Australia play down coach's move to Britain

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The Independent Online

Australian swimming officials yesterday played down suggestions that they have been left high and dry by the departure of their head coach, Don Talbot, who has resigned to take over the British team.

Talbot's early departure was not unexpected, they claimed, and would not hurt Australia's training for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. "We'll appoint a new coach within the next six weeks, we are fairly healthy in that area," said Ian Hanson, a spokesman for Australian Inc, the sport's main body in Australia.

Talbot, renowned for tough training schedules and a gruff manner, tendered his resignation on Wednesday with more than a year remaining on his contract.

"Don's left us with a very good legacy," Hanson said. "He's done a marvellous job in setting up our country for the future."

Talbot has been appointed national performance director of British swimming with the long-term aim of preparing for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Talbot has had a distinguished career in Australia, Canada and United States. He was Canada's national coach at the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games and from 1983 to 1988. In 1989, he was appointed head coach to the Australian team and they enjoyed considerable success under his guidance.