By Ian Hanson
October 24. LEIGHT NUGENT, one of Australian Swimming's most respected National level coaches, has been chosen to succeed Bill Sweetenham as Australia's National Youth Coach.
The Melbourne based Nugent, 49, has been an Australian National team coach at the Pan Pacific and World Short Course Championships and head coach on the 2000 Oceania and 1996 and 1997 Mare Nostrum teams to Europe.
Nugent was also the head men's coach on this year's 2000 World Short Course team in Athens.
He defeated a strong field of nominations for the position which will see the Nunawading former head coach in charge of the National Youth and Tip Top programs for the next four years.
Nugent has been head coach of the Nunnawading Swim Club, one of the biggest clubs in Australia, for the past 18 years and a national event breaststroke and backstroke coach for the past decade.
In that period he has coached Olympians Rob Woodhouse, David Wilson, Rod Lawson and Simon Beqir and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Adrian Radley and also in recent times, Brooke Hanson, Kellie McMillan and rising sprinter Jared Clarke.
Between 1990 and 1997, Nugent was the national event breaststroke coach and for the past four years the National Event backstroke coach, an area where Australia has shown genuine improvement between the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
Australian Swimming Incorporated's executive director Vena Murray said today: "Leigh Nugent has won the position left vacant by Bill Sweetenham, who has done a fantastic job as the National Youth coach and in charge of the National Tip Top.
"Leigh has the full support of the board and has fullfilled the criteria required for the position of National Youth coach. We believe Leigh is the best man for the job.
"He has had a successful career as a head coach of the Nunawading program in Melbourne, a position he has held for the past 18 years and he has also shown his ability in the development areas, taking Nunawading regularly into the top ten at National Open and National Age level."
Nugent said he was excited at the opportunity to help develop Australian Swimming into the new millennium.
"I am looking forward to what will be an enormous challenge. Bill (Sweetenham) has certainly paved the way in a program which has already seen some tremendous talent emerge in the pool at these Olympics, " Nugent said.
"It was a big decision to make but it's a decision I'm glad I've made and I'm looking forward to working alongside head coach Don Talbot."