sport

Swimmers looking to move on

While swimming has enjoyed more column inches than usual, it will be with some relief that attention turns to action in the pool again.

Performance at the Olympics fell below expectation with three medals, two bronzes from Rebecca Adlington and a silver from Michael Jamieson.

While some expectations had been unrealistic going into the Games, especially given the best of the rest of the world were turning up, three medals fell two short of the target set by UK Sport.

Since then, both head coach Dennis Pursley and national performance director Michael Scott have left, the former having long planned to return to the United States.

However, the Australian's resignation came after the review into London called on him to live full-time in Britain rather than split his time between here and down under.

Mark Perry, head of development and open water chief, was last week appointed interim technical leader but not before four-time Olympic medallist Adlington hit out at British Swimming, accusing them of ignoring the swimmers.

This coincided with the news world silver 200m butterfly medallist Ellen Gandy was planning to switch allegiance to Australia, where she has lived since she was 16.

Although Gandy spiralled from expected medal contender to 17th in London, it was another blow.

With Adlington due to meet British Swimming next month for talks, eyes now turn to the meet in Sinan Erdem Dome, where Jamieson spearheads a 19-strong British squad for the World Short-Course Championships, which start on Wednesday in Istanbul.

The 24-year-old would not let himself get distracted by events out of the pool.

He said: "I think we are sheltered from it a bit in Bath and I am just looking forward to hopefully posting some good results and do my talking in the pool."

Jamieson is looking to lead by example after his superb silver in the 200m breaststroke, a race which is top-loaded with talent in Turkey.

As well as Jamieson, Daniel Gyurta - who held off the Briton to win gold in London in world record time - and Akihiro Yamaguchi, who subsequently lowered the Hungarian's mark in September, will face off.

Jamieson believes he will need to break his own British record if he is to challenge for a medal and said: "I am excited to race against these guys.

"I have never raced Yamaguchi before so I am excited to see how I shape up against him and it is going to be a strong field.

"I think it is going to be a really fast event, there's been some pretty fast times posted on the World Cup circuit over the last month or two."

The Glaswegian is on good form, having impressed at the BUCS short course last month, and is now in the midst of fearsome yardage courtesy of Bath ITC chief McNulty, who is also the head coach in Turkey.

McNulty enjoyed a successful Games and is a popular and approachable figure within the sport, so it would be of little surprise to see him linked with the head coach role.

He, though, was concentrating on the next five days, saying: "We've all had our breaks after the Olympics and I think it is great to get back into swimming and to start the four years (Olympic cycle) again.

"There have been a few distractions but this is the part we all like doing - we like to coach, we like to swim.

"We've put everything behind us and are just moving on with swimming - and that's the main thing."

He added: "I am speaking to the group tonight and one of the things I want to say is - you can be a World Championship semi-finalist, or finalist or medallist and this is a great opportunity to take.

"When you do the long-course worlds that is really hard but you can be a world finalist or medallist and add that to your CV, and I think that is what I am going to push tonight - there are opportunities there."

Jamieson will go tomorrow in the 100m breaststroke along with world junior champion Craig Benson.

Also competing for Britain are the likes of former European champions Fran Halsall and Lizzie Simmonds alongside youngsters such as Matt Johnson, who is making his senior international debut and may face the conqueror of Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly in London, Chad le Clos, an event in which the 17-year-old Briton is the European junior champion.

Others due to be in Turkey include 11-time Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte, Ye Shiwen - the Chinese teenager who sparked controversy when she came home quicker than Lochte in the 400m individual medley - and Federica Pellegrini, the former double Olympic champion.