sport

Adlington demands swift action

Former double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington has called on British Swimming to appoint a new head coach as soon as possible.

Dennis Pursley vacated the head coach role immediately after the pool programme at the 2012 Games, although his return to his native United States to coach at the University of Alabama had always been his intention, rather than any reaction to Team GB's poor showing.

The team came away with just three medals - two bronzes by Adlington in the 400 metres and 800m freestyle and Michael Jamieson's silver in the 200m breaststroke - and a devastated national performance director Michael Scott quickly announced a review.

Five men, including Michael Phelps' coach Bob Bowman, were appointed to the panel but by the time it was published on Sunday, Scott had resigned after refusing to relocate from Australia, where his family are based.

The Australian had been splitting his time between Australia and Britain but the review concluded the incumbent must be based here full-time.

As a result, two key positions are now vacant although it was always intended the head coach role would not be filled until the conclusion of the review.

For Adlington, though, it has been too long and she told BBC Sport: "Why is it taking so long? We've been dying for them to appoint a head coach for months.

"Surely, that would make more sense for the head coach to be appointed before the review, even if it was just one who said 'look this is semi-permanent, you might want to continue after the review but you might help us until then making these decisions'.

"A lot of us don't know who we are going to at the moment. Who do we speak to? It's awful what's been going on."

Names linked with the head role include Adlington's own coach Bill Furniss along with Chris Nesbit, who ran the successful off-shore centre set up in Australia during Bill Sweetenham's tenure, while John Atkinson, British disability swimming performance director, has been mentioned to succeed Scott.

Were Furniss to be appointed, it would have a huge effect on Adlington who has trained with him since the age of 12.

Before the publication of the review, Adlington said: "Literally everything is on hold, he doesn't really know very much.

"He doesn't know who the next head coach is going to be, he doesn't know whether he wants to do it or anything like that.

"I don't want to be nasty to Bill because he is only 58 but he probably wouldn't go on for another four years coaching and if I was to get in (to the pool), I probably wouldn't want to swim for another four years.

"No-one can make a decision, it's not just me - no-one knows what is happening, no-one knows what is happening with the programmes, it's all up in the air - that is the thing for me and Bill.

"Just waiting really - waiting and waiting. I just wish they would get on with it."

Adlington has been busy since the Games with a charity bike ride across Zambia as well as swim teaching days and is not yet ready to make a decision over her future, at least until next month when she plans to get back into some sort of training.

The team came in for some criticism following London although the review concluded "the programme is not broken."

Adlington has led the call for Britons to be appointed to the two vacant roles, arguing they would have a prior understanding of the system and culture, while there will also be changes to selection policy, which had its inconsistencies this year, and even the trials.

Currently there are two chances to qualify for the GB team but, while Adlington does not back the idea of copying the American approach where they have one trials a few weeks before a major event, she does believe there should be just one opportunity to book your spot.

She said: "For us when you stand up at a worlds and Olympics you have all this pressure and you only have one shot to do it.

"It gives you good practice if you just have one trials, it adds more pressure but you know you haven't got another chance, you have got to step up and do it right now or you are out.

"It gives you the mental strength you need."