Leigh Nugent has twice held the position of National Team Head Coach for the Australian elite swimming squad. In both instances (at the 2004 Olympics, and in the last year when taking over for Alan Thompson), he’s taken the position at times when the program was struggling for stability among upheavels.
Both times, however, Nugent has entered stage left, steadied the ship, and led the Aussies to success.
And for his twice-proven accomplishments, Swimming Australia has given him a huge vote of confidence by saying that he shall remain the coach not only for the London Games, but through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Thus far under Nugent’s watch, the Dolphins have done fairly well overall. Australia had a great National Championship meet last March, but ended up coming just short of expectations at the World Championships. Though they had 13 total medals, only two of those were gold.
If Libby Trickett continues to be as successful in her comeback as she showed last month in Sydney, then Nugent is worth his weight in gold. Trickett attributed her reasons for returning to the sport in part to Nugent being named the National Team coach.
This frees up Trickett to focus on the 2012 London Olympics, which is all he was previously committed through. He says that while he’d like to stay involved in the sport and organization after 2016, that at 65 he will likely be ready at that point to step down from the full-time face of the organization.