Australian coach out after Olympic shame

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 2:33pm

Australian swimming officials Wednesday said head coach Leigh Nugent will resign after a dismal London Olympic campaign marred by ill-discipline, drug use and drunkenness.

Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold said Nugent no longer wanted to continue in the role, although press reports claimed he was sacked.

“Leigh actually approached us to discuss his future and where he would best fit into the new structure of the High Performance Unit,” Nettlefold said in a statement.

“In those discussions it soon became very clear that while he still wanted to remain involved in the sport, he didn’t want to continue in the position of head coach.”

Nugent has been under pressure after reports into 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 last year London Games as the “lonely Olympics”, one report revealed.

A broader review into the sport’s high performance programme also found failings in strategic planning and 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.

Nettlefold said an interim head coach would be appointed in coming weeks in time for the Australian Championships in Adelaide which begin on April 26.