South African Inquiry Team Complete
Sep 17, 2008
Craig Lord

Two former swimmers have been appointed to join lawyer Norman Arendse as members of a team appointed to investigate complaints brought to the attention of Swimming SA following the Beijing Olympics. The nature of those complaints is not revealed in a federation statement today.

Kirsten van Heerden and Rowan Meth are the swimmers. Their appointment followed a meeting on September 6 in Germiston between representatives of Swimming SA, including its president, Jace Naidoo, and members of the South African Olympic team.

"At the meeting all parties agreed to work together towards finding ways and means to make the sport an obvious choice of sports career for promising swimmers," according to the federation statement. "During the meeting, Naidoo announced that Arendse had been appointed to speak to the athletes and team management on a one-on-one basis to establish the cause of unhappiness. He further assured the athletes that all submissions would be treated with the utmost confidentiality."

Naidoo added: “Besides being a former SA team swimmer, Kirsten is a practicing sports psychologist in Durban, while Rowan has a legal and labour relations background. Swimming SA is confident that this highly credible team will be able to identify areas of concern so that the sport can be taken to the next level. Initially, we planned on wrapping up the process by month-end, but it may run well into October, if that is what it takes for a thorough investigation to be completed."

Complaints among South African swimmers ranged from the treatment by Olympic officials of Natalie Du Toit to the poor relationship between team captain Gerhard Zandberg and the likes of Roland Schoeman, while there is no love lost between head coach Dirk Lange and Ryk Neethling, according to statements made by the swimmer. All in all, a fine mess to sort out.