Swimming: Britain treading water

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The Independent Online
Dave Haller, the British team's chief coach, expects Australia to dominate the swimming events at the Commonwealth Games and blames the Government for his team's inability to compete. 'The Australians are miles ahead of us in terms of sports science, support for the athletes, bonuses for coaches whose swimmers break world records, and bonuses for the swimmers too,' he said. 'Don Talbot, the chief Australian coach, has an annual budget of nearly pounds 3.5m to develop his high-performance competitors, and compared to that we are just scratching around.' Australian swimmers head the Commonwealth rankings in all the women's individual events and eight of the 13 men's events. 'For a country of over 50 million people, we are just not producing the goods. It means the Government deciding to make sport a national priority, which is what Australia did after their poor performances at the 1976 Olympics.' James Parrack, who has been training in California, squeezed into England's Commonwealth Games team yesterday. Parrack, a silver medallist in Auckland four years ago, won the 100m breaststroke at the ASA National Championships in 1min 3.48sec - only 0.16sec inside the Commonwealth qualifying standard set by the selectors.