BELCONNEN, Australia, February 14. FINA's first female Bureau member Lynne Bates AM and former CEO of the Canberra Raiders Kevin Neil have been appointed to the Board of Directors of Swimming Australia.
The pair will take the places left vacant, following the resignations of dual Olympic gold medalist Kieren Perkins and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Tim Ford.
Bates, an Olympic swimming silver medalist in Mexico in 1968, previously served on the SAL board between 1997 and 2004 and brings a wealth of swimming expertise to the current board.
She is currently on the executive of the Australian Olympic Committee and served as the Chief Operating Officer at the successful 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne and as competition manager of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games – regarded as the "best ever."
The former president of WA Swimming was honored with the Order of Australia in 2006 for outstanding service to the Australian Olympic Committee and Swimming Australia.
Neil, 52, is the current ACT manager for Australian Air Express and is regarded as one of the Australia's most respected sport and business related administrators.
Neil was also responsible for the successful negotiation with the ACT Government for a 10-year hiring agreement for the Raiders use of Canberra Stadium – widely regarded as the most lucrative hiring agreement in Australian sports history.
Swimming Australia's CEO Glenn Tasker thanked both Perkins and Ford for their contributions to the SAL board, saying their input over a number of years was both significant and substantial in the future strategic planning of Australia's most successful Olympic sport.
"Both Kieren Perkins and Tim Ford added great experience to our board, not only as former swimmers with a passion for the sport but as experienced, very successful businessmen in their own right and we thank them for their contributions," said Tasker. "But we are lucky to have the addition of one of swimming's most respected and experienced administrators in Lynne Bates and highly regarded businessman Kevin Neil, who will bring experience in business, marketing and media to our board from the highest levels. Swimming is excited to have Lynne back on the board and Kevin's inclusion will give the board another new dimension."
Meanwhile, former SAL president and Australian Olympic gold medalist John Devitt has been awarded the FINA Prize for long and unstinting services to aquatic sports.
Devitt is one of Australia's most respected Olympians and sports administrators who has served the sport from his days as a budding swimmer at Parramatta before becoming one of the sport's golden boys of the 1950s and 60s – an Olympic gold medalist both in 1956 and again in 1960.
He was named captain of the Australian team and later retired to become a respected coach and an international executive with Speedo.
Devitt, also inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, went on to become an executive member of the Australian Olympic Committee and served Swimming Australia as a board member and SAL president, playing an active role in ensuring Australia hosted the 2000 Olympics and the 2007 FINA World Championships.
Special thanks to Swimming Australia for contributing this report.