MANCHESTER, Great Britain, September 12. BILL Sweetenham coached Aussies to Olympic heights, and seems to have remembered how to get there, per press notes from the British ASA at the 2004 British Short Course Championships, August 26-29.
As National Performance Director for the squad from Great Britain he promised two medals and the British Olympic Swimming team delivered the two Olympic medals.
In addition to the two bronze medals from Steve Parry (200m butterfly) and David Davies (1500m freestyle), the team also produced one European Record, 3 Commonwealth Records, 9 British Records, 16 Finalists and 19 Semi-finalists. This is a vast improvement with three times more finals and records than Sydney where the team only had five finalists.
Summing up his thoughts on the Athens Games Bill Sweetenham commented, “This was the most positive, enthusiastic, high spirited, best supported team I’ve ever worked with. “
“Realistically form indicated we had four medal chances going into the finals and we converted two. Not a bad ration but as you know I’m always looking for more. We said we’d deliver two and that’s what the team did. Britain now has 52 swimmers ranked in the top 25 in the world. Previously this was 31.
“The challenge now is to convert those rankings into medals. The key to this will be strengthening the knowledge and experience of our coaches, giving our athletes more opportunity to train in the same conditions, as they will compete i.e. 50m pools and the early identification and development of talent, which our Smart-Track program has already begun. Many other nations who have been in this position in the past have not been able to take this final step. With commitment from all involved we can do it.”
Chairman of British Swimming Chris Baillieu was also upbeat about the success of the team. “The last four years have been the most successful for British Swimming ever. With these results the Sydney ghost has well and truly been resigned to history and things look good for the future.”
“The programs that Bill and our coaches have introduced have delivered results already even though realistically we believe the true effect won’t be seen until Beijing. Four years is a short time to turn things around but now we’re heading in the right direction and the momentum is moving us where we want to be.
Statistics Athens Sydney Atlanta
No. of Finalists 16
11 Individual & 5 teams 10
5 Individual & 5 teams 8
No. of Semi Finalists 19 out of 23 19 out of 27 Non
European Records 1 0 0
Commonwealth Records 4 0 0
British Records 8 10 5
Medals 2 Bronze 0 1 Bronze 1 Silver
Athens Performance Details
Heat swims 29
Semi-finalists 19 out of 23
Heat swims 5
European 1500m Freestyle David Davies
Commonwealth 200m Butterfly Stephen Parry (x2)
200m Backstroke James Goddard
British 1500m Freestyle David Davies (x2)
200m Butterfly Stephen Parry (x2)
200m Freestyle Simon Burnett
200m Backstroke James Goddard
4x100m Medley Sarah Price, Kristy Balfour,
Georgina Lee, Melanie Marshall
4x100m Medley Gregory Taut, James Gibson, James Hickman, Matthew Kidd
4x200m Freestyle Simon Burnett, Gavin Meadows, David O’Brien, Ross Davenport
Bronze 2 David Davies (1500 Freestyle)
Stephen Parry (200 Butterfly)