$45 Million Spent on Australian Swimming in Hopes of Future Glory

In London the Australians earned just 35 medals with only seven gold, their worst result since 1992.

Australia’s Olympic results since the 2000 games in Sydney:

  • 2000 Olympics – 58 medals (16 gold, 25 silver, 17 bronze) and 4th in the medal standings
  • 2004 Olympics – 50 medals (17 gold, 16 silver, 17 bronze) and 4th in the medal standings
  • 2008 Olympics – 46 medals (14 gold, 15 silver, 17 bronze) and 6th in the medal standings
  • 2012 Olympics – 35 medals (7 gold, 16 silver, 12 bronze) and 10th in the medal standings

Because of these results a huge amount of effort and resources were put into both evaluating the Australian sports system and coming up with a strategy to improve performance. The result of those efforts was the Winning Edge program which was unveiled in November of 2012.

At the time the program was released Matt Favier the Direction of the Australian Institute stated the programs goals as:

  • Being a top five nation at the Summer Olympics and Paralympics
  • Being a top 15 nation at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics
  • Being he number one nation at the Commonwealth Games
  • To have 20 world champions annually

The Australians have exceeded their target when it comes to world champions, which would point to them having a strong chance at achieving their next three goals. Australians have won 115 world championship medals across 19 sports in summer and winter Olympic events, including 34 gold; and 194 world championship medals across 12 sports in Paralympic events, including 70 gold.

Favier has been happy with the progress and is very optimistic with what  Australians should be able to achieve in Rio, ““Australian sport has already taken significant steps forward,” Favier told FOX Sports Australia. “The AIS and our partners are confident Australia can improve our Olympic result in Rio and reverse what has been a declining trend on the Olympic gold medal tally since 2004.”

“By the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games [in 2018] our target would be for Australia to regain its position as the number one Commonwealth nation.

“Progressive improvement and analysis of results over the past three years give us great optimism that our sports and athletes are more aligned than ever and are on the right track for sustainable success.”

Since the inception of the program there has been $300 million (AUD) spent on improving the nation’s sporting programs. The percentage of those funds were given out based on the following criteria:

  • The sports ability to contribute to the plans stated goals (see above)
  • The sports ability to demonstrate integrity, which will include anti-doping policies and procedures, that will enhance Australia’s image internationally as well as create a positive example for all Australians
  • The sports ability to demonstrate a high quality of governance, adminstrative and financial practices so that the ASC can see that the NSO is using public money effectively
  • The sports ability to create and present a high performance plan with mutually agreed upon targets which the NSO will be accountable to show progress towards
  • The sports ability to co-invest in their organization by increasing the funds brought in through commercial, philantrophic and sponsorship opportunities
  • The sports ability to show responsible use of their funding
  • The sports ability to contribute success on the international stage which will include such things as potential medals, international environment, competition opportunities, medals available*, individual athletes and the depth of field.
  • The sports ability to demonstrate a strong talent pipeline and support structure for the development of athletes potential

After overhauling their program after the London Olympics Swimming Australia proved to those making the decisions on funding that the changes would bring results. In total Swimming Australia received approximately $45 million, the largest amount of the $300 million doled out to the different sports.

They have received $38 million for the Olympic high-performance program, $3 million for athlete support grants and $4 million that has been spent on performance enhancement teams. In the last year alone they have received $11 million.

The money seems to be well spent according to the Australian Sports Commission CEO Simon Hollingsworth, “It’s great to see Australia’s swimmers achieving fantastic international results, but Swimming Australia’s successful transformation can be measured by far more than the growing medal tally,” Hollingsworth told FOX Sports Australia.

“The Australian Sports Commission and AIS has worked closely with Swimming Australia to identify and improve crucial areas of need, including a strong focus on governance, business capability and leadership.”

The infrastructure of Swimming Australia has improved dramatically, but they have also seen the results in the pool finishing second in the medal standings at the World Championships in Kazan winning seven gold, three silver and six bronze.

Currently Australian swimmers sit atop of the World Rankings in nine different Olympic events.



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Massive waste of tax payer money, assuming that is the primary source for this. Taxpayers should never spend a dime on an activity as nonessential to society as swimming.


Whilst I disagree with the necessity of being top 5 & top15 (wth) I think most Australians do not begrudge $2 per year spent on swimming. I think we are the largest island &.with treacherous inland rivers – some with big big crocs . People need to swim .It is a bonus to have a successful national swim team but the money is spent on more than that . Anyhow there is an election in 4 weeks so – if you are Oz – you can vote for the party that says No federal money for swimming . I pay $2500 council rates for which I get an excellent choice of swim venues. I uzed to use the AIS pool… Read more »


Sure you get your money’s worth from the swimming. But it sets a tone of wastefulness in your nation that hurts your pocketbook because of what else they spend their money on.


Says who? I think you are from the Pentagon & you want us to buy more military stuff.

Irish Ringer

In the US we spend more than that just so the Obama’s can go to Hawaii multiple times per year on the taxpayers dime. Would love to see that go towards something else.


Actually I misread the $45 million as if for one year but if it is over 4 years then Mr Anonymous it is 50c per citizen per year that is 1 cent per week.

But no I would not pay one cent per week for our PM to go on holidays. Why would he ever want to leave beautiful Canberra ?

PS I like it that Michelle often adds to the expense & goes in a separate plane. Once she stepped out of the plane 9to be greeted by Marines in ceremonial outfits ) in her shorts! Mind you , if it will be Melania – I look forward to the shorts . Not so much Bill.


45 million australian dollars equal about 29 million euros, so australia spends about 7.25 million euros every year for swimming. Is all of this money only spend for swimming or also for diving/water polo/synchronized swimming and open water swimming? I think Germany spends about 3.7 million euros every year for swimming/open water swimming/diving/synchronized swimming and water polo, so Australia seems to spend only about twice as much as Germany. I think australians get much better results for their money, assuming that they dont spend any more money for open water swimming/diving/water polo/synchronized swimming. DOSB (german olympic sports confederation) expects 2-5 medals in swimming/open water swimming in Rio and 10-12 top 8 results (finals) for that money. In general i am… Read more »

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Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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