This post deals with suicide and sexual abuse and may be triggering for some readers.
Five years ago, Australia watched on as Maddie Groves took home two Olympic medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Years before, she had been sexually molested as a teenager by a man who still works in swimming today.
In an interview with ABC's 7:30 report on Wednesday, the 26-year-old continued to shine a light on the toxic culture of swimming, opening up about the abuse she experienced from age 13 to 18.
"When I was underage, on multiple occasions I was actually molested by an adult male," she told the ABC.
"At the time I didn’t feel like there was anyone I could tell about that. And there’s no-one in swimming that I would trust disclosing that to now, either."
Groves, who doesn't want to pursue criminal charges, chose not to name the alleged perpetrator but shared he still works in the sport.
"I haven’t made a complaint about this individual," she shared. "My experience from trying to make complaints about other people in sport was so discouraging, it really didn’t leave me feeling that making a complaint about this person would be any different to the others."
"I don’t think I really want to report it to police. It’s obviously a huge process emotionally, and it takes such a long time… and then it doesn’t necessarily end up working out that well.
"I’ve had a couple of other friends and people that I know in swimming that have been sexually abused and assaulted and they’ve been through that process. It ends up being really disappointing… and things don’t really seem to change. It’s sort of swept under the rug."
Swimming's history of abuse.
Groves said she decided to speak about the abuse after watching the ABC's investigation into former elite swimming coach, John Wright, earlier this year.
Wright was accused of sexually abusing a number of teenage boys he trained at Queensland pools in the 1980s and 1990, including swimmer Shane Lewis, who died unexpectedly in February this year.
The coroner is yet to determine Lewis' cause of death, but according to the ABC, his family believes it was suicide.
"He said he had been sexually assaulted as a minor over a year or more. When he was 11,12,13," Lewis' mother, Sue, told the publication.
In 2016, Lewis complained to Swimming Australia about Wright but his claims were not investigated at the time.