Swimming: Australian head coach takes leave after "complaint"
Tue, Dec 08, 2009

SYDNEY - The head coach of Australia's national swim team, Alan Thompson, has taken leave from his job after a claim of "inappropriate behaviour" was made against him, Swimming Australia chief executive Kevin Neil said on Monday.

Neil released a statement saying that Thompson had agreed to take personal leave after Swimming Australia was notified by local media of an "anonymous" and "unsubstantiated" claim involving him.

"The Swimming Australia Board discussed the matter and Alan has agreed to take personal leave while we look into it further," the statement read.

"As far as we know, the claim is not of a criminal nature."

Swimming Australia's announcement was made shortly before Neil was due to hold a news conference in Canberra to discuss separate allegations made against the late Terry Buck, a former Australian Olympic swimmer and coach.

Neil said the allegations made against Buck and Thompson were "separate and in no way related".

Local media had earlier reported that Buck, who died in a tractor accident in 2005, had been investigated by Australian police between 1998 and 2001 over claims he sexually abused a number of elite swimmers dating back to the 1960s.

A former Olympic medallist, whose identity was not revealed, told local media the case was dropped because of insufficient evidence but should be reopened.

Neil said Swimming Australia was unaware of any police investigation or complaints about the former coach.

"Swimming Australia takes any allegation or incident seriously and we are appalled at the nature of these allegations," Neil said.

"Swimming Australia has never received any complaint in relation to Terry Buck, and while I did not know the man, many people speak highly of him."

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