SYDNEY, Australia, January 29. ALAN Thompson, the head coach of Swimming Australia, has severed ties with the organization. Thompson, who has been on a leave of absence from his position since an investigation began in December into allegations of inappropriate behavior, felt that a forthcoming division of the head coaching and general manager duties was the last straw.
Thompson released the following statement explaining his move:
''I do not agree with the way the national head coach and high performance unit [have] now been structured by Swimming Australia, and I still believe the best way forward was for the roles to remain as one – something which has certainly proved successful. I have certainly enjoyed my many years on the Australian swim team in a role as head coach and I wish the team and the new head coach every success, because you will never work with a better group of people in your life.''
Swimming Australia and Thompson have both clarified as strongly as they can that Thompson's decision to step down has not related to the current investigation that began in December into allegations of inappropriate behavior by Thompson. That investigation is still on-going.
With the move, Leigh Nugent has been named the interim head coach for Swimming Australia. David Crocker has also been named the interim General Manager for High Performance while a worldwide search has commenced for permanent replacements.
Here is the full press release from Swimming Australia:
Swimming Australia has today announced that Alan Thompson has accepted a redundancy from his position of General Manager of High Performance and Head Coach of the Australian Swim Team.
The Swimming Australia Board, in consultation with the Australia Sports Commission has made the strategic decision to separate the positions of General Manager for High Performance and that of the Head Coach of Australian Swim Team, and Thompson's decision to accept a redundancy was based on the fact that he was not prepared to work under this re-structure.
Thompson had acted in both roles since taking on the position of Head Coach in 2005 and then General Manager for High Performance in 2006. He will now concentrate on business interests in Sydney.
Swimming Australia CEO Kevin Neil said the decision to re-structure the High Performance unit, which involves changes to the role and responsibilities of the Head Coach, are crucial and have been made for the good of the sport and its future success.
"A full review of the High Performance unit was conducted by the SAL Board at which point a recommendation was made to split the roles of General Manager for High Performance and that of the Head Coach, and Alan is not prepared to work under this new structure."
"Swimming is a sport that prides itself on professionalism, hard work and success, and to continue to maintain and develop those values at all levels, we believe this new structure is the best way forward."
Leigh Nugent has been appointed as the acting Head Coach of the Australian swim team, while David Crocker, who has been on secondment from the Australian Sports Commission since December, is currently acting in the role of General Manager for High Performance.
Swimming Australia will advertise for the positions of both the General Manager of High Performance and Head Coach in the near future.
Separately, the independent investigation being conducted by Louise Donohoe SC is continuing with all findings to be presented to SAL upon its completion and appropriately addressed at that time.