Swimming: Australia set sights on swim guru Sweetenham

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The Independent Online

Not for the first time in these parts has an ambusher of gold been placed at the top of Australia's wanted list. Back in the late 1870s, Ned Kelly was hunted down for, among other things, stealing precious metal that had been dug from the gold mines in Melbourne's hinterland. In the here and now, Bill Sweetenham has become Australia's most wanted for committing the crime of plundering a swag of 15 gold medals from the Melbourne Aquatic Centre.

As the investigation began into how the swimmers of England, Scotland and Wales came to make off with virtually half of the booty from the Commonwealth Games swimming competition, the performance director of British Swimming was identified as the chief culprit. Having seen his men's team outscored 12-1 by Britons, Glenn Tasker, chief executive of Swimming Australia, issued an invitation to Sweetenham to return to his homeland when his contract expires in Britain after the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

"I think Bill would be invaluable as a member of Australia's coaching staff, in an institute or state academy role," Tasker said. "He went to Britain and raised the qualifying standards, raised all standards really."

Having set out an eight-year revival plan for British swimming the aquatic bushranger would be unlikely to be tempted home until his contract ends.

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