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Swimming Australia says new head coach could come from overseas

August 4, 2013
 The Australian swim team has taken some positive steps forward at the world championships in Barcelona, with James Magnussen (pictured) among those winning gold. Source: Getty Images

The Australian swim team has taken some positive steps forward at the world championships in Barcelona, with James Magnussen (pictured) among those winning gold. Source: Getty Images

Swimming Australia bosses will immediately begin interviewing international candidates for the head coach position after the world championships with the possibility a foreigner could lead Australia to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Chief executive Mark Anderson is not spooked by the recent failure of foreign coaches in rival sports such as cricket and rugby union and simply wants the best person to lead the rebuild from the ruins of the 2012 London Olympics.

Several Australian candidates have applied for the role but no preference will be given to nationality when it comes to the final decision.

Anderson and head of high performance Scott will remain in Europe for a few days to thoroughly review all the applicants from overseas who want the job held by Leigh Nugent until he quit last February.

With no head coach, no president and no major sponsor, the Australian swim team has still taken some positive steps forward at these world titles, but there remains performance issues which must be addressed on the road to Rio.

Anderson wants the head coach settled within the next few weeks.

“We’re looking for the best in the world. There’s a high level of interest within Australia and also internationally and the process is about finding the best person for the role so we’ll be looking internationally as well as within Australia,” Anderson said.

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“Now that we’re finished (world titles) that will commence immediately and that will be the key focus for in the coming month.”

Anderson confirmed SAL must have a new president in place by September 1 and a range of candidates have been short-listed for the board to decide later this month.

SAL has also engaged leading agency Sports Media and Marketing to sell the major sponsorship rights for the team, after EnergyAustralia withdrew its $2m a year deal two months ago.

But an increase in gold medals in the pool here in Spain and improved behaviour by athletes out of it has boosted hopes the swim team will find a strong company to get behind the team.

“I think there’s going to be some positive stories to be told and it’s going to be a positive journey as well leading into a Rio,” he said.

“There’s a couple more stages we need to go through before we’re aggressively out in the market but we’ll do that in the near future.

“People certainly are looking for the medals and that’s important but they also want to have a team they connect with and really want to get behind.

“Price is the last thing we lead with and it’s about actually selling the vision of what we want to be as a team and how we want to present ourselves and the sport importantly beyond our performance.

“It’s about finding the right business and the right fit and then you get to talk about prices.”

Anderson expressed disappointment that these world titles were not broadcast on television but confirmed Network Ten had agreed to show four major events next year including the Aquatic Super Series in Perth, national titles in Brisbane, Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Pan Pacific championships on the Gold Coast.

The Perth tri series may also expand in January, with Japan showing strong interest in joining the concept where swimmers can race for significant prize money.


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