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Canada Artistic Swimming suspends two coaches as former swimmers seek to sue


MONTREAL — Canada Artistic Swimming has suspended two coaches and may take action against a third, as five former members of the national team seek to have a class action lawsuit authorized against the governing body. 

CAS says it has temporarily suspended Meng Chen and Leslie Sproule as it awaits the results of an independent safe sport investigation.

The suspension is effective immediately. Chen and Sproule can appeal.

CAS says it has completed an investigation into allegations against Gabor Szauder, the current head coach of the senior national team, who is also named in the court filings.

The organization says that the investigation showed that there was no clear evidence of a dangerous training environment in the senior national team program and that a hearing before its disciplinary panel will decide whether he breached the organization's code of conduct. 

Chloe Isaac, Gabrielle Boisvert, Erin Wilson, Sion Ormond and Gabriella Brisson, members of the national team between 2007 and 2020, filed a request for authorization to bring a class action lawsuit against CAS in a Quebec court last week, claiming psychological abuse, harassment and negligence. 

None of the allegations have been proven in court. 

The five say there was a toxic environment under four head coaches: Julie Sauve (2009-2012), Meng Chen (2012-2017), Leslie Sproule (2017-2018) and Gabor Szauder, who has been in the role since 2018.

Sauve died last April. 

Chen, Sproule and Szauder did not immediately respond to interview requests.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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