Swimming: Australia's boss Nettlefold quits over 'private comments'

SYDNEY (AFP) - Swimming Australia's president Barclay Nettlefold resigned on Sunday after admitting to making comments inconsistent with the "standards expected of me".

Nettlefold, part of the overhaul of the sport after Australian swimming's disappointing 2012 Olympics, was stood down on Saturday over claims of inappropriate remarks towards a female team consultant.

He resigned on Sunday after admitting that the comments, which he said were "made in jest", were at odds with the culture he was trying to promote within swimming.

"I would like to announce that the Board of Swimming Australia has today accepted, with immediate effect, my resignation as president," Nettlefold said in a statement.

"There were some private comments I made in jest to my colleagues recently that were not consistent with the standards expected of me, standards I have urged to be incorporated into the future culture of Swimming Australia."

Recruited as part of an overhaul of the sport in the wake of the London Games, Nettlefold initiated two independent enquiries into swimming.

These found the swimming squad lacked leadership and that "toxic" incidents such as drunkenness and bullying had gone unchecked.

Among the revelations were that members of the six-man, 4x100m freestyle relay squad had taken sleeping pills banned by the Australian Olympic Committee and played pranks at a pre-Games training camp.

Nettlefold said his decision to step down would ensure positive change in swimming in Australia continued.

"I commend the people who have worked with me and supported the drive for change," he said. "They all have the institution of swimming in Australia at their heart and together I believe we have made great progress in a very short period of time."

London was Australian swimming's first Games without an individual gold medal since the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

The nation's haul in the pool of just one gold, six silvers and three bronzes was its lowest pool tally since 1992 in Barcelona.

Speaking to reporters briefly outside his home, Nettlefold said that by quitting, he was enabling the board to carry out its own investigation and "find out what really happened".

"I'll let the board do their work now," he said.

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