Australia appoints new chief, performance director
Reuters in Melbourne
Swimming Australia (SA) has appointed a new chief executive and high performance director as the governing body seeks to rebuild the sport in the wake of a dismal last year Olympic campaign and scathing reviews of its administration.
Mark Anderson, currently chief executive of Hockey Australia, will take over from interim chief executive Jeremy Turner, who stepped in after Kevin Neil resigned in the wake of the London Games, where Australia slumped to its worst performance in the pool in 20 years.
Michael Scott, who stepped down as performance director of British Swimming in November, will take up the high performance role.
“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,” SA President Barclay Nettlefold said in a statement on Tuesday.
SA has endured a storm of criticism in recent months with allegations of bullying, drunkenness and the abuse of prescription drugs leading to a scathing external audit.
The ‘Bluestone’ review released in February said slack management had allowed a “toxic” environment to develop in Australia’s Olympic swim team which reaped a solitary gold medal and no individual titles at the London Games.
Five top male swimmers, including 100 metres freestyle world champion James Magnussen, subsequently apologised for taking a sedative banned by the Australian Olympic Committee as part of a ‘bonding’ session in a team camp in the leadup to London.
Head coach Leigh Nugent stepped down last month after allegations he failed to handle indiscipline in the ranks, though SA said they would welcome him back after “a break” to take up a mentoring role under the high performance director.