Scott to lead British Swimming to Rio 2016 Olympics
MICHAEL Scott will lead British swimmers to a third Olympics - whatever results are achieved at London 2012.
KEY MAN: Michael Scott will remain British Swimming's performance director through the next Olympic cycle - whatever the results at London 2012 (Getty Images)
The decision to extend Scott's contract for another four years - just over 100 days before the Games - underlines his high-standing at British Swimming but it has also been announced that head coach Dennis Pursley will return to his native USA after the Olympics.
Scott joined British Swimming as performance director in 2007, bringing a different style to Bill Sweetenham, a fellow Australian who was famed for being the toughest taskmaster on the pool deck, an approach that meant frequent clashes and occasional controversy.
Scott, a former director of the Australian Institute of Sport, introduced a network of five intensive training centres and has proved popular with swimmers and their coaches.
“While our immediate focus is on the challenges and opportunities of the home Olympic Games, I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to continue to work with British Swimming over the next four years as we strive to continue our good performances on the Commonwealth, World and Olympic stages," he said.
“The journey doesn’t end in London and there is still a lot of work to be done as we look beyond to Rio de Janeiro.
"It’s an exciting time for British Swimming with a new generation of talent on the horizon and I’m looking forward to helping to nurture and develop this pool for the future.”
Pursley spent 14 years on the US swim team before moving to Great Britain and claims his decision to return home is down to 'family reasons'.
“I will be forever grateful to British Swimming for the opportunity to that was presented to me during the past four years. It has been a genuine pleasure to work for this world class organisation," he said.
“I have been privileged to have been associated with many exceptional organisations and people in my professional career, but none more so than the athletes, coaches and staff of British Swimming.
“Although I am not looking past the Olympics today, family commitments will require that I return to the U.S. after the Games."
Scott will start the process of identifying Pursley's replacement almost immediately and it's expected there might be some pressure for the appointment to be British, with a number of outstanding candidates already in various positions in the team set-up.
“Dennis has done and will continue to do a tremendous job in Britain and has been instrumental in helping British Swimming to deliver world class swimmers and international medallists," added Scott.
“Dennis has been here in Britain while his family has been at home in the U.S. This would be a challenge for anyone but Dennis’s commitment to the team and London has never wavered. Following the 2012 Games Dennis will return to his family.
“He’s been an important part of the team that has brought about significant change in British Swimming. He’s made an immense contribution and we’re pleased with the legacy he leaves behind as we look beyond London 2012 to Rio 2016.”
© Sportsbeat 2012