sport

Jamieson: No rush for new coach

Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson has backed British Swimming to make the right appointment when they put a new head coach in place.

The governing body was heavily criticised by Rebecca Adlington last month for the delay in naming a successor to Dennis Pursley, who resigned following Britain's poor showing at the London Olympics last summer.

Performance director Michael Scott also quit and has yet to be replaced, and Adlington labelled the situation an "absolute mess" after a post-Games review decided British Swimming was on the right track.

Adlington and Jamieson were the only home swimmers to make the podium in London, with the two-time Beijing gold medallist winning bronze in both the 400 metres and 800m freestyle while Jamieson took silver in the 200m breaststroke.

And the 24-year-old disagrees with Adlington about the delay in making new appointments, saying: "I think it's definitely about getting the right person in place.

"As an athlete obviously I work with my own coach day to day and it's between myself and him. I wouldn't personally hold a head coach responsible if I had a bad swim.

"It's definitely important to have a head coach, someone who can provide advice and guidance, and I have every faith in the people who are looking for the right person.

"If there was a moment in the cycle to take time over making a new appointment then this is definitely it. There's plenty of time. The next Olympics is a long way away."

Jamieson also feels less strongly than Adlington that the next coach should be British, following the tenure of American Pursley and Australian Scott, who succeeded his countryman Bill Sweetenham in 2007.

Jamieson said: "For me it's not important as long as it's the right guy for the job. Obviously I want to see home-grown coaches progress but we've got a lot of young coaches doing a great job so, even if it was to be a foreign head coach, I don't think it's anything to be concerned about."

Jamieson's coach at Bath, David McNulty, served as head coach for the World Short-Course Championships in Istanbul last month, where Britain won six medals.

Jamieson picked up another silver, finishing behind Hungary's Daniel Gyurta as he had in London, and he praised the impact of McNulty, who has already ruled himself out of the running for the permanent post.

"He's been a great coach for me," said the Scot.

"With Dave more than with other coaches I've had we've got a good balance. He knows when to come down hard on me and he knows when to take a step back and have a more relaxed atmosphere.

"And he's not just a great coach, he's a great guy as well. For him to be head coach at the World Short-Course Championships was great, I was delighted for him to get that recognition.

"I think he's happy being poolside and close to the swimmers because he's such a personable guy. Maybe in the long run he might want a change but I'm obviously happy to keep him."

Jamieson's Olympic medal has given him opportunities outside the pool, including an appearance on the BBC's Superstars, and he is keen to be an ambassador for swimming.

On Saturday the 24-year-old will attend the opening of the refurbished Westcroft Leisure Centre in Carshalton, which is supported by Everyone Active, the largest provider of swimming lessons in the UK.

The potential conflict between commercial activities and training hit the headlines earlier this month when British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes criticised diver Tom Daley for taking part in the TV show Splash, but Jamieson believes he has the balance right.

Jamieson said: "I kind of feel I have a responsibility to do that (promote swimming). Rebecca Adlington has given a huge commercial boost to the sport and we need to build on that. But I'm well aware I'm an athlete first and I don't think it's ever going to be a problem."

Jamieson is currently in a period of heavy training, with his key target this year being the World Championships in Barcelona at the end of July.

Unlike in previous years, the trials will not be held until a month before the championships, mirroring the US system, giving Jamieson plenty of time to work on turning silver into gold.

He said: "There's a few areas that I've been working on since the Games. I've got time to do that now and I'm happy with the way things are going.

"We've got such a short shelf-life as an athlete - realistically I've probably got four more years at the top - and every major meet is so important."