Alicia Coutts Surprised At Relay Team Pick

Australian swimmer Alicia Coutts has said she was surprised to have been chosen for the Commonwealth Games gold medal winning 4x200m freestyle relay team on Saturday over Olympic champion Melanie Schlanger but says there is no bad blood between them.

The Australian team made up of, Bronte Barratt, Emma McKeon, Brittany Elmslie and Alicia Coutts, won the relay event on Saturday night, despite the controversial decision not to include Schlanger in the team.

The swimmer, who was part of the 4×100 freestyle relay team that broke the world record and won gold on Thursday, said previously on Twitter that she was “a bit gutted” by being left out of the 4×200 squad but still supported her teammates.

According to Fairfax Media, Coutts said Schlanger had shown her nothing but support. “Mel came up to me and said congratulations,” Coutts sad. “She didn’t hold any grudges against me or anything but I haven’t been on Twitter or anything so I haven’t really seen anything.”

It has been reported that Schlanger had fallen out with team officials over the decision and her parents have accused the coaches of favouritism and double standards. “Michael Scott and Mel butt heads and he goes out of his way to make things hard for her,’’ her father Paul Schlanger told News Corp Australia.

Coutts had been struggling in Glasgow, suffering from a lingering bacterial infection and admitted she was surprised to have been chosen for the team. “I was not expecting to be in this,” Coutts said after the relay. “I was told I was going to be a reserve…but Bohly (women’s relay coach Michael Bohl) told me after the heats I was in the final swimming second.”

“I always get nervous for 200m freestyle, she added. “I am not that experienced in it. In the last 50m I thought I was going to pass out.” Australian head coach Jacco Verhaeren denied any reports of favouritism in selection. “It is not about favouritism, it is nothing personal,” he said. “We make decisions on relays based on the team, based on performance, changeover times, anything technical we can think of,” he added.

“Every swimmer we have in the team is to be considered a potential relay swimmer, that’s what we asked of all our swimmers regardless … so they all go into consideration and this came out of it.”

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