Overhaul of national program continues as specialists are called in.
A team of experts, including an adolescent psychologist, will work on developing cultural and leadership changes within the troubled Australian swimming team, officials said Sunday.
Australian swimming is being systemically overhauled in the wake of the team’s return of just one gold medal, six silver and three bronze at last year’s London Olympics — their lowest pool tally since 1992 in Barcelona.
Official reports into Australia’s below-par performance in London found drunkenness, misuse of prescription drugs and bullying were among “toxic” incidents at the Games.
Swimming Australia (SA) said Sunday it was engaging a team of experts to introduce a number of new programmes and initiatives to the team.
Former champion ironman Trevor Hendy and high performance leadership consultant Errol Amerasekera will work on team building for the swimmers, coaches and staff, SA said.
The experts also include Michael Carr-Gregg, a renowned adolescent psychologist who specialises in developing emotional resilience and well-being in young athletes.
Another expert will work on organisational health and integrity.
Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold said the programme was a step towards addressing recommendations to improve the sport and enable athletes and coaches to perform at their best.
The sport has employed a new chief executive in Mark Anderson and the ex-head of British swimming Michael Scott as its director of high performance, while a new head coach is being sought after the resignation of Leigh Nugent.
“Being able to announce our new CEO and director of high performance last week, followed by this programme, is just another step in the right direction for the sport in the lead up to (this month’s) Australian Swimming Championships,” Nettlefold said.