accredited Mental Health First Aid Training course provided by the organisation of Mental Health First Aid Australia to complement the requirements of (physical) First Aid and CPR training. This training should be completed by all current coaches and support staff as soon as practicable. The training should be a standard requirement of the Coaching Courses and part of the future on-boarding process for support staff employed by Swimming Australia from 2022 onwards.

    Recommendation #13:

    That the impact and effectiveness of the Coaching Courses, as well as Swimming Australia’s guidelines and policies on the safety, wellbeing and experiences of swimmers be formally evaluated every two years by gathering quantitative (surveys) and qualitative (interviews and/or case studies) data from swimmers, parents and coaches, conducted by an independent research organization.

    Recommendation #14:

    That as a matter of urgency, Swimming Australia contextualises the AIS “Disordered Eating Early Identification and Prevention Guidelines/Policy Template for Sporting Organisations” for the purposes of the sport of swimming and integrates the expertise of relevant stakeholders, including current and former swimmers, parents of swimmers and allied health professionals with expertise in body image/satisfaction and disordered eating.

    This framework will likely integrate the body of work Swimming Australia is currently undertaking in developing the Performing Physique Principles.

    This guideline and policy should be implemented in 2022 and revised on an annual basis to ensure it remains evidence-informed and reflects the currently available best- practice principles. Revisions may also be required if and when the AIS updates its advice and relevant documents.

    Recommendation #15:

    That Swimming Australia implements the Principles of Body Composition Assessment, as per the guidance from the AIS on “Body Composition Assessment”, with additional provisions of relevance to swimming, namely:

    1. Establish an expectation across all levels of the swimming hierarchy that the underpinning philosophy to “do no harm" and ensure positive outcomes for the athlete is adhered to and accepted as part of standard practice.
    2. Any body composition assessment must be justified and have a supporting rationale to conduct any body composition assessment that is documented and shared with the swimmer, their coaches and support staff.
    3. Unjustified routine periodic screening must be avoided. Body composition assessment should be conducted at a maximum of twice per annum, unless there is a justified need (for example, monitoring recovery from injury).
    4. Swimmers should be empowered to have ownership over body composition assessment, by being provided with choice and decision making capacity and personal control of how their body is being assessed. The swimmer can choose their preferred method for assessment and how the data will be used, without consequence.
    5. Compulsory assessments and group settings should be avoided. Each swimmer should be treated as an individual. Swimmers can decide to opt out of body composition assessments. All assessments should be conducted privately and confidentially.
    6. Potential risks and benefits of assessment are identified and considered for each and every individual swimmer. This may require consideration of relevant information from the swimmer’s personal physical and mental health history and specific factors that place them at increased risk for the development of disordered eating or eating disorders.
    7. Considerations are made to ensure that all swimmers and their bodies are treated with due respect
    8. Body composition data is considered as sensitive and confidential information and should not be disclosed by the assessor without the permission of the swimmer.

    Recommendation #16:

    That when finalising its “Performance Physique Principles” framework, Swimming Australia carefully considers the language used. The term “physique” has meaning and consequences, including over-valuing body shape and size in terms of its impact on performance. It is therefore recommended that Swimming Australia remove the term “physique” from this set of Principles and ensure that additional relevant factors that influence performance, such as sleep quality, nutrition to care for and fuel the body, healthy relationships and maintaining connections, education and employment, and stress management, are emphasised. A new term to replace “physique” and to encapsulate performance language could be mutually decided upon with swimmers.

    Recommendation #17:

    That Swimming Australia preferences DEXA scans as the measure of body composition over body mass weighing (scales).

    Recommendation #18:

    That Swimming Australia demonstrates clear leadership in relation to industry practice by not using or permitting the use of surface anthropometry, specifically skin folds, as a measure of body composition at any stage of a swimmer’s career

    Recommendation #19:

    That a pathway for reporting breaches of the guidelines or policies for “Disordered Eating Early Identification and Prevention" be established and coaches or support staff found in breach of the guidelines be subjected to a penalty, including being mandated to complete professional development in the assessment of body composition.

    Recommendation #20:

    That Swimming Australia issues a public statement to acknowledge that the practice of assessing body composition is harmful to swimmers.

    Recommendation #21:

    That Swimming Australia articulate its values as an organisation, to be promoted on its website and via social media, including:

    1. Embedding a holistic approach to managing swimmers’ success, that values wellbeing as equally as important as performance,
    2. Committing to workplace conditions that do not accept or tolerate bullying, exclusion, harassment, belittling or humiliation of colleagues, especially women coaches and support staff and no longer condoning any identified inappropriate conduct or behaviour of coaches with continued appointment in senior roles, and
    3. Establishing organisational strategies to enhance the leadership and pathway development opportunities for women, including addressing workplace conditions by promoting job sharing arrangements, providing domestic assistance as part of salary packaging and other strategies that will complement the existing micro-level or individual training offered to women to advance their careers in swimming.

    Recommendation #22:

    That Swimming Australia develops a process to properly address SA integrity concerns and swimmer complaints which are ventilated in any public forum such as social media, in a meaningful way which maintains the integrity of the complaints system, provides confidence in the transparency of the organisation and acknowledges the complainant’s right to lodge an individual complaint.

    Recommendation #23:

    That when selecting coaching and support staff for teams, Swimming Australia do so in reference to a selection matrix which weighs knowledge of skills with a “character test”. This should be done using information provided by the SA integrity unit, including:

    1. Active complaint information,
    2. Previous complaint information including reasoned outcome summary, and
    3. Any information otherwise held by SA regarding conduct.

    Recommendation #24:

    That Swimming Australia show cultural leadership by prioritising behavioural standards over a coach’s performance standards. The athletes’ welfare must be the primary driver for coach selection.

    Recommendation #25:

    That Swimming Australia mandate the completion of unconscious bias training for all Board members, executive staff, and staff within the high performance unit, and for unconscious bias training to be included as standard on-boarding procedures for all new staff.

    Recommendation #26:

    That Swimming Australia establish quotas for female representation amongst Advanced and Performance coaches to enhance the leadership and pathway development training opportunities. Best practices examples from World Rugby and AFLW can be used to model SA’s policies

    Recommendation #27:

    That Swimming Australia commits to never again selecting an all-male team for national and international competitions and ensures that a minimum number of women coaches are included – no less than two women when four or more coaches are selected and at least one woman where there are three or less coaches selected.

    Recommendation #28:

    That Swimming Australia establish a taskforce to promote gender equality and appoint an experienced leader external to SA to lead the taskforce. The taskforce will be responsible for investigating and implementing the required changes to policies and practices to advance leadership opportunities for women as coaches, officials, administrators and executives. In addition, the taskforce will be responsible for implementing policies and practices, as well as monitoring the impact of the professional development, education and training courses for coaches’ accreditation on the physical and mental wellbeing of girls and women athletes in the sport of swimming, from club-level through to high performance. Established immediately, the taskforce should conduct its work until the conclusion of the 2024 Olympic cycle. At this time, an independent review can determine if the taskforce continues or concludes. Data from the survey in Recommendation #12 could be used to inform this decision.

    Recommendation #29:

    That Performance Coaches who are mentoring other coaches in the Advanced or Performance Coaching Courses be required to engage in professional development activities or formal mentoring themselves, provided by former athletes with appropriate qualifications in health, wellbeing or management and/or mental health clinicians without sports expertise (e.g., developmental, educational or clinical psychologist). This mentoring should not be provided by former coaches who lack the formal qualifications to do so.

    Recommendation #30:

    That Swimming Australia demonstrates its commitment to cultural change by organising and holding an online thought leadership forum on an annual basis, to critically examine theoretical and practical content of relevance to advancing the integrity of swimming, supporting female coach development, and the physical and mental wellbeing of all those involved in the sport

    Recommendation #31:

    That Swimming Australia demonstrate its knowledge and leadership by delivering online seminars, twice per annum, for Development coaches, swim club staff, swimming officials, and parents, addressing topics that are key topics such as the physical health and mental wellbeing of swimmers, focusing on women and girls, parental and swimmer expectations and behaviours, and respectful conversations.

    Recommendation #32:

    That public information campaigns be redesigned, where they are sensitive and responsive to the audience they are seeking to reach. Such material can usefully be co-designed with the focus group, such as children and young people.

    Recommendation #33:

    That Swimming Australia and all other Member Organisations where complaints are referred conducts and publishes an annual report on complaint data and information in an anonymised form with the minimal information of:

    1. the number of complaints lodged,
    2. number pursued or withdrawn,
    3. processes undertaken such as independent investigation or a hearing tribunal,
    4. outcomes for the respondent and, if appropriate, the complainant,
    5. anonymised case studies of the content of a complaint, process followed and outcome presented in one or two paragraphs,
    6. such information to be on the SA website and updated annually.

    Recommendation #34:

    That a document, preferably one page in length and no more than two pages, be published on the SA website and in other appropriate forum and places that sets out the coverage of the various code of conduct and related policies by area and the place where they can be located.

    Recommendation #35:

    That the Board conduct a review of the policies and procedures which cover the role and function of Board members in that role to formulate new policies which meet acceptable NFP and NSO governance standards.

    Recommendation #36:

    That all codes of conduct and related policies have a review mechanism to be conducted through an independent process on a regular ongoing basis to ensure that these policies continue to be fit for purpose and represent best practice in the NSO and NFP sectors.

    Recommendation #37:

    That Swimming Australia commission an independent review of its duty of care obligations including of the Board and staff, and specifically coaches, to ensure that their standard of conduct meets good governance requirements and community expectations.

    Recommendation #38:

    That Swimming Australia develop a policy that provides it has the power to initiate a review of a staff member or an accredited coach when they become aware of any conduct or behaviour issues which may indicate a breach of the Code of Conduct or related policies without the necessity of a formal complaint being made.

    Recommendation #39:

    That when Swimming Australia is hiring staff, including casual or contract based staff, that they consider information provided by the SA integrity unit, including:

    1. active complaint information,
    2. previous complaint information including reasoned outcome summary, and
    3. any information otherwise held by SA regarding conduct.

    Recommendation #40:

    That the Board of Swimming Australia adopt a whistle-blower policy with an appropriate contact point such as a hotline telephone service, consistent with the terms of the Regulatory Guide on Whistleblower Policies, RG 270, of ASIC.

    Recommendation #41:

    That Swimming Australia provides sufficient long term funding to the Australian Swimmers Association (ASA) in order to enhance ASA capabilities to provide athletes enhanced representation and advocacy by the following measures:

    1. A modernised website and social media presence to be user friendly and visible to swimmers and to include access to information on available complaint mechanisms and processes, areas that are covered by a code of conduct and other relevant policies and possible outcomes for both the complainant and the respondent.
    2. ASA to provide a support person to attend interviews with a Swimming Australia integrity unit staff member or independent investigator appointed by SA.
    3. ASA to facilitate access to independent legal advice and services through identified preferred providers, fee supplementation or other means.
    4. Broadening membership eligibility of ASA to all swimmers who are members of Swimming Australia or a Member Organisation of Swimming Australia.
    5. A continuation and enhancement of the Beyond the Black Line program by way of increased events, face to face or online, and increased content output to inform and support swimmers.
    6. SA to work with the ASA to build a sustainable funding program which may include membership fees or commercial revenue share.
    7. ASA to have input and involvement in any SA review of existing processes and policies from this Inquiry or otherwise
    8. ASA to be represented in commercial conversations which directly or indirectly impact the swimmers, including those relating to direct swimmer funding, broadcast rights and broader SA sponsorship.

    Recommendation #42:

    That Swimming Australia conduct an audit of current Board members through a skills matrix to ensure that the broad range of skills necessary for a modern, effective and responsive Board are present and to identify any gaps in required or necessary governance skills and then develop a strategy to fill those identified gaps.

    Recommendation #43:

    That Swimming Australia conduct an audit of its operations to develop a strategy which addresses the fundamental and entrenched conflicts of interest that are present from the federated model and develop a consultation process to reform the SA Constitution so that Board membership is an open process and not confined solely to members of Member Organisations.

    Recommendation #44:

    That Swimming Australia form an implementation subcommittee of the Board to address the recommendations of this Report by formulating an implementation action plan, with identified key performance indicators, timelines and milestones.

    Using an established implementation framework such as the behaviour change wheel may assist in this process.91 This evidence based framework addresses factors required to change behaviours, namely capability, opportunity and motivation. Supporting this ”hub” of behaviour change are nine intervention functions that aim to address deficits in one or more of capability, opportunity or motivation. Interventions can include education and training, modelling or incentives, as examples. Surrounding this are the policies and procedures that enable the interventions to take place, including guidelines and regulations. Applying the behaviour change wheel method for the purposes of advancing the sport of swimming would assist in developing the implementation action plan.

    Recommendation #45:

    A Board member be delegated the responsibility to deliver the implementation action plan and to report to the Board at each Board meeting and to report publicly on progress as and when appropriate.

    Recommendation #46:

    That the Board of Swimming Australia should strongly consider publicly releasing this Report in full and with all recommendations as soon as practical.

Implementation Steering Group Members

  • Dr Michelle Gallen
  • Michelle has a background in sports integrity, including a decade working in anti-doping and consideration of human rights as they relate to sport. She has a PhD in international sports law and is currently chair of Swimming Australia’s Integrity and Ethics Committee. Her previous roles include work with selection panels, appeals tribunals and the Australian Anti-Doping Rule Violation Committee. Michelle is currently an Executive Director with Queensland Government and leads large transformation programs, including cultural change for agencies. She has experience managing integrity issues in the workplace including bullying, sexual harassment, conflict of interest and fraud.

    Michelle is also an avid life-long swimmer, from club swimmer to elite representation and now participation in Masters. She is passionate about providing access to the benefits of swimming for everyone, l and ensuring that every swimmer’s experience in the sport is positive and productive.

  • Sally Howe
  • Sally is an experienced Non-Executive Director largely with consumer facing values based, complex and highly regulated NFP enterprises and is currently Chair of a Board risk, quality, and compliance subcommittee in a large and complex NFP health, disability and aged care business.

    A Graduate of the AICD and the AICD Boardroom Mastery program, has strong experience in leadership, collaboration and strategic partnerships coupled with a deep understanding of governance, risk and integrity. Executive and senior leadership health sector experience spans 35 years with roles across private, public, community, and primary health.

  • Matti Clements
  • Matti is Acting CEO of the Australian Institute of Sport. She joined the AIS in 2018 and is AIS Director of People Development and Wellbeing, a department that supports Australia’s high performance sporting industry across four key work functions: Wellbeing and Engagement (including Mental Health, Professional Development and Engagement); Coach Development; Leadership and Culture; and Workforce Development. Matti also chairs a number of AIS committees including the Athlete Wellbeing & Engagement Advisory Committee and the Reconciliation Action Plan Committee.

    Prior to the AIS, Matti was Director of Mental Edge Consulting, specialising in team and organisational culture, wellbeing, performance enhancement, professional development services and support systems for high performance sporting organisations. A qualified psychologist, Matti has over 15 years’ experience working with Australia’s top elite and professional sports at both a strategic and operational level for organisations including several AFL Clubs, Cricket Australia, Golf Australia, Netball Australia, Tennis Australia, AFL and the Australian Cricketers Association.

    Matti is currently the Independent Chairperson for the Australian Rugby Union Player Development. Previously Matti was the General Manager of People & Culture at the St Kilda Football Club in 2014.

  • Jason Hellwig
  • Jason has worked in the sports arena for more than 25 years. He grew up in Darwin and started his career in 1993 as General Manager of Northern Territory Athletics before moving to Melbourne to work for Athletics Australia in 1995, firstly as their Development Officer and then Development Manager, and finally as General Manager for 5 years.

    Whilst working for Athletics Australia Jason also achieved his MBA from the University of Ballarat. Jason then moved to the Australian Paralympic Committee spending time in both the Sydney and Melbourne offices as Director of Sport and later CEO from 2003 to 2015, leading the move for sports to lead and manage their Paralympic programs.

    During his time with the APC Jason was appointed the Chef de Mission for the Australian Paralympic Team, London 2012, and was Head of Sport at 6 Paralympic Games both Summer and Winter. Jason also managed the realisation of commercial broadcast rights value for the Paralympic Games from the ABC to Ch 7.

    Moving home to Melbourne with his young family in 2015, Jason is now the CEO of Swimming Victoria, with the focus on moving the sport forward with stronger governance and a more relevant member proposition. He is currently in a stressed relationship with the Carlton Football Club and more optimistically the Liverpool Football Club.

  • Greg Shaw
  • Greg Shaw is a Sports Dietitian with significant experience in sports nutrition. He has extensive experience in the nutrition requirements for swimming and is a Fellow of Sports Dietitians Australia. He is a level 3 Anthropometrist with the International Society of Kinanthropometry (ISAK). He has conducted research into the nutrition behaviours and requirements of swimmers and impact of RED-S.

    Greg is a former swimmer who has worked with numerous elite sports including Rugby Union, AFL, Swimming, Volleyball, Winter Sports and Rowing. He has been a member of the AIS supplement program panel and been involved in steering and developing new policies associated with nutrition and body composition assessment with AIS and national sporting organisations.

  • Narelle Simpson
  • Narelle has been involved in the Australian swim industry since her teens. Since 1997 she has placed swimmers on Olympic, Paralympic, World long and short course, Commonwealth Games, Pan-Pacs and major World Cup teams and, in 2001, became the first Australian female on a major Australian swim team in an individual coaching capacity.

    Narelle currently operates the NS Swim Schools, an institution in Sydney’s Northern Beaches since the 1990’s.

  • Ellie Cole
  • Ellie is Australia’s most decorated Paralympian having won 17 medals across four separate Games, including two at the most recent Tokyo Paralympics where she also served as Australia’s flag bearer in the Closing Ceremony.

    Ellie is also currently a member of the Australian Swimmers’ Association Executive Committee.

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