Swimmers come out in support of ex-coach after abuse claims

“We are very proud of the medals we won with our hearts, not with an ax in our heads. These are serious accusations that attack our dignity as athletes. We don’t want our medals to be stained,” said Spain’s synchronized swimming team captain, Andrea Fuentes, at the presentation of the new technical corps following the announcement that Anna Tarrés would not be continuing in her post of coach.

Tarrés, of course, dominated events. A day earlier, 15 of her former charges published a letter accusing her of serious mistreatment during her time at the helm. Fuentes, now synchronized swimming’s poster girl after Gemma Mengual’s retirement and subsequent appointment as an artistic director, backed her former mentor to the hilt: “Most of them haven’t even been in the team and haven’t even met Anna.”

Jesús González, who was federation president until 2008, concurred with Fuentes: “Ten of the swimmers who signed the letter are complete unknowns. They were never working with the federation. None of them were ever selcted for the national team, as they claim.”

“I have always enjoyed a good personal and professional relationship with Anna,” Mengual, Spain’s most decorated synchronized swimmer, said. “All of these claims have nothing to do with my experience.”

Tarrés has said that she will be suing the president of the Spanish Swimming Federation, Fernando Carpena. Three days after the appearance of the accusatory letter signed by 15 swimmers, the former national coach lays responsibility for its publication at the feet of the federation chief and plans to sue him for defamation of character.

Read more here – http://elpais.com/elpais/2012/09/27/inenglish/1348754456_025118.html

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