Swimming Australia has apologised following the release of an independent report ©Swimming Australia

Swimming Australia has been forced to apologise after an independent report commissioned in the wake of allegations made by Olympic silver medallist Maddie Groves uncovered issues affecting "athlete experiences and wellbeing at all levels of the sport".

A total of 46 recommendations have been made in the report, including urging Swimming Australia to drop "skinfold tests" and adopt a quota for female coaches to improve the gender balance within the sport.

The report also recommends banning "unjustified routine periodic screening" and "training in using humanising and non-objectifying language in managing body image concerns".

Groves withdrew from Australia’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic trials last year after hitting out at "misogynistic perverts" in the sport in Australia, prompting the national governing body to launch an independent investigation.

The 26-year-old later said she was sexually assaulted over five years by a man who was still working in swimming.

Groves had criticised the culture within the sport during an interview with ABC, saying she was complimented for losing weight when she was 12 years old.

She alleged swimmers were judged about what they were eating and claimed to have been manhandled by a coach as a junior swimmer.

Four-time Olympic champion Cate Campbell also alleged that female swimmers had been subjected to body shaming in a book she co-wrote with sister Bronte.

The investigation was launched in response to allegations from Olympic medallist Maddie Groves ©Getty Images
The investigation was launched in response to allegations from Olympic medallist Maddie Groves ©Getty Images

"We want to reassure those who came forward that the sport is committed to change to ensure these negative experiences are not repeated and apologises unreservedly to those impacted," Swimming Australia said in a statement.

"The report also identified issues that affect athlete experiences and wellbeing at all levels of the sport, including a fear and pressure to perform, speaking out, and more broadly control and the coaching culture. 

"It is acknowledged that, particularly for young female athletes, some of their experiences have had longer term impacts. 

"We again unreservedly apologise to those members of the swimming community who have had a negative experience."

Swimming Australia has pledged to fully implement the recommendations made in the report.

"The Swimming Australia Board acknowledges the ultimate collective responsibility and commitment in addressing these recommendations rests with the Board and the executive team in delivering and committing to meaningful and enduring change, being transparent and regaining and earning the trust of our athletes and our entire community," said Swimming Australia President Kieren Perkins.

"The Board is committed to leading the organisation through this process of positive cultural change. 

"They look forward to driving long term change alongside the community including the athlete cohort, participants, parents, Member Organisations, stakeholders, coaches and staff."