Swimming: Call for GB director

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The Independent Online
STILL smarting from the ignominy of Barcelona, Britain's financially strapped authorities have been advised that the cost of raising standards could come to pounds 200,000, a sum far beyond their reach.

Last summeETHER write errorr's Spanish fiesta brought just one British medal in the pool, the worst Olympic return for 20 years. In response to this, a four-strong review body, headed by Sir Peter Heatly, chairman of the British Amateur Swimming Federation, was set up to investigate. The report, published today, recommends the creation of a National Performance Centre and the appointment of a Director of Swimming for Great Britain.

The post-mortem suggests the Director's role would be to 'focus on the development of high level performance'. He or she would ideally be based at the National Centre, which would itself 'serve as a base for performance planning and preparation for swimmers'.

Finance is acknowledged as the major obstacle. The BASF's funds come via the home associations, England, Scotland and Wales, and its secretary, David Reeves, is insistent that resources are insufficient to take on extra expenditure of this magnitude. 'Without considerable financial backing from the Sports Council,' he said, 'and possibly other funding agencies, such as the proposed National Lottery, it is regrettably impossible to envisage the full implementation of the report.'

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