“This was a story that was back at the Commonwealth Games trials a couple of months ago, and the three of them put it to bed,” he said.
AS IT HAPPENED: 2022 Commonwealth Games Day Three Results
“Kyle’s come out very openly and said, this is a bunch of rubbish. And there’s obviously some parts of the media that like to create a story then try and build facts around it.
“They’re professionals, they’re teammates, they get along with each other, they respect each other where they need to, and they go out there and they execute performances for the country and they support one another.”
In his column for The Sydney Morning Herald, Andrew Webster said Emma McKeon – who on Monday morning (AEST) became the most successful Commonwealth Games athlete in history when she won her 11th gold medal – was the biggest victim in the scandal.
Because McKeon has the biggest program of any swimmer in the team and competes in a myriad of relay teams, he argued she’s the most important member of the entire Dolphins squad.
Hackett said the scrutiny of the swim team is high at the best of times, and storylines bubbling away in the background don’t help.
“You’ve already got the pressure of performance from the whole country – there’s a huge amount of expectation when it comes to the Australian swim team, particularly when it comes to the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“We always have that first week, and we always dominate usually, but that does come with a lot of pressure in terms of that performance.
“So this … rubbish and headlines that continually get out there really distracts from some of the great performances.
“It’s really hard on the athletes and look at the end of the day, they might be great swimmers, they might seem to be invincible every time they get up on the block and break a world record or win an Olympic or a Commonwealth Games gold medal, but at the end of the day, they’re human and this stuff mounts on you.”
Hackett revealed he had spoken to all three involved during the Australian Championships – which doubled as the Comm Games trials – back in May. He also said the three had sat down and discussed it privately as well.
“No one had any problems. They couldn’t believe the media fuss around it,” Hackett said.
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