MELBOURNE, Australia, March 19. IN the latest fallout from the release of the independent reviews regarding Swimming Australia's performance at the 2012 Olympic Games, the organization has fired national team head coach Leigh Nugent for lack of responsibility during the pre-Olympic troubles that led to a low number of medals at the Games.
The Herald Sun reports that Swimming Australia's board of directors had decided to fire Nugent last Thursday, and informed him of the decision yesterday. Nugent had been the leader of Swimming Australia's wet-side operations since 2009, and until the London Games, had found success with his teams at the international level at the Commonwealth Games and world championships.
Nugent is the first major casualty of the two independent reviews released in February that cite a lack of coherent leadership as one reason why team bonding was virtually non-existent in London, and why the antics of the men's 400 free relay caused an even bigger rift, and went unpunished until recently.
The men's relay members, who have admitted to causing problems for team members one night during a pre-Olympic staging camp, are currently under investigation by an integrity panel that will determine their punishment soon.
No word on whether Nugent's position will be filled, or if soon-to-be-appointed high performance director Michael Scott will absorb that role.
Update: Swimming Australia has issued a press release stating that Nugent came to Swimming Australia executives and submitted his resignation, instead of the board of directors firing him.
“In those discussions it soon became very clear that while he still wanted to remain involved in the sport, he didn't want to continue in the position of Head Coach,” said Swimming Australia President Barcaly Nettlefold.
“The time is right for me to step aside and let someone else take over. It's been an honour and a privilege to coach the Australian Swim Team at the highest level, and I'm just pleased that I'm able to stay involved in the sport that I love,” said Nugent.
An interim head coach will be appointed in the coming days before the start of the Australian nationals/world championship trials on April 26.