British Swimming has unveiled the new leadership team that will be the head of its organization going toward Rio 2016. Chris Spice will be the National Performance Director, coming over from British Basketball, and Bill Furniss will be the Technical Director.
Furniss’ hire is a slam-dunk to meet the criteria of the organization, though Spice’s will be a bit of a headscratcher.
Furniss has served most recently as the coach of Rebecca Adlington, the most successful female swimmer in the history of British Swimming and winner of four Olympic medals. Adlington is having a press conference on Tuesday where she is expected to announce her retirement.
Spice, on the other hand, has had stints with British Hockey, Rugby, and British Basketball. He had great success with England’s Rugby team, though their hockey and basketball teams have struggled under his watch (British Basketball won only a single game in the 2012 Olympics).
Most importantly for this team, though, is that they brought the roles home. In the runup to 2012, they were lead by an Australian Michael Scott and an American Dennis Pursley, and there were many within the organization who felt that these roles would be best served by those more in-touch with the British culture.
It is a new era in British Swimming, on the news both of the new staff and Adlington’s retirement. They have a very good young core of athletes that are ripe to be mentored to take this team back to a catbird’s position in the world swimming scene, much as they were in 2008.