Isaac Cooper has been sent home from the Australian Swimming team’s Commonwealth Games camp over a disciplinary breach.
The backstroke specialist has been scratched from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as a result of wellbeing challenges, “including the use of medication”.
Swimming Australia confirmed Cooper’s axing on Wednesday morning in a statement that also announced Tim Disken will miss the Games as a result of a setback in his recovery from surgery.
The 18-year-old, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the mixed 4x100m medley relay and was emerging as a future star, will travel back to Australia from the Dolphins’ camp in Chartres, France.
The Courier-Mail first reported Swimming Australia has denied any suggestion there has been a repeat of the infamous stilnox scandal that rocked the Australian team ahead of the 2012 Olympics in London.
The 2012 scandal saw superstar James Magnussen and five teammates in the Australian 4x100m freestyle team confess to taking the banned subscription drug at a pre-Olympic camp in Manchester.
Used to initiate and maintain sleep, Stilnox is typically subscribed for those with sleeping difficulties.
As part of a “bonding exercise”, the six athletes took the hypnotic drug before attempting a series of prank calls and door-knocking Australian teammates. The substance has been banned in the Aussie team since 2014.
Cooper’s ban, meanwhile, is a serious blow to the Dolphins’ Birmingham campaign after he blitzed the 2022 national championships in May where he set a new national record in the 50 metres backstroke.
He also received gold in 100m backstroke, silver in 50m butterfly and bronze in 50 metres freestyle at the event.
At the World Championships in Budapest Cooper finished eighth in the 50m backstroke and advanced to the semi-finals of the 100m backstroke.
The Queenslander was set to be part of his first ever Commonwealth Games as part of an Aussie squad of 76 swimmers, including 46 able-bodied athletes.
“Swimming Australia wishes to advise that Dolphins Tim Disken and Isaac Cooper will miss the upcoming Commonwealth Games,” Swimming Australia announced in a statement.
“Disken has experienced a setback in his recovery following recent surgery which will rule him out of competing in Birmingham.
“Cooper has been sent home from the Dolphins training camp following some wellbeing challenges, including the use of medication.
“He has acknowledged his mistakes and accepted the consequences, and Swimming Australia will continue to support him as he addresses these challenges.
“The welfare of our athletes remains our absolute priority. Swimming Australia is vigilant in educating athletes of their obligations under the National Integrity Framework and will continue to provide all necessary support to ensure they uphold the highest standards and behaviours when representing Australia.”
Cooper was expected to win several medals in the Birmingham pool coming into the event as the top-ranked Commonwealth country swimmer in the men’s 50m backstroke and 100m backstroke this year.