Swimming: British team told to cut commercial links after London failure


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The Independent Online

A review into the disappointing performance by Great Britain's swimmers at the London 2012 Olympics has recommended that guidelines be put in place to limit the athletes' commercial activities in the run-up to major events.

The debrief of the Olympic performance, conducted by internal and external specialists, also highlighted the need for future national performance directors to be based full-time in the United Kingdom. Michael Scott, who resigned from the post last week, split his time between the UK and Australia.

Team GB claimed just three medals in London – two bronzes from Rebecca Adlington and a silver from Michael Jamieson – and there were a number of disappointing performances from swimmers who had been expected to challenge for success.

The review panel found that British Swimming's programme itself was "not broken" but the panel felt that the commercial distractions for individual swimmers "should have been anticipated better" and recommended that guidance should be developed on acceptable levels of commercial and media commitments.

On the subject of the national performance director, the panel said the new appointment "must be UK-based to provide strong and dynamic leadership of the World Class Programme (WCP) and to work in close consultation with a newly-appointed head coach to develop the WCP and fully address the recommendations from the debrief".

Now both Scott and head coach Dennis Pursley have gone, British Swimming has to find replacements with the likes of Adlington calling for home-grown appointments.

Those linked include Adlington's coach Bill Furniss for the head coach role, with respected operators John Atkinson and Chris Nesbit among the names put forward for performance director.

Responding to the panel's recommendations, British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes said: "Words fail me in expressing our disappointment with the results from the London Olympics.

"So many people worked so hard in the last four years but we didn't achieve our goals.

"I welcome the conclusion of the performance debrief and am grateful to Craig Hunter [part of the six-man panel] and his team for the excellent report they have produced together with the clear recommendations they have made."