• Swimming coach accused of abuse

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    • Published in Sports

     A Spanish swimming coach was accused of abuse by her trainees.

    A group of former Spanish synchronised swimmers have accused their ex-coach of abusive training methods in an open letter published on Tuesday.


    Anna Tarres was not kept on after her contract expired on September 6, and the Spanish Swimming Federation unveiled a new coach, Esther Jauma, and a new technical director, Ana Montero, on Tuesday.


    Fifteen synchronised swimmers, who all trained under Tarres at some point in their careers, revealed the methods used by their coach in a letter that was published by various Spanish newspapers.


    "Today we have decided to come together to tell our story and give a voice to all the things that, until now, have remained hidden behind all the medals that have been won," they explain in the letter, which is titled, "When evil can be avoided, it would be foolish to just accept it."


    Neus Segui, Jordina Pallarols and Julia Casals Martinez, who represented Spain in the pool until 2003, are among the swimmers who describe Tarres as a "despot."


    "Somehow, people made us believe that Anna was an immovable object," the letter went on. "You were either with her or against her and if you were against her you could say goodbye to your career."


    In their letter, the swimmers list a variety of different ways in which Tarres humiliated and degraded them.


    " You have done well, but you are so fat that I cannot afford to disfigure the team by putting you in it ," Tarres allegedly told one swimmer, who wished to remain anonymous but who admitted to later suffering from bulimia because of the comments.


    Tarres, a native of Barcelona who competed at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, has insisted that her "conscience is very clear" after Spain won four Olympic medals, 26 world titles and 25 European titles under her tutelage.


    "We are partly to blame for having believed for so long that noone would listen to us," the letter went on, explaining why they had not spoken out before.


    "Spanish sport must not accept, nor feel any pride, at winning medals at absolutely any price."




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