UK Swimming to ban children from weighing themselves

image source, Good pictures

image caption,

Olympian Cassie Payton previously said she was „broken” by the coaches’ comments

Swimming England is to ban children from weighing children at its clubs after swimmers spoke out about eating disorders and mental health issues.

The governing body said the new policy would tackle „disordered eating, anxiety and depression”.

A number of swimmers have told the BBC they have suffered from weighing regimes and body-obsessed coaches.

Commonwealth Youth Games gold medalist Phoebe Lendereau says she suffered from bulimia for five years after repeatedly being shamed for losing weight as a young athlete.

Swim England introduced weight guidelines in November 2021 announced on Wednesday „All affiliated clubs and coaches must comply” becomes the policy.

Jane Nickerson, the organisation’s chief executive, has apologized to the swimmers affected and pledged to change the culture of bullying in the sport.

image source, Phoebe Lenderau

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Dozens of swimmers contacted Phoebe Lendereau after she talked about her eating disorder

„There have been many instances in the past of unacceptable behavior in the weighing of athletes, and this policy sets the parameters to prevent that inappropriate behavior in the future,” Button said.

„Performance is an important part of an athlete’s development, but we must also prioritize their mental health and well-being,” he added.

„This policy ensures that athletes have education and support to help reduce the risks of developing an eating disorder/disordered eating or other mental health concerns.”

Those on the „skill track” – athletes identified as having Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth potential – can weigh-in, but this should only be carried out „with a clearly documented rationale, specific to the athlete and at the athlete’s optimum height”, the policy states. – Development of time in the mind”.

Athletes over the age of 18 can also be weighed using the criteria.

image source, Good pictures

image caption,

Casey Payton said she couldn’t wear a swimsuit for years after retiring from the sport

This policy has been developed in consultation with British Swimming, Scottish Swimming and Swimming Wales.

The policy states: „We recognize that in certain circumstances, when appropriate policies and procedures are in place, weighted athletes can be a useful tool to contribute to the monitoring of changes in body weight, growth, performance and progress.

„However, the need for this policy is to prevent potential areas of concern from some of the psychological distress that may come from weighing athletes, such as disordered eating, anxiety and depression.”

Swimming England recently unveiled its Heart of Aquatics plan, which sets out its mission to put safety and welfare at the heart of the sport after many swimmers came forward to say they had been victimised.

If you are affected by the issues raised in this article, help and support are available Via BBC Action Line.

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