The Australian Institute of Sport has announced compulsory drug rehabilitation for its swimmers.
The move follows a spate of high-profile drink and drug related incidents involving retired swimmers such as Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett and Scott Miller.
Under the AIS’s new “pre-hab” program, swimmers will attend drug rehabilitation as part of their regular training regime.
AIS swimming coach Terry Swayback hopes the innovative training technique will make Australia’s swimmers better prepared for life in and out of the pool.
“Swimming is all about getting your times down,” says Swayback. “By putting young swimmers in pre-hab now, we can get them out of rehab quicker after they’ve retired. With any luck, these swimmers will then make comebacks and end up back in the pool where they belong.”
Swayback says the pre-hab training will also ensure young swimmers seek alternatives to Stilnox when letting off steam before major meets.
AIS to blame?
Anti-swimming groups remain sceptical and have accused the AIS of being part of the drug problem.
“The AIS is a cult,” says Sheryl-Anne Boover of retired swimmers’ welfare organisation, Fish Out of Water.
“The AIS drags kids out of bed at dawn and forces them to stare at lines day after day. It’s little wonder so many of them get hooked on drugs.”
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