Former English leader now set to reform arch-rival’s program after horror London Olympics.
Former Hockey Australia boss Mark Anderson and the ex-head of British swimming Michael Scott have been appointed to rebuild Australia’s swim team after their dismal London Olympics campaign.
Anderson becomes chief executive, replacing Kevin Neil who quit in the fallout from last summer’s Games, with the swim team’s performance marred by ill-discipline, drug use and drunkenness.
Scott, who was the high performance boss for British Swimming for five years in the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympics, assumes a similar role in Australia.
He takes over from Leigh Nugent, who resigned from both that position and head coach last month as inquiries continued into allegations of misbehaviour by some team members.
Swimming Australia has not had a high performance director for two years and Nugent battled to fill both roles in London — a situation criticised by the Australian Sports Commission during a recent review.
“We’ve gone through an exhaustive process to find the right people to lead our sport and we know Mark and Michael have the skills and acumen to take the organisation forward,” Swimming Australia President Barclay Nettlefold said.
“These appointments are just another positive step in setting up the best leadership structure to enable athletes and coaches to perform at their best.”
Nugent, in particular, came under pressure after probes of Australia’s disappointing performance in the Olympic pool found drunkenness, misuse of prescription drugs and bullying were among “toxic” incidents at the Games.
So bad was morale, one swimmer described the event as the “lonely Olympics”.
A broader review into the sport’s high performance programme also found failings in strategic planning and lack of transparency in decision-making, which fuelled disillusionment.
Australia’s swimmers won just one gold medal, six silver and three bronze in London — their lowest tally in the pool since 1992 in Barcelona.
The team also went without an individual gold medal for the first time since the 1976 Montreal Olympics.