Back in the beginning of February, we reported that Australian National Swim Team coach Alan Thompson resigned his position amid restructuting which would have significantly reduced his role and control over the program. At the time, Thompson was also under investigation for inappropriate behavior that allegedly took place at a swim coaching conference in 2007.
It had been speculated that Leigh Nugent, who has served as the National Youth Team coach for the last 9 years, was the front runner for the position. Despite recommendations from some of it’s governing board, Swim Australia still decided to open the position up to the public. During the search, Nugent was the interim National Team coach, and he previously led the squad to their most successful Olympic Games in decades at the 2004 Athens games.
The USA Today reported yesterday that Nugent has officially been tendered to the position full-time through at least 2013, with an option to extend his contract until the 2016 Rio games. The 59-year old’s first duty will be to lead his team to the upcoming Pan-Pacific and Commonwealth Games.
“To be involved with this team is always a very humbling experience and one that should never be taken for granted,” Nugent said. “The Australian swim team plays a unique and important role in elite sport in this country, particularly in relation to Olympic success.”
All of this will be in the lead up to the 2012 games, where the Australian squad will look to build off its great success at the 2008 games, where the Dolphins won 20 medals. Australian swimming legend Libby Trickett, who retired last December, has said that she would consider making a return under Nugent’s tutelage.
Nugent will co-lead the team with the help of David Crocker, who in the same announcement was named the High Performance Manager. Crocker is the former director of the Swim New Zealand National Team. Under Thompson, the role of head coach and high performance manager were rolled into one, and dividing the roles is what caused the final rift between Thompson and the Swim Australia board of directors.