- Former butterfly world record holder and Olympic medallist
- Married for three years, had a second child in January
- Police say the pair had a white powder, believed to be cocaine
- Officers were alerted by Turf Club officials
Former Australian swimming star Geoff Huegill and his wife, Sara Hills, locked themselves in a disabled toilet in the corporate area of Randwick Racecourse prior to being charged with drug possession on Saturday.
The couple will appear in court next month after police discovered them with a substance alleged to be cocaine.
It has since been discovered that police attended level four of the grandstand after viewing CCTV footage of Huegill and Hills venturing into a disabled toilet in the vicinity of the Moet Lounge, where they watched the final program of this year’s Autumn Carnival.
The Australian Turf Club’s private security first alerted officers after witnessing their behaviour at the race track.
Police allegedly found the door locked, with Huegill and Hills inside, prior to gaining entry.
NSW Police have confirmed the pair were taken into custody around 5:45pm.
A police spokesman said officers found Huegill and Hill in possession of a “small quantity of white powder, which is believed to cocaine”.
“Police were patrolling Randwick racecourse as part of their general duties when they were directed to a suite in the grandstand by security personnel,” a police spokesman said.
“Police spoke to a 35-year-old old man and his 30-year-old wife, who were alleged to be in possession of a small quantity of white powder, believed to be cocaine.”
The couple have been charged with one count of Possess Prohibited Drug and are scheduled to appear in Waverley Local Court on 14 May.
Witnesses claimed Huegill and Hill were escorted from the Moet & Chandon lounge by police. A spokesman for Australian Turf Club, which operates Randwick Racecourse, declined to comment. “As this is a police matter,we have no comment,” he said.
“The ATC has a zero tolerance policy on illicit drugs.”
After winning silver and bronze medals in the pool at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Huegill endured a much publicised weight battle that saw him reach 138kg.
He blamed a poor lifestyle and excessive partying, before making an inspirational comeback that delivered two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Huegill, 35, and Sara, 30, who wed in a Balinese ceremony in 2011, are the parents of two daughters, aged two and three months.
In 2012, after the birth of his first child Mila, Huegill described how fatherhood had changed him.
“Now that she is here, it makes all the other things you do in your life insignificant.”
Geoff Huegill arrest: A-list high-flyers laid low by the seedy side of Sydney’s party set
The Daily Telegraph
April 30, 2014
- Police say party drug arrests on the rise
- ‘Cocaine is dangerous, not glamorous’
- ‘Promoted by criminals, driven by greed’
- Huegill appears outside home to apologise
- ‘Everyone’s doing it,’ says PR exec
THE arrest of Geoff Huegill and his wife Sara on alleged cocaine possession was a shock to the sporting world and the public, but to those accustomed to the famously fast party scene the incident may not come as a huge surprise.
NSW Drug Squad boss Superintendent Tony Cook said they were arresting more and more people for cocaine possession. He said the image of cocaine as a glamour drug was a dangerous myth which had to be dispelled.
“Over several years NSW Police have seen an increase in the detection of cocaine; this is obviously a concern,’’ he said yesterday.
A “deeply apologetic” Huegill yesterday said he realised his arrest at the Randwick races on Saturday “has caused some commotion’’.
“Some people feel they have been let down and I deeply apologise for that,” he said outside his home.
“But I would ask everyone to understand that this matter is before the courts. I won’t be making any more statements until the matter has been resolved.”
Supt Cook said: “What people should remember is that, despite its portrayal as a high-society, glamour drug, cocaine is very dangerous and addictive.
“It is produced and distributed by money-hungry criminals, driven by greed and absolute self-interest.’’
“They will go to every length to ensure a fatter profit margin, cutting their batch with whatever substances they can find in a bid to get a better return on their sale.
“The health and well-being of their customer base is simply not a priority.’’
Prior to their arrest at a toilet at Royal Randwick, the Huegill’s had been highly visible on the social scene ever since the Olympian made the move from Brisbane to Sydney back in 2008 to make a comeback after a drunken incident outside a nightclub in Fortitude Valley in 2007.
Vowing a life change, he moved to Sydney and linked up with sprint coach Grant Stoelwinder to begin his comeback, dropping 50k, writing a book and tapping into a career as a motivat-ional speaker in the process.
Taking up with Hills, a well-known publicist working closely with Sydney’s fashion and celebrity elite, the glamour pair moved into a stunning Surry Hills terrace, started a family and became one of the darlings of the Eastern Suburbs party set. They later moved to Darlinghurst
Not surprisingly, theirs was an orbit that often crossed paths with Sydney’s notoriously heavy party scene, where drugs and alcohol are not only often free but plentiful.
“Look, everyone does cocaine,” one high-placed public relations executive, who refused to be named, said yesterday.
“And maybe it’s that mentality, that it’s so common, is what can lead to some complacency, because it is so commonplace.”
One celebrity manager explained the ground rules for drug use in the social set.
“Everyone knows you don’t go into a toilet with more than one person,” he said.
“The other thing you do is flush anything you have down the toilet (if the police knock on the door.”
LOSS OF DISCIPLINE IMPACTS ATHLETES Ben Pike
FORMER Olympian and track legend Raelene Boyle said the lack of discipline and the “rigidness of competition” is one of the problems faced by swimmers once their careers are over.
“They get tied up in this … bullshit I like to call it,” Boyle said.
“They get lost in partying and this so-called celebrity life but they really don’t know how to manage it and it happened to Scott (Miller) and Grant Hackett and Ian Thorpe and now Geoff.
“And I honestly believe these guys are decent people but they’re just lost.
“And I think his wife is in the same position now … it’s very sad because they have two beautiful babies.
Swimming Australia did not want to buy into the latest controversy surrounding yet another recently retired star of the pool allegedly coming unstuck.
“He retired from competitive swimming following the 2012 Australian swimming championships in April, over two years ago,’’ the organisation said.
“As this is a personal matter for Geoff, it would be inappropriate for Swimming Australia to comment any further at this stage.’’
AustSwim CEO Gordon Mallett, who heads the swim safety organisation, has spoken to the Commonwealth Games champion via email and said “everyone has their little demons”.
“He is very upset and remorseful,” Mr Mallett said.
“He is very, very sad this has happened and if you knew personally … he is a decent man.”
“We have suspended him while the process takes place. It’s to allow natural justice to take place.”