Olympic coach 'abused girl swimmers'

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The Independent Online
A former British Olympic coach spent years sexually abusing ambitious teenage girl swimmers, a court was told yesterday.

Paul Hickson, who trained swimmers for the Seoul and Los Angeles Games in the 1980s, raped two girls and systematically assaulted others at his swimming clubs over a 15-year period, it was claimed.

His 13 alleged victims, said to have included a former member of Britain's Olympic swimming squad, were too frightened to complain, Cardiff Crown Court was told. They were said to have feared that breaking their links with a top coach would wreck their careers.

Wyn Williams QC, for the prosecution, said Mr Hickson, 47, regularly indecently assaulted girls when he gave them massages after swimming sessions. He allegedly persuaded the girls to take off their T-shirts and bras unnecessarily, touching their breasts while conducting fitness tests.

The court was also told that Mr Hickson forced himself sexually on teenagers while staying at hotels during competitions.

Mr Hickson, of Street, Somerset, former swimming coach at Millfield public school, denies 17 charges, including two of rape while training at clubs at Norwich, Coventry and Swansea between 1976 and 1991. The trial continues today.