PHOENIX, Arizona, January 31. AUSTRALIA, Denmark and France each welcomed new hires to boost their elite performance programs this week, according to various media reports.
Michael Scott, who recently left his post as Great Britain’s high performance director in December, is headed back to his native Australia to work as Swimming Australia’s chief executive officer. According to an article in The Australian, Scott had accepted a position as high performance director for Athletics Australia, the national federation for track and field. But Scott told Athletics Australia on Wednesday that he was taking the Swimming Australia job instead.
Scott is replacing Kevin Neil, who resigned last month after four years as head of Swimming Australia. Neil accepted responsibility for Australia’s poor performance in London in the middle of a performance review looking at all aspects of the organization’s working.
In his time as national performance director in Great Britain, Scott was working to give the country its best Olympic performance as host, but that initiative flopped, with Great Britain picking up just three medals. Scott resigned when the independent panel review suggested that the national performance director be a full-time resident of the United Kingdon. Scott was doing his job often from Australia.
France, who saw a very successful Olympic Games in London, welcomed Lionel Horter as national technical director on Monday, according to French sports newspaper L’Equipe. As a coach in Mulhouse, Horter guided Amaury Leveaux to two medals at the 2008 Olympics and also coached Laure Manaudou at that time. Leveaux, under Horter’s watch, was a part of the gold medal-winning 400 free relay for France at last summer’s Olympics.
Horter replaces a void left by the passing of Christian Donze last October. France had its most successful Olympic swimming performance in London with seven medals, four of which were gold.
Denmark is doing well in the post-Olympic months, tying for the second-most medals at the 2012 European championships and winning three golds at the short course world championships. In continuing their success, the federation announced that Shannon Rollason will be the head coach of the country’s national training center in Copenhagen. The role will be a familiar one for Rollason, who is leaving his post as head coach at the Australian Institute of Sport.
Rollason’s hire replaces Paulus Wildeboer, who is essentially doing a switch with Rollason. Wildeboer is now working as head coach in Queensland. Rollason’s credentials include gold medals from Jodie Henry and Alice Mills at the 2004 Olympics and reportedly help guide the women’s 400 free relay to gold in London.
“The decision to leave was not easy, but I felt the time was right to change path and accept an international challenge,” Rollason said in a statement today.